Prior to Sunday's game between the Detroit Tigers and Boston Red Sox, designated hitter Victor Martinez had only started three games at first base the entire season. It was certainly understandable that he would have been a bit rusty.
However, with Red Sox center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury—who leads the league in stolen bases—at the plate in the top of the sixth inning, Martinez pulled off what just might be the play of the year in Major League Baseball.
Martinez dove to his left to try to snare a shot off the bat of Ellsbury. Martinez succeeded in stopping the ball, but it rolled several feet away into foul territory.
Undaunted, Martinez scrambled after the ball and made a no-look backhanded flip to pitcher Drew Smyly covering the bag, nipping Ellsbury by about a half-step.
Ellsbury was even impressed, patting Martinez on the back after being called out.
It's safe to say the Twitter universe was both surprised and excited as well.
Victor Martinez just made the filthiest play this year.— Nick (@KujdaOG) June 23, 2013
Víctor Martínez just.made one of the best plays of his career!— Adam Burkitt (@adamburkitt1) June 23, 2013
Tigers Victor Martinez just had a play that will be #1 on Top Plays on @SportsCenter for weeks, if not months to come! Unreal reverse flip— Clinton Corley (@clintonINC) June 23, 2013
Amazing play Victor Martinez!!! Look ma, no eyes!!! Way to be there, Smyly!!— Sarah St. Martin (@ssstmartin) June 23, 2013
Perhaps the best Tigers infield defensive play in the last three years. Victor Martinez. Of course.— Matt Sussman (@suss2hyphens) June 23, 2013
Victor Martinez made the best play I've ever seen by a first basemen. And he doesn't even play first lol— Connor Fabits (@connorfabits3) June 23, 2013
Did victor Martinez just make the play of the year in Detroit??????????— Chuck Terron (@chucky_baseball) June 23, 2013
Victor Martinez: "I don't always play first base, but when I do ..."— Matthew B. Mowery (@matthewbmowery) June 23, 2013
Prince Fielder might have a stranglehold on the first base job in Motown, but on this day, Martinez was the defensive king of Detroit—and of Major League Baseball.