KANSAS CITY -- While much of the focus in Wednesday's 8-7 loss by the Mariners revolved around a play at the plate when Brendan Ryan was thrown out in the eighth inning, lost in the shuffle was an excellent slide by Casper Wells in the sixth to avoid a tag and score on an RBI single by Miguel Olivo.
Wells used an old-school hook slide to get around the Giants' Buster Posey for a key run in a 2-1 win at Safeco Field on June 17. This time he went wide to the right of the Royals' Brayan Pena before reaching around the catcher's mitt to touch the plate with his hand.
It was a move that even caught the eye of home-plate umpire Jim Joyce.
"When I came up later in the game, Joyce said it was the best slide he'd seen all year," Wells said. "I've done that a couple times this year. I just try to go as far away from the catcher as possible because they're not taught to get the runner, they're taught to go right in front of the plate."
Wells likely would have been out with a better throw from right fielder Jeff Francoeur, who has one of the best outfield arms in baseball. Third-base coach Jeff Datz calculated all that in trying to hold Wells up at the last second, but Wells had already committed by that time and steamed on into the plate.
"Datz was actually holding me up on that one, but the call was a little too late and I was already running," Wells said. "I was thinking, 'It's too late to stop now.' I just kept going and it's a good thing the throw wasn't right there at the plate or I'd have got stuffed. Francoeur has a good arm, but I saw I had a little window."
No manager wants to encourage players to run through signs, but Eric Wedge understood the circumstances on this one.
"It was going to be a late call for Datzy and Casper ran through it, but sometimes those things work out," Wedge said. "Fortunately for us, he made a great slide. I thought Ryan made a great slide later in the game, too, but whether or not he got to the plate nobody is ever going to really know.
"But sometimes you're going to run through those stop signs because you're being so aggressive. You'd rather be that way than running into third base looking to hold up. It happens from time to time."