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It's a good thing Baker doesn't read Twitter.

The man they call “Machete” for the way he cuts down runners unleashed that arm in what was the biggest defensive play in the Astros’ 5-0 win over the Red Sox on Friday night that’s sending them to their third World Series in five seasons.

With the Astros clinging to a 2-0 lead and just nine outs from another World Series berth, the Red Sox threatened for just the second time in the game. The Red Sox had runners on the corners with one out and a full count to pinch-hitter Travis Shaw. Alex Verdugo was the baserunner at first and he stole just six bases all season, but Red Sox manager Alex Cora likes to be aggressive late in games. Maldonado was thinking if his pitcher gets a strikeout, he needs to be ready to catch Verdugo bolting for second.

Kendall Graveman got a swing and miss from Shaw, and sure enough Verdugo had taken off on the pitch.

Maldonado sent a laser over the middle of the diamond that smacked right into the glove of Carlos Correa, who applied the tag for the strike-em-out-throw-em-out to end the inning.

“I wasn’t sure if he was going to run or not, but knowing Alex (Cora), I thought he was going to try to grab the momentum,” Maldonado said. “I was ready to come up throwing. I saw him going, and I was ready for the moment and to shut him down.”

It turns out Maldonado had read Cora’s mind.

“I just bet on my players,” the Red Sox manager said. “It’s a 3-2 count with a sinker-baller. We were trying to score one, and we felt we had the right guy on first.”

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Cora said Maldonado’s usual time throwing to second is 1.6 seconds, but this time he did it in 1.4, which was the difference, and not at all surprising to Baker

“That was huge,” Baker said. “There are people who were wondering why Maldi was playing, hitting .075 … If he couldn't throw and he's safe, I mean, who knows what could have happened? That was an inning-ender by Maldi”

Aside from the highlight reel-worthy moment, Maldonado was just as good working with his pitchers.

The Astros weren’t sure what they were going to get from starting pitcher Luis Garcia, who didn’t even get out of the second inning against this same Red Sox team in Game 2, but they trusted Maldonado would be able to guide him through the biggest start of his career.

“Maldi’s the best,” said Garcia, who gave up just one hit in 5 2/3 innings. “We talk every day, He always tries to get the best out of me. He shows me a lot, but also just makes sure I’m focused and relaxed. He helps me a lot.”

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Source : https://www.chron.com/sports/astros/article/Martin-Maldonado-proves-why-Astros-lineup-defense-16556526.php

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