The defending National League champion Philadelphia Phillies kicked off their 2023 postseason with a 4-1 victory over the Miami Marlins on Tuesday night and now need just one more win to advance to the Division Series.
Phillies closer Craig Kimbrell finished up the victory with a clean ninth inning. He also pulled off a move that is rarely seen in baseball—he took an intentional balk with two outs and a runner on second base.
Why would a pitcher do something like that? Because moving the runner to third base took away any chance of pitches or location being tipped off. The runner on second was basically meaningless, so that freed up Kimbrel to focus solely on the hitter, who he got to ground out to end the game.
Check this out:
Craig Kimbrel, Intentional Balk. pic.twitter.com/o3P6viHC3Z— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) October 4, 2023
Love how he just casually dropped the ball like that. You have to think the Marlins wished they could have declined that balk.
Fans loved it:
Really smart move IMO. Runner on 2nd doesn’t matter in a 2 out scenario and that runner could steal signs legally on 2nd which is an advantage to the batter. High IQ baseball right there from Kimbrel to prevent legal sign stealing https://t.co/0zwr2JduAW— Jaden Gaines (@Gaines3Jaden) October 4, 2023
I love everything about this and cannot stop watching it. https://t.co/Ks0ofpTM1p— Laura Albanese (@AlbaneseLaura) October 4, 2023
This was funny. Aside from intentional walks, I’ve never seen a pitcher want to move a runner up a base. https://t.co/KDFwJzBsNv— Shawn Cartwright (@CartwrightShawn) October 4, 2023
An intentional balk is really an awesome thing because since no one really knows what a balk is there’s like a 80% chance this wouldn’t have worked https://t.co/VUQfYw2iAr— R J (@modelolover_) October 4, 2023
This has gotta be the funniest balk in the history of balks. https://t.co/fvyMnfsRSE— $Ritchie$ (@WhoDeyRitchie) October 4, 2023
Bro I was so confused by this https://t.co/f1wDmMfTJ5— Could be good, could be awful. (@MiamiDood) October 4, 2023
People who don’t understand baseball will ask “why do this”. This is genius.. runner on second means nothing and also represents a chance to stealing pitch signs. https://t.co/DGh5be0oPZ— J (@Dees_notez) October 4, 2023
Veteran move here https://t.co/ZPQqgBXail— NICK CASTELLANOS TRUTHER (@jdellavecchio24) October 4, 2023
First time I’ve ever seen something like that. Smart https://t.co/XX67pCy97S— W00DR0W CALL (@W00dr0wCall) October 4, 2023