PHILADELPHIA -- The strong arm of Astros catcher Humberto Quintero -- and his penchant to show it off by throwing unexpectedly to the bases -- paid dividends Monday night, when Quintero picked off a surprised Jayson Werth at second base to end the sixth inning.
Pitcher Brett Myers, who, as it turns out, helped Quintero's cause by distracting Werth by sticking out his tongue at his former teammate, had just completed an intentional walk to Carlos Ruiz when Quintero fired a laser to second baseman Angel Sanchez, who tagged out Werth while he was scurrying back to the base.
"You never know with Q," Myers said. "He's always firing the ball around because he's so accurate. He can throw the ball and put it on the spot every time. It's good to have a catcher back there that works with you well and is able to throw the ball he way he can. It shuts down the running game, and I'm comfortable with him back there. He saw something and he's smart enough to make that play and fire it down to second."
Quintero leads all catchers with five pickoffs, despite starting only 59 games, which is a career high for him.
"Yes, he has a strong arm, but his release is so quick," manager Brad Mills said. "You see guys take two or three steps to throw that ball or have a big arm motion. He makes his mind up to throw the ball, and the ball is on the way and is accurate and hard, and that's what is so good about his snap throws."
Said Werth: "The whole time, I was thinking, 'After he threw the first pitch, if he doesn't pay attention here, I could probably steal third.' I'm still thinking like that before that [fourth] pitch, then he looks at me and ... I was smiling as the ball was on its way. So between that and the little smokescreen where I got shielded on -- and that was the main reason -- it was terrible."