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Monday, May 11, 2009

Clutch catch just grand

I can't get enough of Curtis Granderson's game-saving catch from Friday night. The Associated Press photo doesn't do it justice, so here's a YouTube link. I only watched the bottom of the ninth that night, but I'm glad I had the privilege to see that.

Granderson’s great catch still gets rave reviews
CLEVELAND (AP) — A day after Curtis Granderson went over the wall to rob him of a game-winning homer, Grady Sizemore was still a bit stunned.
“I just couldn’t believe it. I was devastated,” said Sizemore, whose long drive to center with a man on would have beaten the Tigers and Justin Verlander on Friday night had Granderson not leapt high to pull it back in the bottom of the ninth. Detroit ended up beating the Cleveland Indians 1-0.
“He’s a great player and made a great catch at such an important moment,” Sizemore said Saturday. “That’s what is so impressive — doing it with the game on the line.”
Verlander was dominant, striking out 11 and allowing only two hits, but he had Granderson to thank for his third career shutout.
“I thought the game was over,” the right-hander said. “You won’t see a better catch than that.”
Andy Van Slyke, the Tigers’ outfield and baserunning coach who won five gold gloves, revealed that the before Friday’s game, he hit fly balls for players to practice making leaping catches. Granderson didn’t make a catch, but reliever Joel Zumaya did.
“But the catch in the game was tremendous,” Van Slyke said. “When it was hit I didn’t think it was going out — and it didn’t.”
Granderson said he got numerous text messages from friends, family and former teammates. All the accolades made him reflect on the circumstances that combined to make it so special.
“That’s the crazy thing about it,” Granderson said. “Everything has to be perfect. If no one’s on base, I’m not playing as deep. If he hits it a foot further, it’s a home run. If he hits it a foot shorter, I’m standing there catching it.”
Cleveland reliever Jensen Lewis, in the Indians’ bullpen a few feet away, saw the play unfold right before his eyes.
“I stood up and was cheering,” Lewis said. “The ball got closer, closer — and then Granderson just took it away. It was like shock and awe.”
Josh Barfield, on first base as a pinch-runner, had already rounded second when the catch was made. He had to scramble back to avoid being doubled off for the final out.
“I think everybody in the ballpark was stunned,” Barfield said. “I saw him jump, then I saw him start to wind up to throw and I said, ’Oh, no!’ That was unbelievable. I’ve never seen a catch like it at that point in the game.”
Granderson said he’s lost plenty of hits to Sizemore, a Gold Glove centerfielder.
“He’s robbed me and us too often,” Granderson said. “He’s not the man out there for no reason. He’s probably going to try to get even.”
Granderson enjoyed watching the play over and over on highlight shows.
“It was real neat to see it,” the 28-year-old said. “I saw the angle on one replay and it looked real cool.
“It felt slower doing it. The play looked a lot faster watching it. It seemed to happen slower when I made the play.
“I watched it a few times, then switched over to Nick At Nite and fell asleep.”
He had already come through in the nick of time.


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