Blogs > Out of Left Field

A sometimes-irreverent look at Detroit's Boys of Summer, the Tigers, as they try to return to the top of the American League Central.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Can't let Kelly's catch get lost in the shuffle

DETROIT — Don Kelly’s the kind of guy who will gladly get lost in the shuffle.

If the home-run saving catch by the Detroit Tigers’ utilityman, robbing Toronto’s J.P. Arencibia in the second inning of Tuesday’s game, doesn’t make an appearance on ESPN’s SportsCenter, like his boss, manager Jim Leyland, thinks it will, it won’t exactly put his nose out of joint.

“Oh gosh. I’m just glad we got the win. Anibal (Sanchez) pitched great today,” Kelly said dismissively after the Tigers’ 7-3 win, in which two of his teammates set offensive milestones, and the Tigers broke out of their singles-hitting box with five extra-base hits.

Sure, Torii Hunter got hit No. 2,000.

Of course, Miguel Cabrera hit his 100th home run at Comerica Park, the first hitter to do so.

“I think one thing that goes unnoticed in this case is Donnie Kelly’s catch. It was huge. I mean, that ball was over the fence,” Leyland said after the game, after talking about the offensive barrage.

It didn’t go unnoticed by his teammates.

“Oh, yeah. I think he make my day,” Sanchez said.

“Don Kelly, that’s respect. I really respect that kind of art, robbing home runs. I think when he robbed it, I was jumping up and down like a little kid in a candy store,” Hunter said. “I was like, ‘Yay!’ It was pretty awesome. Donnie Kelly’s a good guy and he plays hard and, to do that, I’m happy for him.”

It would be unsurprising if you forgot this one as easily as you’ve probably forgotten the last time he robbed a home run, pulling one back in an early June game against the Yankees.

“I brought one back last year. (New York’s Mark) Teixeira. Teixeira’s I was able to get back there. It was higher. This one was kind of, I didn’t have a chance to get back to the fence and jump, it was just all at one time.”

Hmm. Still not ringing a bell?

Why have you forgotten it?

Because afterward in that game, Yankees manager Joe Girardi was ejected (again), and the Tigers blew leads in the eighth and ninth innings, the latter coming when Jose Valverde allowed a run without a hit.

Miguel Cabrera hit two monster home runs.

It was Star Wars night.

Oh, and third-string catcher Omir Santos won it with a walk-off sac fly in the bottom of the ninth.

No wonder it faded into the background.

Toronto manager John Gibbons wasn’t surprised, though.

“It’s not like we’ve been the victim of bad luck. One thing about Kelly – he doesn’t play a lot, but that guy is in the middle of something good all the time,” Gibbons said. “He had a big game for them last year in the postseason. He’s a good player. He’s done a lot of good things to help them win. That’s why he’s in there.”

It was the biggest contribution of the day for Kelly, 0-for-4 essentially replacing the injured Victor Martinez.

It was plenty.

“Everybody was fired up. When you make a play like that to keep a run off the board, whether it’s a home run or a catch with guys in scoring position or whatever, it helps out a lot,” he said. “I didn’t know how far it was going to carry. He hit it, obviously, pretty well. So just to be able to get back there and catch it was awesome.”


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home