Raburn's great catch was game-saver
Defensive shift helps outfielder make memorable play
DETROIT -- Ryan Raburn made a diving, game-saving catch Thursday night against the White Sox. But it's fair to say it almost didn't happen.
A defensive adjustment after a stolen base made it possible.
The Tigers led, 5-3, in the eighth inning. Fernando Rodney relieved Bobby Seay with two outs, runners on first and third, and the go-ahead run at the plate in the form of Alexei Ramirez. Seay had just plunked Ken Griffey Jr. and pinch-runner Brian Anderson stood on first.
The Tigers outfield played fairly deep, hoping to prevent Anderson from scoring from first on a double.
Anderson got a tremendous jump and stole second without a throw from Tigers catcher Brandon Inge. That put the tying runners in scoring position, but it wasn't due to defensive indifference.
"Ingey had no play, because [Anderson] got such a good jump," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said.
The Tigers outfielders then moved in, hoping to throw out Anderson at the plate on a base hit.
Good thing they did.
Ramirez lined a low bullet toward the left-center-field gap. Raburn charged. He said at first he thought about fielding the ball clean and making a strong throw to the plate. However, en route to the ball he decided to abort that plan and go for the catch. He dived to grab it before it touched the grass. Threat averted.
"One heck of a play," Leyland said.
A defensive shift helped make it happen. The few steps Raburn took toward the infield eventually helped him save the game.
Scott McNeish is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.