Bourn's catch wows fans, teammates
Outfielder backpedals, falls while making grab in seventh
HOUSTON -- Did Astros center fielder Michael Bourn have it all the way? Not exactly.
"If I said that, I'd be lying to you," he said.
Bourn made the kind of catch in the seventh inning of Thursday's 2-1 win over the Chicago Cubs that will be replayed on highlight reels the rest of the season, falling down on his rear on Tal's Hill to haul in Micah Hoffpauir's 420-foot blast to straightaway center.
The catch wowed the Minute Maid Park crowd and brought a smile to the face of Bourn, who tried to glance back at the replay board to catch another glimpse. Astros pitcher Alberto Arias wiped his brow as he stared into center in disbelief and later gave Bourn a hug.
"Maybe that run could have been the run that would have won the game," Arias said.
Bourn, who leads the National League in steals, sprinted back to the warning track on Hoffpauir's fly ball to center. He began backpedaling as he went up the hill and fell down just as the ball landed in his glove.
"You could tell he had a pretty good bead on it," Hoffpauir said. "I thought when he fell down it had a chance to fall in. I watched it on video and you can see the whole time he keeps his eyes up and he stayed with it and showed really good concentration. It was a great catch.
"You win some, you lose some. They say it all evens out. You would like the best ball you hit in two weeks to fall in for a base hit."
But Bourn admitted he couldn't quite see the ball as he fell on the hill.
"As soon as it was off the bat, I knew it was hit hard," Bourn said. "Hoffpauir has pretty good power, and he got into it pretty good, so I turned and just started sprinting. It actually went over my head on the other side, so I knew I had to turn around.
"I tried to backpedal it up the hill. That's the only way I could do it, I thought. I lost my balance and feel. I knew where the ball was going to be at and put my glove there and made the catch."
And where does the catch rank among Bourn's best in his brief career?
"It's one of the top five," he said.
Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.