Detroit Tigers shortstop Jose Iglesias made the play of the 2013 MLB postseason during Thursday night’s ACLS Game 5, but it wasn’t enough to lead his team to victory over the Boston Red Sox.
Iglesias’ highlight-reel catch took place during the third inning of Detroit’s 4-3 loss to Boston. Red Sox slugger David Ortiz, 37, hit a blooper into shallow left field, directly into the “no man’s land” between left field, shortstop, and center field. To make matters worse, the Tigers had enacted an infield shift in an attempt to combat Ortiz’s tendency to pull the ball.
As a result, Iglesias had set up on the right side of the infield, in a spot typically occupied by a second baseman; a spot that should have made it impossible for the shortstop to catch a ball in shallow left field. Unfortunately for Ortiz, Iglesias was more than capable of covering the ground.
The 23-year-old baseball player sprinted across the infield, ran into shallow left field, and caught Ortiz’s blooper with a quick sweep of his glove. The catch was so impressive that even Iglesias thought he had no chance at making the play. “I just sprinted as hard as I could, and when I saw the ball over there, I just threw my glove and I was able to catch it,” he told reporters after the game, according to MLB.com.
Tigers center field Torii Hunter, who’s well known for making his share of spectacular catches, heaped praise on Iglesias. "This dude was all over the place today," Hunter said. "We're excited to have him over here. He came over from Boston, and he's making those plays. He's having fun -- it looks like he's a big kid out there. [Miguel Cabrera's] hurt and Jhonny [Peralta's] not really a left fielder, and this guy is covering it for everybody.”
Iglesias took over as the Tigers’ starting shortstop in August after the 50-game suspension of Jhonny Peralta, and quickly established a stranglehold on the position with a series of impressive defensive plays. In fact, Iglesias was so effective that the Tigers decided to shift Peralta to left field when he returned from his suspension.
Iglesias’ robbery of Ortiz aside, the Red Sox now have a 3-2 series lead in the series. Detroit faces elimination Saturday in Game 6 starting at 4:30 p.m. ET at Fenway Park in Boston.