BALTIMORE -- It took Kevin Pillar all of two games to come up with his first highlight-reel play of 2017.Toronto's starting center fielder, nicknamed Superman in some circles, made another one of his trademark grabs by crashing into the center-field wall to take at least extra bases away from Baltimore's
BALTIMORE -- It took Kevin Pillar all of two games to come up with his first highlight-reel play of 2017.
Toronto's starting center fielder, nicknamed Superman in some circles, made another one of his trademark grabs by crashing into the center-field wall to take at least extra bases away from Baltimore's Manny Machado during the third inning of Wednesday night's 3-1 loss at Camden Yards.
According to Statcast™, Machado's drive off Toronto lefty J.A. Happ was crushed at 111.1 mph and is a hit 86 percent of the time. Pillar had other ideas, and perhaps even more impressive than getting to the ball was that he managed to hang onto it after a violent collision with the wall.
"He's a good hitter. He hits the ball hard," Pillar said. "You make your read, you hit the warning track and you have a choice to make. You either go for it or you play it off the wall. That's just what I do. I try to make plays. ... It knocked the wind out of me a little bit, but I'm here standing, ready to go."
Pillar remained on the ground for several seconds after the crash but eventually got up under his own power and ran off the field as his catch ended the inning.
The play immediately followed a solo homer by Adam Jones that had an exit velocity of 92.4 mph and is a hit just 26 percent of the time, according to Statcast™, but he still managed to knock it over the short porch in left.
• Cut4: Pillar makes Machado his first victim of 2017
"I've seen it a lot," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said of Pillar's catch. "That's why he's in contention for the Gold Glove every year. They really took a step forward a couple years ago, with Pillar and [Devon] Travis. They changed some of their looks and really changed things defensively, and he's a part of that."
Gregor Chisholm has covered the Blue Jays for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast.