TORONTO -- Russell Martin proved once again on Sunday afternoon why he is known as one of the best defensive catchers in all of baseball.Martin showed off his athleticism by making another highlight-reel catch in Toronto's 9-2 victory over the Astros at Rogers Centre. Martin ranged deep into foul territory
TORONTO -- Russell Martin proved once again on Sunday afternoon why he is known as one of the best defensive catchers in all of baseball.
Martin showed off his athleticism by making another highlight-reel catch in Toronto's 9-2 victory over the Astros at Rogers Centre. Martin ranged deep into foul territory and then sprawled out over the railing in front of Houston's dugout to make the momentum-slowing catch.
The play required a little bit of everything. Speed, balance and excellent hand-eye coordination. It should come as no surprise that Martin possesses all of those attributes, but he reminded anyone who had forgotten in the series finale.
"You don't get those opportunities very often," Martin said. "It was just nice that it came up in kind of a big situation and kind of sparked the guys after [the Astros] hit a couple of balls hard. [We] weathered the storm a little bit and got us back in the right direction."
Toronto was leading, 5-2, in the top of the seventh when Martin made his spectacular grab, but the Astros were threatening with a pair of runners on base and one out. American League batting leader José Altuve was looming in the on-deck circle when Alex Bergman hit a high popup into foul territory.
Martin got a good break on the ball and got to the railing of the dugout just in time to lean over and make the catch. He somehow managed to hang onto the ball without completely losing his balance by rolling onto his back on top of the railing before finally coming back onto the field of play.
"Unbelievable," Blue Jays starter Marcus Stroman said. "That should be No. 1 on ESPN's Top 10 today, for sure. Hopefully they give it some love. That was one of the best plays I've ever seen live from a catcher ... in a big spot, too. A key out that we needed, and he came through for us."
Martin's contributions went beyond the defensive side by going 2-for-3 with a solo homer and a pair of runs scored. Martin also went deep Saturday afternoon, with Sunday marking the first time this season he has homered in consecutive games.
The final score from Sunday's game indicated a blowout, but in reality, the outcome could have looked a lot different if Martin did not make that catch. Two runners on, a three-run ballgame and the heart of Houston's lineup due up. Martin made sure Toronto's worries didn't run too deep.
"He'll sacrifice his body, he'll do anything it takes to win," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "He's the guy who can pull out big plays at the right time. Acrobatic plays. We've seen him go into the dugout a few times. That was big, they were hitting [Joaquin Benoit] around a little bit out there. That was a huge out. ... No telling what they might end up doing."
Gregor Chisholm has covered the Blue Jays for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast.