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Fly like an Engel: White Sox CF robs homer

Indians' Jackson gets taste of his own medicine
MLB.com @scottmerkin

CHICAGO -- Austin Jackson knows a thing or two about taking away home runs.

The Cleveland center fielder made one of the best plays of the season, robbing Jackie Bradley Jr. and falling into the Red Sox's bullpen Aug. 1 in Boston. So Jackson could appreciate the amazing effort made by White Sox center fielder Adam Engel to deprive Jackson of a fifth-inning home run during Monday's 5-3 White Sox loss at Guaranteed Rate Field.

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CHICAGO -- Austin Jackson knows a thing or two about taking away home runs.

The Cleveland center fielder made one of the best plays of the season, robbing Jackie Bradley Jr. and falling into the Red Sox's bullpen Aug. 1 in Boston. So Jackson could appreciate the amazing effort made by White Sox center fielder Adam Engel to deprive Jackson of a fifth-inning home run during Monday's 5-3 White Sox loss at Guaranteed Rate Field.

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Video: Must C Catch: Jackson robs a HR, falls into bullpen

"Wasn't really sure when I hit it. I knew it was kind of high, but I looked up and I saw him laying on his back with it," Jackson said. "I've seen him make some pretty good plays out there."

Cleveland held a 3-0 lead when Jackson blasted one to straightaway center. Engel raced back to the fence and went just over it on the run to make the outstretched grab, crashing into a part of the wall. Engel said luckily the wall has a little give to it.

Engel covered 107 feet in 6.1 seconds, according to Statcast™, with a sprint speed of 26.7 feet per second. The league average is 27.0. He regularly plays a shallower center field, with an average depth of 306 feet and an average depth of 305 feet at home, making him the second shallowest on average in both categories.

On Jackson's at-bat, his starting depth was 292 feet from the plate. Center fielders average a starting depth of 312 feet against Jackson.

"I try not to play too deep, so I have an opportunity to take cheap singles away from guys," Engel said. "In that situation I was about even. He's just swinging it really well right now. I know if he gets a pitch to hit he can drive it. He's a good player, good hitter. I don't want to say I was real shallow on that play."

"It's really just getting back there. That's at any ballpark," Jackson said. "Getting back there and timing the jump is the toughest thing. He's been able to do it a few times this year, and he just added to more of the great plays he's made this year."

This catch rivals a home run-stealing grab made by Engel against Houston's Brian McCann on Aug. 8 when he went over the right-center-field wall. As White Sox starter James Shields said of the man supporting him, Engel has drawn notice with his defense.

Video: Must C Catch: Engel's fantastic grab to rob homer

"He plays the game the right way," Shields said. "He plays hard every single night. I definitely love having him out there and watching him play."

"That was a play that I had to run pretty good just to go get it and it was at the wall," said Engel of where this catch ranks. "It was definitely up there."

Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin, on Facebook and listen to his podcast.

Chicago White Sox, Adam Engel