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Watch: Almora sprints for stunning sliding snag

@cdenicola13
April 15, 2019

MIAMI -- Chest bumps aren't a common sight in the Majors, but neither is the defensive gem Albert Almora Jr. pulled off during the first inning of the Cubs’ 7-2 victory over the Marlins. Almora, who attended Mater Academy in nearby Hialeah Gardens, Fla., raced to the warning track in

MIAMI -- Chest bumps aren't a common sight in the Majors, but neither is the defensive gem Albert Almora Jr. pulled off during the first inning of the Cubs’ 7-2 victory over the Marlins.

Almora, who attended Mater Academy in nearby Hialeah Gardens, Fla., raced to the warning track in right-center field in spacious Marlins Park and made a running grab before sliding into the wall to rob Curtis Granderson of extra bases.

"First play of the game and he hit it well, and I took off. Me and [Jason Heyward] looked at each other, and that's when I knew it was going to be a tough one to make," Almora said. "I was busting my butt all the way to the wall, and at the end, I just threw my hand out and made the play."

According to Statcast, Almora had to cover 121 feet in 5.9 seconds, giving him a 40 percent catch probability, which translates to a four-star catch. His sprint speed was 28.5 feet per second, impressive when compared to MLB’s sprint average of 27 feet per second.

After making contact with the wall, Almora held his glove up before double fist pumping from the ground in celebration and doing a chest bump with right fielder Heyward. Cubs starter Yu Darvish clapped in appreciation from the mound.

"It's exciting, especially because I didn't think I was going to make the catch until the very last minute," Almora said. "It was one of those balls that are hit very hard, and I just sold out and went at it and ended up making the play."

Almora entered Monday with two Outs Above Average. The series opener against the Marlins marked his ninth start in center field in 2019, out of 13 total appearances in center.

"Once it was hit it was like, 'Oh my god,'" Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. "You knew it was staying in the ballpark, but you knew it was pretty much bisecting him and Jason. I just didn't know if he could get to it or not, and he was able to. ... It's incredible when you're able to process all of that as soon as the ball is hit, and you look up and you know immediately he has an outside shot. And he got it."

Christina De Nicola is a reporter and game producer for MLB.com based in Miami. Follow her on Twitter @CDeNicola13.