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Grichuk races to make diving grab, turns DP

Cards center fielder reaches top speed of 20.131 mph as tracked by Statcast

NEW YORK -- Cardinals outfielder Randal Grichuk, a Gold Glove Award winner in the Minors, continued his standout defensive series with a diving catch to initiate a double play in the second inning of Thursday's game against the Mets.

Though the Cardinals ended up losing, 5-0, Grichuk laid out to keep John Mayberry Jr.'s line drive to left-center off lefty starter Jaime Garcia from falling in a scoreless game. And if the diving catch alone wasn't enough for the highlight reel, Grichuk hopped up and fired a throw to first baseman Matt Adams that doubled up Michael Cuddyer. Cuddyer, who opened the inning with a walk, had already reached second when he saw Grichuk make the grab.

"If there is a play that has a chance to be made, I'm going to try," said Grichuk. "I think those are the plays that outfielders live for -- leaving your feet or plays at the wall with a chance to rob someone."

Grichuk later added that he would put the play at the top of his growing list of Major League defensive gems.

"He's got great closing speed, great instincts and jumps and aggressiveness. It played big just this series alone," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "I'm seeing reckless, but I'm all right with it. You start taking the aggressiveness away from guys and sometimes you're even subjecting them more to injury. You play the game with the instincts that you have."

As tracked by Statcast™, Grichuk covered a distance of 58.94 feet while reaching a top speed of 20.131 mph, which resulted in a 94.915 route efficiency.

Adams made a nice play himself, too, stretching off the bag to snare the throw, which never bounced. Adams was able to keep his toe on the base.

Grichuk's play came less than 24 hours after he helped Carlos Martinez out of a third-inning mess in what later became a 9-0 Cardinals win. With the bases full, Grichuk sprinted in from center and made a diving catch to rob Cuddyer of an RBI hit. Grichuk came up ready to throw home, only to see that Mets starter Bartolo Colon, who represented the tying run at the time, had not tagged up.

Video: STL@NYM: Grichuk displays defensive prowess in win

Grichuk capped his defensive performance on Wednesday with a sliding catch in the eighth inning, shortly after shifting from center field to left.

"I have a little run going," he said, smiling.

Grichuk's string of defensive highlights comes in the first week since he was activated from the disabled list. Grichuk nursed a back injury for four weeks, but he is trying to be proactive in keeping the tightness from becoming a recurring issue.

"Some of that might seem tedious to him, but I think he's starting to put that program together of what he needs to do to localize maybe some weaknesses physically that he needs to stay on top of so he can keep going out there," Matheny said. "When he goes out there, there's always the capability of something special."

Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB, like her Facebook page Jenifer Langosch for and listen to her podcast.
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