Souza, Yelich share laugh over no-hitter-saving catch
Outfielders reunite during Citrus Series in Miami
MIAMI -- They are linked to a moment that preserved the first, and only no-hitter, in Nationals history. This weekend, they hooked up again, and were able to share a laugh.
For the first time since Jordan Zimmermann held the Marlins hitless in the 2014 season finale, Miami left fielder Christian Yelich was able to chat with Steven Souza Jr., who is now with the Rays.
Zimmermann may have made history last Sept. 28, but Souza made the sensational no-hitter-saving catch with two outs in the ninth inning.
Yelich was Miami's final hope, and he smoked a liner to the gap in left-center. But Souza dashed back, and he made a remarkable, diving catch. The replay will haunt Yelich forever.
Before Friday's game with the Rays, Yelich saw Souza on the field, and they talked briefly.
"We had a laugh," Yelich said. "I saw him pregame. I gave him a hard time about it. He laughed."
The baseball had a way of finding Souza in the ninth inning. He had just entered the game as a defensive replacement for Ryan Zimmerman.
"First no-hitter in Nationals history, you know," Souza said. "Coming in in the ninth, after not playing in the whole game type of thing. And then, yeah, I think what stands out the most is that Jordan thought it was a double. You see his head go down, then his hands go up once I make the catch. It was an incredible moment.
"It's one of those things where I knew the ball was going to come to me. I made sure I over-prepared for that moment. Yeah, it was incredible."
To Yelich, it was one of those helpless feelings as a hitter. If it drops, he ends the season with an extra-base hit. Who knows? He would have been either on second or third base in a one-run game. Instead, the Miami outfielder is part of the wrong side of history.
"It was a great play," Yelich said. "It saved a no-hitter. It's good for him. It's something I'll see for a long time. It will be on there."
On that play, Yelich was victimized by a great defensive play. But in the offseason, the Miami left fielder didn't come away empty-handed. Yelich was the Gold Glove-winning left fielder in the National League.