CHICAGO -- There was some doubt as to whether Aaron Judge's majestic drive off of White Sox starter James Shields in the fifth inning of Thursday's 4-3 White Sox victory over the Yankees at Guaranteed Rate Field would have cleared the left-field fence.Melky Cabrera completely erased that little bit of
CHICAGO -- There was some doubt as to whether Aaron Judge's majestic drive off of White Sox starter James Shields in the fifth inning of Thursday's 4-3 White Sox victory over the Yankees at Guaranteed Rate Field would have cleared the left-field fence.
Melky Cabrera completely erased that little bit of uncertainty.
Cabrera made a leaping grab against the wall on Judge's fly ball, a blast looking as if it might have hit the top of the wall if not corralled. Cabrera moved back to the necessary spot in left-center, near the White Sox bullpen, and perfectly timed a straight jump.
"I read very well that ball," Cabrera said through interpreter Billy Russo. "With the power that he has, you have to be deep in the outfield. And I had a very good read of that ball and I jumped in the precise moment."
"When I threw it, Judge kind of slammed his bat a little bit so I figured it was a pop fly and I looked back and he caught it and I actually thought it was a home run because he didn't show the ball quite right away," Shields said. "It was a great catch."
As if the catch wasn't spectacular enough, Cabrera added a little showmanship after the play. He turned to talk with the White Sox bullpen after coming down with the baseball, with closer Player Page for David Robertson yelling encouragement to his fellow ex-Yankees teammate. Cabrera also talked with the fans in the left-field stands before holding up the ball to show he made the catch.
Judge was standing at second by that point. There was a Cabrera taking a bow in left field, with applause above his head and waving to the crowd.
Fans cheered loudly when it looked as if Judge had gone deep for home run No. 28, with a strong representation of Yankees fans in attendance for a game delayed 2 hours, 50 minutes by rain. The crowd cheered even louder when Cabrera held up the baseball on a ball Judge knew wasn't going out before the play was made.
"No, I got it off the end of the bat. I knew it right away," Judge said. "I kind of lost it; I didn't know actually where it went. I started running and thought it was going to be an outfielder coming in. I just missed it."
"That was just the way that it goes," a smiling Cabrera said of his reaction. "I wasn't planning to do it. It was just the reaction in that moment."
This catch came one inning after Cabrera threw out Ronald Torreyes trying to stretch a run-scoring single into a double to end the fourth. It was the seventh assist of the season for Cabrera, who threw a runner out at the plate on Wednesday. It also helped Shields and the White Sox keep the Yankees out of a big inning with the top of the order coming to the plate, setting up Cabrera's further defensive gems.
"It was a great catch," White Sox manager Rick Renteria said. "He made some nice plays out there, some catches, the throw and assist again throwing the ball well."
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.