Cole Hamels needed just one more out for the first solo no-hitter of his career and the 13th in Phillies history, when he threw a 3-2 curveball to Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant. Bryant crushed the ball to the deepest part of the park. It looked like it might be a home run, but it died in the wind and Herrera dived at the last possible second to snatch the ball just inches from the ground.
Hamels had done it. Herrera had saved the no-hitter, which the Phillies won, 5-0, with a scary-looking grab.
Complete coverage: Cole Hamels' no-hitter"I saw the contact of the ball," Herrera said through his translator and teammate Andres Blanco. "I thought that the ball would either go over or hit the wall, and I wanted to be able to jump or climb or whatever I needed to do to catch it. I didn't expect the wind to stop the ball the way it did. I didn't slide. I just dived to catch the ball."
Herrera said he did not panic when he realized he needed to dive to catch it.
"It was just a reaction," he said.
Of course, while Herrera did not panic, many others suffered as they watched it develop.
"He almost gave me a heart attack," Phillies first base coach and outfield instructor Juan Samuel said.
Herrera made another memorable catch with one out in the eighth inning when David Ross ripped a ball to left-center field. Herrera headed toward the wall, but curved back toward the ball to catch it. He tumbled to the turf, kicking up a cloud of dust.
"The ball was in the gap and my first reaction was go deep on the angle of the ball," Herrera said. "I knew that a no-hitter was going on, so the first thing that crossed my mind was hold onto the ball."
The last thing on his mind before the inning was remembering his sunglasses. The beginning of the eighth got delayed as a bat boy ran Herrera's sunglasses out to him.
"I knew he forgot them," Blanco said. "I called time out and told the bat boy, make sure you get him his sunglasses."
Herrera almost left the ballpark without talking about his two plays, but he seemed to appreciate the moment.
"It feels awesome," he said. "I'm proud I caught them."