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Odubel climbs fence, tree to rob home run

Center fielder takes one away from Freeman in loss to Braves
MLB.com @ToddZolecki

PHILADELPHIA -- In the future, whenever a center fielder makes a home run robbing catch at Citizens Bank Park, it is likely to be judged next to the one Odubel Herrera made in the third inning Saturday night.

How many times has a player needed to pull a baseball out of a bush to make a catch?

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PHILADELPHIA -- In the future, whenever a center fielder makes a home run robbing catch at Citizens Bank Park, it is likely to be judged next to the one Odubel Herrera made in the third inning Saturday night.

How many times has a player needed to pull a baseball out of a bush to make a catch?

View Full Game Coverage

"I had to pause and take that in," Phillies right fielder Nick Williams said after a 4-1 loss to the Braves. "I didn't even make the catch and I had to soak it in. It was awesome. It was sick."

The Phillies would have preferred to celebrate Herrera's catch following a victory over the Braves. But Phillies right-hander Nick Pivetta struggled for the first time since his first start of the season, allowing six hits, four runs and three walks in five innings, while striking out six. The Phillies' only run came in the fifth when Maikel Franco hit a solo homer to left.

Video: ATL@PHI: Pivetta strikes out Albies in the 1st

But Herrera's catch had everybody talking.

Braves slugger Freddie Freeman crushed a 1-0 fastball from Pivetta to deep center field with a runner on first and one out in the third. Herrera, who already is regarded as one of the best center fielders in baseball, got a good jump on the ball. He tracked it to the wall and jumped high with his glove arm outstretched.

Herrera followed the ball into his glove as he crashed into the six-foot-high wall. His momentum carried his glove into one of the bushes behind the fence. He pulled his glove out of the branches with the ball secured.

Nobody could believe it.

"Holy [cow]!" Pivetta said from the mound.

"Oh, man," J.P. Crawford said. "That was one of the best I've ever seen."

"What a tremendous play," Phillies manager Gabe Kapler said. "Incredible jump, timed up his jump perfectly, having his glove go into the bushes like that, you never know what's going to happen in that kind of situation. But more and more he just shows you how engaged he is, how dynamic he is, how athletic he is, and how invested he is in our baseball games. You see how emotional he is and we love that, and we don't want to do anything but celebrate it."

Video: ATL@PHI: Kapler on bullpens' strong showing

Herrera had some fun with the play afterward. Asked if he suffered any scratches from his arm going into the bush, he pointed to scratches on his right arm.

"Like Rambo, you know?" he said.

Except it was the left arm that traveled over the fence, but whatever.

"I was able to read the swing," Herrera said. "I was able to read the fly ball. Immediately, I knew I had a chance. … Freddie Freeman was making signs from the dugout. I could read his lips. He was like, 'What happened? What was that all about?' So what I was trying to say was, 'Well, [Ronald Acuna Jr.] did something similar to me last night, so go talk to him."

Was it the best catch he ever made?

"It was really good, it was really good," Herrera said.

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Pivetta had a 1.88 ERA in his previous four starts, striking out 25 and walking two in 24 innings. He struggled against the Braves, allowing six hits and walking three in five innings. He allowed a solo home run to Nick Markakis in the second to give the Braves a 1-0 lead. He allowed two more runs in the third and another run in the fifth.

SOUND SMART
Williams struck out swinging with runners on first and second and two outs in the eighth inning. He is hitless in his last 18 at-bats. He hit .294 with a .775 OPS in his first 36 plate appearances.

YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
Franco ripped a solo home run to left field in the fifth inning to cut Atlanta's lead to 4-1. The low line drive left his bat at 111.7 mph with a 15-degree launch angle, according to Statcast™. It had the lowest trajectory of any home run hit in baseball this season and tied for the lowest since the beginning of last season. Herrera tied the previous mark this season with a 16-degree launch angle Friday.

Video: ATL@PHI: Franco drives a solo home run to left field

HE SAID IT
"To go in the bushes is pretty good in itself to bring the ball out. The focus that it takes for an outfielder to make that catch is phenomenal." -- Braves manager Brian Snitker, on Herrera's catch

MITEL REPLAY OF THE DAY
The Braves asked for a review of Herrera's home run-robbing catch because they thought the ball might have first hit the bush beyond the wall in center field. But replay clearly showed Herrera caught the ball before he crashed into the bush.

Video: ATL@PHI: Herrera robs Freeman of a home run in 3rd

UP NEXT
Phillies right-hander Vince Velasquez (1-3, 4.50 ERA) faces Braves right-hander Brandon McCarthy (3-0, 3.38 ERA) in the series finale at 1:35 p.m. ET on Sunday at Citizens Bank Park. Despite allowing four runs in 4 2/3 innings in his last start, Velasquez has a 3.37 ERA in his past four starts.

Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook and listen to his podcast.

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