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Cutch's great defense made clear on Statcast

MLB.com

Andrew McCutchen has battled a sore left knee all season, and he jammed that same knee Friday night while sliding into second base. He showed no ill effects in Saturday's 2-1 loss at Busch Stadium.

Cardinals second baseman Kolten Wong hit a sinking liner to center field to lead off the third inning, and McCutchen made a sensational play to keep lefty Francisco Liriano's no-hitter alive.

Full Game Coverage

Andrew McCutchen has battled a sore left knee all season, and he jammed that same knee Friday night while sliding into second base. He showed no ill effects in Saturday's 2-1 loss at Busch Stadium.

Cardinals second baseman Kolten Wong hit a sinking liner to center field to lead off the third inning, and McCutchen made a sensational play to keep lefty Francisco Liriano's no-hitter alive.

Full Game Coverage

Thanks to the revolutionary Statcast tracking technology, we can see just how all-out McCutchen's effort was on the play.

Wong's sinking liner left his bat at 73.8 mph and hung in the air for a little more than 3.5 seconds, according to Statcast. McCutchen's first step came within 0.4 seconds.

From there, McCutchen accelerated toward the ball and reached a maximum speed of 19.2 mph when he hit his stride.

The former National League Most Valuable Player covered 58.6 feet as he raced toward Busch Stadium's shallow center field, taking a route that graded out with 99.2 percent efficiency before rolling up and flipping the ball to the infield with a flourish.

What's more, McCutchen's highlight-reel grab preserved Liriano's no-hitter, which lasted into the sixth inning.

McCutchen's catch compares well to two of the finest grabs Statcast has measured this season.

Last week in Detroit, Yankees outfielder Brett Gardner reached a maximum speed of 17.2 mph heading toward the wall, while Jacoby Ellsbury sprinted at 21 mph before diving toward the warning track in right-center field at Comerica Park.

Video: NYY@BOS: Ellsbury tracks one down in center field

To understand just how quickly McCutchen covered that ground, consider this: The game's fastest baserunners, Billy Hamilton and Dee Gordon, reach a maximum speed of about 21 mph while stealing a base.

McCutchen had less time to get there -- covering 58.6 feet compared to 90 between first and second, give or take a few feet after the runner's lead -- and still ramped up his gait to nearly 20 mph.

Adam Berry is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @adamdberry.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Pittsburgh Pirates, Andrew McCutchen