TORONTO -- Randal Grichuk hasn't done much with the bat this season, but his glove continues to be a difference maker in the outfield.
Grichuk made a spectacular -- yet awkward -- diving catch that saved a run during the first inning of Toronto's 7-2 victory over Rangers on Sunday afternoon at Rogers Centre. The timely grab stopped Delino DeShields from scoring and resulted in a double play.
According to Statcast™, Grichuk traveled 58 feet and had 4.0 seconds of opportunity time to make the grab. It was ranked as a three-star catch and came with a 75-percent catch probability. The double play helped left-hander J.A. Happ escape the first inning without any damage.
"Mine are much more graceful," Blue Jays center fielder Kevin Pillar said with a laugh. "It's exciting to see. He hasn't been playing much lately, struggling with the bat, to come out there and make a big play in the first inning is huge for him, huge for our team. It got us out of a jam early. It was nice to see a zero on the scoreboard after the first inning."
The bizarre catch happened when Isiah Kiner-Falefa hit a little blooper to shallow right field. DeShields initially held up at second base, but then determined that the ball would drop, so he took off for third base. Grichuk had other ideas.
Grichuk started to run in with the idea of making a diving catch, but along the way he stumbled and began to lose his footing. He started falling to the turf at the same time as he would have attempted the dive, but somehow found a way to come up with the snag. The ball bounced off Grichuk's glove and then hit his chest before he was able to corral it for the out and then made an easy throw to second for the double play.
The impressive catch was the start of an impressive afternoon for the struggling Grichuk, who recently lost his starting job in right field to Teoscar Hernandez. Grichuk finished the series finale with a pair of hits and two RBIs to snap an 0-for-18 drought. He previously had the lowest average (.048) of any hitter in the Majors with at least 40 at-bats.
"He needed at least one sanity hit and that's the way it goes sometimes," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "That first inning, the great catch, that kind of set the tone a little bit, especially the way things have been going. It's in there. He hasn't been able to play a whole lot and it's tough to do anything when you're not in there. We'll try to give him some at-bats. Maybe today will jump start him a little bit."