Shogo shows off! LF's catch 'unbelievable'
CINCINNATI -- The Reds were on the wrong end of a six-run deficit in what ended as a 9-6 loss to the Pirates on Thursday, but left fielder Shogo Akiyama was still willing to do what it took to make a great defensive play.
In the top of the fifth inning of a 9-3 game with two outs and two runners on, Adam Frazier lifted a drive to left field off Michael Lorenzen. Akiyama tracked the ball to the warning track, and then the wall. He made a perfectly timed leap to make the catch as he crashed hard into the Great American Ball Park fence.
"Frazier hit a ball that the left fielder made a hell of a play on, and it shows why he won a Gold Glove in Japan,” Pirates manager Derek Shelton said of Akiyama, who won six Golden Glove Awards during his time with the Seibu Lions in Japan.
While Frazier’s drive was not heading over the wall, Akiyama saved an extra-base hit and likely prevented two runs from scoring.
“It was unbelievable. I mean, off the bat and when he was running after it, it looked like there was no chance,” Reds manager David Bell said. “Made another good play on the ball down the line. Just a solid all-around player.”
As Akiyama ran back to the dugout, he was greeted by happy teammates. That included a grateful Lorenzen, who had just replaced Cody Reed to face Frazier.
“I’m not even going to lie to you, when he hit it -- I kind of put my head down for a second, because it sounded pretty good off the bat,” Reed said. “Next thing I know, I look up and he’s against the wall making the catch. I put my hands over my head and I was shocked for sure, but glad he came down with it.”
Akiyama made another impressive play during the seventh, when he made a leaping grab on a ball lined to left by Bryan Reynolds to open the inning.
Cincinnati signed Akiyama -- its first Japanese player in the Major Leagues -- to a three-year, $21 million contract this past offseason.