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Watch: Iglesias' ninth-inning catch amazes teammates

Tony Paul
The Detroit News

Tigers outfielder Yoenis Cespedes (52) and shortstop Jose Iglesias (1) go after a flyball by the Indians’ Mike Aviles (4) in the ninth inning Sunday at Comerica Park.

Detroit — Just when you think you've seen the best that Jose Iglesias has to offer, you're reminded there probably is no ceiling to this kid's greatness with a glove.

Iglesias, the Tigers' full-of-flair shortstop, made a great, over-the-shoulder catch in the ninth inning of Sunday's 8-6 victory over the Indians, delighting the crowd — while amazing his teammates.

That's right, he continues to amaze.

"My jaw just dropped," said Kyle Lobstein, who watched from the clubhouse.

"Unbelievable," James McCann said.

"He's not normal," Ian Kinsler said.

Let's set the scene.

In the ninth inning, there was a runner on first and one out, and the Tigers were leading by two.

With the potential tying run at the plate, the Tigers were playing deep in the outfield — in what's called their no-doubles defense. In other words, anything that's not hit out of the park should be limited to a single.

As such, Tigers left fielder Yoenis Cespedes was playing near the fence, so when Mike Aviles hit a flyball to short-medium left field, Iglesias raced out and, amazingly, beat Cespedes to the ball — and, with his back to the infield and he and Cespedes looking like they might collide, Iglesias nabbed the fly ball with a flick of the wrist so nonchalant, it was like he was simply swatting away a mosquito.

That made it two out and a runner on first, instead of one out and two men on.

"Wow," J.D. Martinez said. "That was a big play. That changed the whole inning."

No question, the Tigers were appreciative.

Joakim Soria got the next hitter out, and the game was over.

It just was a bit more suspenseful than you'd expect a seemingly routine fly ball to be.

"I'd rather not see it again, quite frankly," manager Brad Ausmus said, smiling. "I'd rather someone be camped out underneath it. But he's got some extraordinary skills."

Kinsler, who's still getting used to his splashy double-play partner, said, "I don't know what the heck he was doing. All he had to do was turn around, just catch it over his head like a normal player."

But, as Kinsler noted earlier, there's nothing normal about Iglesias.

‎Iglesias already made the highlight reels, this season, multiple times. He makes the extraordinary plays look easy, and he makes the routine plays look special.

Maybe too special. That was always former manager Jim Leyland's point — don't make a mistake being too cute. That's just Iglesias, though. He's not out there trying to make every play like Ozzie Smith reincarnated. That's just his style, said Kinsler, adding he's actually seen Iglesias practice that exact play.

Iglesias said he never heard Cespedes call for the ball, so at the last minute he just reached for it.

"The guy's got the best hands in baseball, fellas," Anthony Gose said.

Iglesias, for his part, said all the right things about the play. He was just happy he caught the ball. He was just happy his team won. It was a fun game.

Then asked if he'd be watching ESPN's "SportsCenter" on the way to Minnesota to see if he'd make the top 10 plays of the day, Iglesias said he'd check it out — like he always does, to see how other teams are doing.

But what if he doesn't make the top 10 this time?

"If I'm not tonight," he said, flashing a million-watt smile, "I will be soon."

tpaul@detroitnews.com

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