Had Jim Joyce made the correct call to give Armando Galarraga the perfect game that he deserved, much of the talk around the water cooler on Thursday would have been about Austin Jackson's awesome catch in left-center field to record the first out of the ninth inning. Looking back, I'm sure Joyce wishes Jackson hadn't made the play, as there would be no controversy right now. Instead, though, Jackson sprinted after a long fly ball and made a Willie Mays-esque catch to keep the perfect game alive (video after the jump).
"It hung up there longer than I thought and as I started to close on it, I noticed that I had a pretty good chance to catch it," Jackson said. "It was a good catch."
Way better than good, according to Jackson's manager.
"That's a brilliant catch," Jim Leyland said. "Just absolutely as good as it gets."
I'm sure everybody held their breath when that ball was first hit, because it was hit hard and it was hit long. I didn't think Jackson even had a shot to catch it, but suddenly he appeared in the frame and made the "sparkling" grab, as play-by-play announcer Mario Impemba put it.
Although what followed in the ninth inning will forever overshadow this amazing catch, it was one of the plays of the year -- both for the athleticism needed to make the play and for the fact that it kept a perfect game alive, even if it was only for a few more minutes.