Marlins outfielder Jesús Sánchez decided that he didn't need his glove to secure a fly ball in Monday's game against the Washington Nationals. In the fourth inning, Nationals outfielder Lane Thomas lifted a fly ball into foul territory in right field and it appeared that Sánchez had overran the ball.
However, instead of drifting back with his glove, Sánchez reached out and caught the ball with his bare hand.
Sánchez himself was astonished, as he could do nothing but smile after the catch. Marlins pitcher Jesús Luzardo tipped his cap to his teammate, while Thomas just stood there for a second in utter disbelief.
"I was just running really hard after the ball," Sánchez said after the game via an interpreter, according to MLB.com. "I was trying to be very careful with the wall, and I was looking at the wall, looking at the ball, and then suddenly I looked at the ball and I passed the ball completely. I didn't have any reach with my left hand, so I just pulled that right hand and suddenly I grabbed it."
The catch is similar to one that was made by former San Francisco Giants outfielder Kevin Mitchell 32 years ago. During a game on April 26, 1989, St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Fame shortstop Ozzie Smith sent a fly ball into left field at Busch Stadium. Mitchell ran it down with his bare hand.
That Mitchell play was on the mind of Marlins manager Don Mattingly after Sánchez made the catch.
"Obviously, the home run was big," Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. "We got behind there, weren't that great early, but we just kind of hung in there. … It was an interesting game from the standpoint of getting behind, getting back in it. [We] finally caught back up there at the end [and] got a shot. Jesús was good. That catch reminded me of Kevin Mitchell, the play he made. Jesús always makes it interesting."
Sánchez had quite a game, as he also connected on a two-run home run in the inning before the catch. The Marlins were able to come away with a 8-7 win in 10 innings thanks to a wild pitch that scored Jazz Chisholm Jr.