Jackson’s catch saved it — for a while

Michael J. Happy
FOX Sports Detroit

Detroit — Tigers center fielder Austin Jackson did his best impression of Willie Mays to keep it going in the bottom of the ninth inning Wednesday night at Comerica Park.

It was a catch that, had Armando Galarraga earned his perfect game, would have been replayed long after we’re all dead.

Instead, video of Jackson’s running backward basket catch on a long fly ball off the bat of the Indians’ Mark Grudzielanek will have a short shelf life.

Still, the catch was doozy.

“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.”

Off the bat, it didn’t look like Jackson had a prayer. There was an audible gasp by the crowd as it sensed the end of a historical night. Then, when Jackson got to the ball and hauled in his catch, the collective cheer likely could be heard across the Detroit River, into Canada.

“To run that far is unbelievable,” Tigers catcher Alex Avila said. “That just shows you how great a center fielder he is.”

Unfortunately, Galarraga’s bid for perfection ended two batters later, in an unbelievable way.