Rizzo climbs on tarp, into stands for catch

Cubs first baseman has to await ruling after unusual play

Rizzo climbs on tarp, into stands for catch

CHICAGO -- The Cubs' Anthony Rizzo showed off his acrobatic skills in Wednesday night's 3-2, 10-inning win over the Brewers.

Milwaukee had a runner at first and one out in the sixth inning when Ryan Braun hit a popup that drifted toward the fans along the first-base line. Rizzo jumped onto the rolled tarp next to the brick wall, took a step on top of the wall and then the back of a seat, while being able to lean over and grab the ball. Somehow, Rizzo landed on his feet in the seats amid the cheering fans, and had the presence of mind to turn and throw the ball back to the infield.

"It's one of those ones where you put your head down and I came up with the catch," Rizzo said. "I really don't remember any of it. It slowed down at the moment, and once I made the catch, it sped up real fast."

Said Cubs pitcher Jason Hammel: "That was one of the best plays I've ever seen in baseball. It was impressive."

The Cubs first baseman had a run in with the tarp once before, in May 2013 during a Cubs-Padres game, when he landed between the tarp and the brick wall. This time, he showed off his leaping ability, coordination and balance in one athletic move.

Must C: Catch

At first, the umpires were going to rule that it was not a catch and allow Braun to continue his at-bat, but Cubs manager Joe Maddon talked to home-plate umpire Tripp Gibson, who conferred with the others, and they realized that yes, Braun was out.

"They were really straight up about it," Maddon said. "When you go out to talk to umpires and they actually say, 'I should've done this instead,' that's a beautiful thing, man."

Rizzo provided a catch that will certainly be featured on this year's Cubs' highlight reel.

"Of course, you want to make that play," Maddon said. "You do not want to give [Braun] another pitch."

Braun, who had hit a solo home run in the first, was impressed.

"Just incredible effort by an unbelievable player," Braun said. "From a pure effort perspective, one of the greatest plays I've ever seen in the regular season. It's a really dangerous play, obviously. You have no idea where you're going to land. If his foot were to hit the seat wrong or fall in-between seats, he could have broken an ankle. So for him to even attempt that, it's a special play by a really good player."

Cubs fan on Rizzo's catch

Rizzo said hasn't practiced that kind of manuever. He wasn't exactly sure if it was legal.

"I ask a lot of umpires what you're allowed to do and what you're not allowed to do," Rizzo said. "Half say you're not allowed to go up on the wall, half say you are allowed to go up there. I tried to throw it as fast as I could. It was a big out there."

Fortunately, the fans were on his side.

"I don't know how I kept my balance on the first row seats -- luckily, we made the out and didn't come away injured from it," Rizzo said.

He's seen Derek Jeter dive into the seats many times, including the incident when he came out with a bloody cut on his face. No blood was shed on Rizzo's play.

"Mine was nothing compared to [Jeter]," Rizzo said. "He's all out, face in the stands. I had a nice easy landing, which I'm very lucky for. It's one of those things where instincts take over."

The Cubs totaled four hits in their sixth straight win , which Miguel Montero clinched with a walk-off home run leading off the 10th. Give Rizzo an assist.

"If we don't play that kind of defense, we do not win it," Maddon said.

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.