Heyward makes stellar grab to rob homer

Heyward makes stellar grab to rob homer

CINCINNATI -- So close to robbing a pair of home runs earlier in this series, Cardinals right fielder Jason Heyward finally brought one back on Sunday.

With the finale between the Cards and Reds tied at 2 in the fifth inning, Heyward made a well-timed leap to keep Ivan De Jesus from tallying his fifth home run of the season. The out ended the inning for starter Michael Wacha and turned into a momentum-shifter, as the Cardinals immediately followed with a two-run sixth that they then rode to an eventual 9-2 win.

"That was a huge point of the game for us," manager Mike Matheny said after his team snapped a three-game losing streak. "He's such a great outfielder and always takes so much pride in what he does defensively."

Not only did Heyward's highlight-reel grab preserve a tie game, but it helped alleviate some of the frustration the Gold Glove outfielder had for not making the same play earlier in the team's visit to Cincinnati.

On Thursday, it was Brandon Phillips who launched a ball to a similar spot in right field. Heyward scaled the wall, only to feel the ball hit his glove before dropping into the stands for a solo homer. Heyward reacted strongly to the missed catch, pounding his glove in the warning track dirt even though his team trailed, 6-0, at the time.

Then in the completion of a suspended game on Saturday, Heyward was unable to nab a go-ahead blast by Adam Duvall that also just snuck over the right-field wall. In that instance, Heyward backed up too close to the wall to get in position to jump and reach over it.

This time, everything went right.

"I got there early enough that I found the wall and gave myself space," Heyward said. "At that point in time, we needed to keep them from scoring another run and get some momentum."

Asked if he thought about his recent missed opportunities as he pulled back this ball, Heyward said: "I think about the two the last couple days, the three that might have missed at some point in time here. It was huge to see everybody lift up after that."

Several of his teammates, including Wacha, waited by the dugout step to greet Heyward as he ran off the field.

"It's huge," Wacha said afterward. "It gets me out of the inning 1-2-3 real quick. He's a great outfielder out there. He probably thinks he could have had a couple more this series, but he made a heck of a play and has been making great plays all year for us."

Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB, like her Facebook page Jenifer Langosch for Cardinals.com and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.