Jennings snags liner behind leaping Kiermaier

Jennings snags liner behind leaping Kiermaier

ST. PETERSBURG -- Most balls hit toward center field against the Rays usually finish in Kevin Kiermaier's glove. That's why what happened in the seventh inning of Tuesday night's 3-2 win over the Blue Jays seemed odd.

Russell Martin led off the inning with a blast to deep center field. Kiermaier, the Rays' Platinum Glove Award winner, gave chase as did left fielder Desmond Jennings.

At the warning track, Kiermaier appeared to leap for the ball before tumbling to the ground -- but he didn't have the ball. No problem, Jennings did.

Taking a route behind Kiermaier, Jennings made a basket catch to retire Martin for the first out of the inning.

"I was playing right-center, so I was shaded way over," Kiermaier said. "I knew he hit it well, but I had a bead on it. I took my eye off it one last time to see where I was and where Des was. Then I tried to relocate it again and I lost it. Then I thought about trying to catch it, and Des said, 'I got it! I got it!'

"I was just getting ready to call it, but when I heard him, I stopped and jumped back and just hoped that Des would catch it and we wouldn't be looking at each other."

Given the contrast between Kiermaier's effort and the nonchalance that Jennings displayed while hauling in the ball, replays of the catch drew laughter inside Tropicana Field.

"Des is a great outfielder and I'm just so thankful the ball was caught, because that would have been all on me if we would have been looking at each other, because Des thought I had it the whole way," Kiermaier said. "I still think I could have caught it, but I backed off and flew in the air with my hands and hoped for Des to catch it. And he bailed me out. That's why I love playing next to him."

Bill Chastain is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.