TORONTO -- Another day, another highlight-reel catch by Blue Jays center fielder Kevin Pillar.
Pillar has made spectacular grabs part of his regular routine, and he was back to his old tricks in Saturday's 6-2 loss to the Dodgers. In the top of the ninth, Pillar sprawled out to make a diving catch that took an extra-base hit away from Carl Crawford.
When the ball left Crawford's bat, it appeared headed for the gap in left-center field. Pillar had other plans. According to Statcast™, he covered 69.266 feet with a route efficiency of 97.494 percent to take the hit away.
"I dragged my right cheek across the turf for about five yards, so I've got a little rug burn," said Pillar, who had a large red mark just below his right eye. "I feel like that's what I'm out there to do, make plays. I try to keep them as routine as possible, and I just feel like I'm doing my job. It was a good one."
Pillar's big afternoon wasn't limited to the defensive side of the field, either. In the fifth inning, he hit a double to left that scored Darwin Barney all the way from first base. It was his sixth RBI over his past six games, and 10 of his past 26 hits have now gone for extra bases.
The double on Saturday afternoon had a little added significance because it came against Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw. Pillar grew up rooting for the Dodgers, and in his mind, outside of Kobe Bryant, nobody is bigger in Los Angeles than the three-time National League Cy Young Award winner.
It wasn't that long ago that Pillar watched Kershaw pitch as a fan, but those days are over. Pillar is now a peer, but there was still something special about stepping into the box against one of his former idols, despite the fact that the two players are only separated in age by one year.
"It was everything I thought it was going to be," said Pillar, who is batting .294 this season. "He is very good. He doesn't make a lot of mistakes. He pitched me a little different than I thought he would -- he used his slider a lot. It was exciting for me.
"There's not going to be too many times I get to face him as long as I'm here and he's there. It was definitely a big thrill for me, and I'm glad I was able to make some adjustments from the first two at-bats, slow myself down and not get too amped up for it."
Gregor Chisholm has covered the Blue Jays for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.