Defense flashes serious leather in clutch spots

Defense flashes serious leather in clutch spots

PHOENIX -- In the sixth inning of Monday's 3-2 win over the Dodgers, D-backs second baseman Jean Segura made an over-the-shoulder catch to rob Scott Van Slyke of a hit that would have tied the game.

Two innings later, with the bases loaded and two outs, D-backs center fielder Michael Bourn made a diving grab to rob Howie Kendrick of a hit that would have given the Dodgers the lead.

Both plays were exceptional. Both were pivotal moments. But whose run-saving play was better?

"Bases loaded when I did it," Bourn said with a smile after pondering the question, "but both of them were good. We needed both of those to win the game and was able to get the victory tonight, that's the main thing."

Bourn's catch came shortly after D-backs closer Brad Ziegler entered a little earlier than normal. After setup man Daniel Hudson loaded the bases with three straight walks with one out in the eighth, Ziegler struck out Dodgers pinch-hitter Kike Hernandez.

Kendrick then blooped a ball into center that Bourn had to get a good break on to have a chance at. With the speed of the veteran outfielder, who entered as a defensive replacement in the seventh, he was able to lay out and preserve the one-run lead.

"I never really pay attention to where our outfielders are playing before I throw a pitch. I always look at where our infielders are," Ziegler said. "But as soon as it was hit, I was like, 'Oh gosh, I hope he's shallow enough.' And whether he was or not, he's got the speed to make up the ground."

Bourn hit a max speed of 19.3 mph while sprinting to cover 47 feet in 3.10 seconds.

The situation may have been different if not for Segura's play back in the sixth.

Segura's splendid catch

Segura was playing straight up the middle of the infield on a shift against the right-handed-hitting Van Slyke. With a runner on third, the Arizona second baseman sprinted back into center and made a challenging grab to preserve the lead.

"Segura made probably one of the best plays ever in a game I've pitched," said D-backs starter Zack Greinke, who won for the sixth straight start. "It was a really great play."

According to Statcast™, Segura covered 69 feet in 4.23 seconds while hitting a max speed of 18.2 mph.

Bourn and Segura weren't the only D-backs players to make standout defensive plays. Left fielder Peter O'Brien robbed Justin Turner of a possible home run in the fifth with a leaping grab at the wall.

O'Brien's leaping grab

All three plays contributed in helping the D-backs win three in a row for the first time since a five-game winning streak from May 6-10.

"We've had some plays this year that we haven't made in key situations that have hurt us and we're starting to make them now," D-backs manager Chip Hale said. "Guys are starting to get a good feeling about it, and that's what it's all about."

Jake Rill is a reporter for MLB.com based in Phoenix. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.