Saunders robs Hardy with highlight-reel grab

Leaping catch shows slugger can also impress with glove

Saunders robs Hardy with highlight-reel grab

BALTIMORE -- Michael Saunders has been red hot at the plate for most of the season, but on Sunday afternoon against the Orioles, he let his glove do most of the talking.

Saunders provided a bright spot in an otherwise disappointing afternoon for the Blue Jays by taking a home run away from J.J. Hardy in the bottom of the seventh. It wasn't enough to avoid an 11-6 loss to the Orioles, but the grab will be sure to make the highlight reels.

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The 29-year-old ran back to the warning track in left field and then needed all of his 6-foot-4 frame to make a leaping catch at the wall. Hardy's shot was destined for the seats but instead turned into a long out.

"Don't want to leave that out," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said of the play. "Mikey's having a heck of a series and a heck of a year. Good for him."

Saunders went hitless in four at-bats Sunday afternoon, but he has not had very many games like that recently. The native of Victoria, British Columbia, entered play in the series finale hitting .389 with a .452 on-base percentage and a 1.303 OPS in 16 games this month.

Among qualified American League outfielders, Saunders ranks first with a .980 OPS, and he's tied for first with a .309 average. He already has 15 home runs this season, which is four away from his career high.

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.