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Notes: Matthews' catch was memorable

Notes: Matthews' catch cracks list

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ANAHEIM -- Vertically inclined center fielder Gary Matthews Jr. scales walls as easily as he ties his cleats, fixes the cap atop his head or traverses the outfield grass. There is no hesitation, not an inkling of struggle or worry as he ascends toward the heavens in pursuit of his plummeting target.

The man should wear a cape.

FOX Sport's "Best Damn Sports Show Period" apparently agrees. Although the program's creators won't likely be lifting a costume from a ComicCon Convention anytime soon, they did recently award Matthews the No. 5 position of Fox Sport's "Best Damn Sports Show Period's" Thursday airing of the 50 best catches of all-time. Matthews beat out such luminaries as Torii Hunter and Dwight Clark.

The catch, a July 1, 2006, home-run theft that prompted congratulatory clapping from Houston victim Mike Lamb, saw Matthews, then playing for Texas, clamber up the wall in center.

Planting his right hand atop the wall for leverage, he launched himself to his left. The ball dropped into his outstretched glove as he whirled about in a 180-degree helicopter spin that sent him crashing back to Earth with an enthused trot.

Rangers radio announcer Eric Nadel called the catch the best he had ever seen in his 26 years with the organization.

Although Matthews admitted that the catch was indeed the most memorable of his eight-year Major League career, the 2006 All-Star attached little significance to his place on the countdown.

"No. 5? What? I should've been No. 1," he joked, a large grin slowly spreading across his face. "[The countdown] don't really matter to me, man.

"People still ask me about that catch. I'll be out at dinner or people in the stands will mention it. They want to know what it's like to climb a wall, if I thought I'd catch it, how hard the wall is. Fans are funny."

Matthews' catch eclipsed a number of storied greats, including "The Catch," a finger-tipped grab by San Francisco 49ers receiver Clark with 51 seconds left to secure a 28-27 win over the Dallas Cowboys in the 1982 NFC championship game.

The top spot was awarded to former Angel Jim Edmonds for his over the shoulder, diving basket catch that mirrored Willie Mays' historic grab in Game 1 of the 1954 World Series. Mays occupied the No. 2 spot on the countdown.

Minnesota's Hunter, making an appearance at Angel Stadium this weekend for a three-game set against Matthews and his Angels, was also on the list but could not crack the top 30.

Fallen Angel: Scott Spiezio, member of the 2002 world champion Angels and current St. Louis utility player, was placed on Major League Baseball's restricted list.

Halos fans fondly remember Spiezio as the man responsible for sparking an eighth-inning rally in Game 6 of the World Series that lifted the American League champs to a 6-5 come-from-behind win over San Francisco.

Eight outs from elimination, the Giants leading the contest 5-0 and the series 3-2, Spiezio launched a three-run blast that catalyzed a six-run rally and forced a seventh game. A 4-1 win in Game 7 gave the Angels their first title in club history.

"Of course, our prayers are with Scott and his family," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "The thing about Scott is when he puts his mind to something, he can overcome it. So we're hoping that he's able to bounce back. Right now, there are things more important than baseball in Scott's life.

"I'm surprised. We never had any indication anything was going on when Scott was here. It's a shocker to hear."

Minor League monsters: Outfielder Anderson Rosario anchored the Class A Cedar Rapids Kernels offense, going a perfect 3-for-3 with a double and an RBI in a 2-1 loss to the South Bend Silver Hawks Thursday.

The Kernels had their five-game win streak snapped with the loss.

The Class A Rancho Cucamonga Quakes received a solid outing from right-hander Anthony Ortega in a 7-5 loss to the High Desert Mavericks.

Ortega fanned a career-high 11 batters, including the final five batters he faced. He allowed three runs on six hits through seven innings of work.

On deck: Angels ace John Lackey (14-6, 3.11 ERA) looks to extend his two-game win streak when he faces Minnesota's Carlos Silva (9-12, 4.51 ERA) at Angel Stadium on Saturday at 6:05 p.m. PT.

Larry Santana is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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