Given that the game's outcome was on the line, you probably won't see a better catch all season than the one Roger Bernadina made in the 12th inning Tuesday night at Minute Maid Park. Washington Nationals up a run, Houston Astros threatening with two runners aboard, closer Tyler Clippard serves up a long fly to Brett Wallace. The ball appears headed for the gap in left-center field, but Bernadina sprints and leaps into the fence — disappearing for a moment behind a padded support beam — before coming away with the ball. Enough to take away your breath, and give Washington a 3-2 victory.
''It was sensational,'' Nationals manager Davey Johnson said of the catch. ''I thought the ball at first was going to go out. I saw him disappear from my angle ... and he came out holding the glove high and I said: 'This is great, let's get out of here.'''
The best part was the disappearance. Magic tricks always improve the aesthetic of any activity:
Where'd he go? Come in, Roger. Over. (Also, is that the visitor's bullpen or a real scrap metal yard back there?)
Roger, Roger. Over and out.
Via the Associated Press, Bernadina said he would do anything for love to win:
He knew he was going to hit the wall, but figured he had to do it to save the game.
''This game took forever,'' he said. ''I just want to get out of here and whatever it takes to get an out.''
Well, let's get out of here, then!
Bernadina scored the winning run a night earlier, thanks to wacky defense by the Astros, who continue to discover entertaining ways to lose. They've dropped 11 straight in extra innings.
The Nationals, who had taken the lead on a single by Danny Espinosa (he also hit a home run), are 67-43 and lead the Braves by four games in the NL East. The race would be a little tighter, if not for Bernadina.