BOSTON — Cleveland Indians center fielder Austin Jackson made such a sensational catch, he drew a standing ovation — from the rival Red Sox fans at Fenway Park.
Jackson raced toward right-center, jumped high and jack-knifed into the Boston bullpen to rob Hanley Ramirez of a leadoff home run in the fifth inning Tuesday night.
“That was one of the best catches I think I’ve ever seen,” said Cleveland manager Terry Francona, the former Red Sox skipper who led Boston to World Series titles in 2004 and 2007.
So good, Boston fans had to stop in mid-celebration when Jackson re-emerged and held up his glove with the ball still inside. Umpires called for video review, which the Fenway crowd hoped would overturn the call on the field. When the call was upheld, the fans resumed cheering, but this time it was directed at the opposing center fielder.
“They’re good baseball fans. They certainly want their team to win but they appreciate good baseball,” Francona said.
After making the acrobatic, astonishing catch, Jackson casually hopped back onto the field, as if he’d just jumped a neighbor’s fence to retrieve a ball. He had to leap high above the fence and stretch to reach the ball and get it in his glove, then hang on when his momentum sent him crashing into the Red Sox bullpen.
“Really you’re just trying to get back to the wall and try to read it. That particular one, I got back and I tried to get to the fence first,” Jackson said. “When I jumped, I caught it and I realized I was about to take a tumble on the other side.”
Jackson managed to hook one arm over the top of the wall to brace himself as he went over it. He wasn’t quite prepared for the response he received.
“That was awesome. I was just so pumped up it was like I didn’t even hear them,” Jackson said. “I was just pumped up for us and glad that I was able to hold on to it. Especially going over like that, I could’ve easily dropped it.”
The Red Sox went on to win 12-10 on Christian Vazquez’s three-run homer with two outs in the bottom of the ninth.
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