RF McDonald robs Jays' Johnson of HR
June, 27, 2012
By Bill Humphrey | ESPNBoston.com
BOSTON -- Darnell McDonald made the play of the day.
Jim Rogash/Getty ImagesRed Sox RF Darnell McDonald leaps high to take a home run away from the Blue Jays' Kelly Johnson.
The Red Sox were up 10-4 heading into the top of the 9th inning when reliever Clayton Mortensen took the hill for Boston. Kelly Johnson, pinch hitting for Ben Francisco with no outs, hit a long fly ball to right field toward the Blue Jays' bullpen. Off the bat it looked like a home run, but McDonald appeared to have a good read on it as he trotted toward the wall.
"I was visualizing a Hail Mary pass," said McDonald. "You know, back in the day where you've just got to go up and go get it. It just landed in my glove."
That is exactly what McDonald looked like as he made a leaping catch, nearly falling over the bullpen wall, to rob Johnson of a pinch home run.
"I've been robbed in the minor leagues," admitted McDonald. "I feel bad for Johnson because I know the feeling when you come off the bench and hit a ball that you think is gone and it gets taken away -- that's a bad feeling. For our side, it was a good feeling and made the day a lot better."
If McDonald didn't make that catch, Mortensen would have been having a worse day than Johnson is now having. With Josh Beckett set to come off the disabled list and start in Seattle on Saturday, the Red Sox must send someone down to Pawtucket. The odd man out very well may be Mortensen, who was acquired from the Rockies for Marco Scutaro in a January trade.
Mortensen was out there trying to prove that he deserves to be on this club. It was important for him to have a 1-2-3 inning and not allow a run. McDonald was happy "to be able to take one away and help the pitcher out. That's better than hitting a home run."
McDonald's defensive gem atoned for an earlier misplay. After moving from center field to right field in the top of the sixth inning, McDonald made an error on a Jose Bautista double, allowing the Jays slugger to advance to third base.
"The best part -- redemption," McDonald said. "The Lord was looking out for me because I really can't jump that high, so somebody was looking out for me. I tell people that's a long run when that ball gets by you, no matter if it's 2 feet or 3 feet, that's a long run chasing that ball, so it was good to come up with a play like that."