WASHINGTON — In one of the best defensive plays you’ll ever see from a centerfielder, Ben Revere saved runs and facilitated a 1-0 victory for the Washington Nationals against the San Francisco Giants on Sunday.
After the game, accolades ran wild.
“That was a Willie Mays catch right there,” manager Dusty Baker said.
“That catch saved the game for us,” catcher Wilson Ramos said through an interpreter.
“I heard the Redskins were in the audience today scouting,” Revere said jokingly.
But the athleticism and precision shown on that play were no laughing matter. According to Statcast, Ben Revere ran 90 feet with 92.3 percent route efficiency. Translation: he ran an almost perfect route to the baseball, preventing at least two runs from scoring, which would have been the difference in the game.
Take a look at the impressive play:
Part of the play was luck; Brandon Belt, who already has 13 home runs on the season, hit the ball to the very deepest part of Nationals Park. According to Statcast, 42 percent of balls hit at a similar speed and trajectory are home runs.
But this one was destined to be chased down.
“I didn’t even see it,” Roark told the media after the game. “I looked up in the sky and just thought, ‘Oh man.’ Then I just saw Ben [Revere] racing back and he made that over-the-shoulder catch. It was a heck of a play. Unbelievable.”
The play also preserved a unique Major League-leading stat for Roark on the 2016 season:
“He pitched out of trouble all day,” Baker said of Roark. “I think he’s returning to where he was two years ago when he won 15 games. He’s on that same pace now.
“This guy…he’s not amazing us anymore. We’ve come to expect it.”
The hero of the game wasn’t even in dispute for Revere.
“Like I always say, defense wins championships and Tanner [Roark], he pitched one heck of a game,” Revere said. “He’s the player of the game in my book. I was just trying to help him out the best I can.”