CHICAGO -- Indians manager Manny Acta did not want to go as far as saying Michael Brantley's catch in Saturday's game against the White Sox was the best he has seen in person. Acta was, after all, with the Mets for Endy Chavez's acrobatic heroics.
"I don't know, man," Acta said on Sunday morning at U.S. Cellular Field. "I was there when Endy Chavez made that catch. But, [Brantley's catch] was very good. That's as good as it gets. He was on the other side of the fence. He brought it back."
For those needing a refresher, Chavez robbed a would-be home run from then-Cardinals third baseman Scott Rolen in the sixth inning of Game 7 during the 2006 National League Championship Series. Acta was the third base coach for the Mets at the time.
Brantley's display lacked the same type of stage, but it was nonetheless incredible.
With one out and two runners aboard in the first inning of Cleveland's 14-7 loss to Chicago, Alex Rios sent a pitch from Derek Lowe to straightaway center field. Brantley glided back toward the wall, readying himself to time his leap to snare the baseball in mid-flight.
"Off the bat, I was thinking I had to get back to the wall as soon as possible," Brantley said. "When I was getting close, I kind of took a glance at the wall. I wanted to make sure I gave at least the best effort I could. Once I kind of jumped, I knew I had a chance to catch it."
Brantley jumped and extended his right arm over the top of the center-field fence. The baseball dropped into the center fielder's glove and he pulled it back in to rob Rios of a three-run home run. Rios flexed his arms and shouted in frustration as he rounded first base, and Brantley got the ball back to the infield as quickly as possible.
"I was trying to get rid of it, because I knew I had it," Brantley said. "At the same time, I didn't want to smile too big because we were still in the inning. It was a good experience. It was one of the best catches I've ever made.
"Once I went up, I kind of felt my arm over the wall and I felt the ball go into my glove. I knew it didn't come out."
It might not have come during a playoff game, but it was a highlight-reel robbery.
"That was a very nice play," Acta said. "That was a legit, very nice play."