7/20/2014 9:26 P.M. ET
Rizzo's awe-inspiring grab backfires on Cubs
All-Star flips into camera well to make catch, but go-ahead run scores
By Carrie Muskat / MLB.com
PHOENIX -- Anthony Rizzo made a tremendous catch of Aaron Hill's popup, but it may have been better for the Cubs if he didn't.
Rizzo's amazing play came in the sixth inning Sunday against the Diamondbacks when he caught a popup in foul territory and fell into the camera well near the Cubs' dugout, landing on the concrete on his backside -- although he wasn't exactly sure how he landed.
"I don't really remember," Rizzo said. "It's one of those things where instincts take over. Thankfully, I'm all right."
Rizzo hit his 23rd home run in the Chicago sixth to take a 1-0 lead. But the Diamondbacks tied the game in their half on back-to-back doubles by Ender Inciarte and David Peralta. One out later, Miguel Montero walked to put runners on the corners and Hill then popped up toward the Cubs' dugout.
Rizzo leaned over the railing and was able to catch the ball before flipping into the camera well.
"It's a popup, and I got there," Rizzo said. "I had to jump a little bit and my momentum carried me into the dugout."
"He was just so focused on the baseball," Cubs manager Rick Renteria said. "You're talking about the potential chance for injury -- it was the freaking greatest effort. He always does that -- those are the type of efforts he always gives you. My heart sank down pretty deep [when he flipped]. He got up right away and he's a big strong man and thankfully we're very fortunate."
Yes and no. Because the ball went into dead ball territory after the catch, the runners were each awarded a base, meaning Peralta scored on the play to give the Diamondbacks a 2-1 lead. According to Rule 7.04 (c), "If a fielder, after having made a legal catch, should fall into a stand or among spectators or into the dugout or any other out-of-play area while in possession of the ball after making a legal catch, or fall while in the dugout after making a legal catch, the ball is dead and each runner shall advance one base, without liability to be put out, from his last legally touched base at the time the fielder fell into, or in, such out of play area."
"First of all, I was glad to see him come up on his own two feet," Cubs starter Jake Arrieta said. "That was a little scary. He put all the effort in the world into that. I don't expect anything less from him. It was unfortunate to have the run, but I commend him for the effort. It was a great play."
The Diamondbacks posted a 3-2 win over the Cubs to complete a sweep of the series. Arizona manager Kirk Gibson said he thought Rizzo expected to stay in-bounds.
"I think he probably thought he could stay in, but once you get over there by the wall, it's probably just instinct tells you to go for the ball," Gibson said. "He lets it drop, maybe [Hill] gets a double and we score another run."
Hill had singled and doubled in his first two at-bats against Arrieta. Rizzo wasn't taking any chances.
"You want to stay in there," Rizzo said. "Aaron Hill had two good at-bats and we want to elimnate the big inning. I don't think there's any Cubs fan who wanted me to miss it, or any Diamondbacks fan who wanted me to catch it there. It's a pretty good play."
He'll eventually watch a replay. Rizzo has made risky catches before, including one at Wrigley Field in May 2013 when he dove between the rolled up tarp and brick wall along the first base line to catch a ball. Was this as good as the tarp dive?
"This was a good one," Rizzo said.
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.