Tommy Pham gave him a hug.
Yonny Chirinos tipped his cap, raised both hands and flashed his toothy grin.
And in succession, the crowd oooed, ahhed and then cheered wildly — once after the catch and again after the amazing play flashed on the scoreboard.
Kevin Kiermaier did it again on Monday, chasing down a deep fly, leaping into the air and snaring a drive off the bat of Blue Jays first baseman Rowdy Tellez.
But you had to look at the reaction of everybody else at Tropicana Field to understand the magnitude of the catch.
Kiermaier, who collided with the padded wall, grabbed the fly, fell to the ground and held on, hardly flinched.
But he knew the drive held the potential for greatness the minute it started to sail in his direction.
“When I saw the ball hit off the bat, I just kept going,” Kiermaier said. "As I got closer, as an outfielder, you feel your instincts tell you that wall is creeping up. I timed my jump perfectly, caught the ball at its highest point. I was happy to see the ball go in the glove right there because I was just hoping for the best.
“I knew I had a good bead on it, but you start flying everywhere and body parts are just going everywhere, you just hope to come down with the play since you’re so close to it.”
The defensive jewel preserved a no-hitter for Chirinos and while he only pitched five innings, and it seemed to provide a spark for the Rays, who added three runs in the bottom of the fourth to take a 4-0 lead.
“For a tight ballgame there, it was a huge play," Kiermaier said. “Yonny Chirinos was lights out all day, so I was happy to make a play for him there. That was fun.”
While teammates and fans reacted with amazement, Kiermaier and one other person seemed to take it in stride: manager Kevin Cash.
“Another day at the office,” Cash said when asked to describe the catch. “That’s him. He does it all the time and we see him just cover so much ground out there. You get spoiled because if it stays in the park you think he’s going to catch it.”
Kiermaier described the catch as one of the best of his career, which says a lot. He won a Platinum Glove in 2015 with a passel full of highlight catches like the one he flashed against Toronto on Monday. Entering Monday’s game, he had a MLB-high 112 runs saved despite missing 166 games due to injury over the last three seasons.
While his playing time has been curbed in past years, he entered 2019 with a declaration of feeling healthier than ever. So far, so good. His defense appears to be emerging during this critical stretch for the Rays and after beating out an infield single against the Blue Jays, he’s now hit safely in nine of his last 10 games.
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Kiermaier has gone 11-for-30 with two doubles, three home runs and seven RBI in those 10 games. Not coincidentally, Tampa Bay is 4-1 after five games in a scheduling quirk that will see them play 34 games in 34 days.
Contact Ernest Hooper at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him @hoop4you.