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#pounditSunday, April 21, 2024

Home run robbery by Matt Vierling left announcers surprised

Matt Vierling leaps

It wasn’t quite magic, but Detroit Tigers center fielder Matt Vierling pulled off a hidden ball trick of his own on Friday night.

With the Tigers leading the Seattle Marines 2-0 in the bottom of the first inning, outfielder Julio Rodriguez connected on an 0-1 pitch and sent it deep to center. Pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez immediately hung his head, the fans stood on their feet, and the announcers called what they thought was a home run.

“Juilio Rodriguez pounds one to deep centerfield,” Tigers play-by-play announcer Matt Shepard said. “Vierling chasing. . . He leaps and it is gone!”

But the ball wasn’t gone. Vierling had extended over the yellow line and snagged it before nonchalantly flipping the ball out of his glove after a brief delay.

“No, he caught it! Vierling pulled it down! Even Rodriguez thought it was gone,” Shepard said in surprise. “Vierling fooled just about everybody!”

As he headed back to the dugout, even Julio Rodriguez could do nothing but laugh.

Vierling, meanwhile, turned to Mariners fans in the bleachers and cast them a sly smile.

The 26-year-old Vierling is batting .280/.344/.419 with seven home runs and 24 RBI this season but perhaps more importantly, he’s playing a solid center field for the Tigers.

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