Part of the reason the outfielder doesn't dive is that his speed allows him to run down a lot of fly balls and line drives before they drop to his shoestrings. He doesn't dive unless he has to.
On Thursday, as Anthony Gose's drive to right-center soared toward the gap, Jackson had to. In a tie game in the 10th inning, the game pretty much depended on it.
"I haven't dove too many times," Jackson said. "I probably could count on one hand how many times I've dove. That was one of those situations if it drops, I knew he was going to score. It's better to just go ahead and attempt to make the catch, leaving your feet right there."
Jackson's attempt looked like someone who has done it plenty of times. The catch was a little shaky, the ball bobbling in his glove as he slid along the grass and tried to keep his hand in the air, but it never popped out. Mike McCoy, the potential tying run, had to stay at second base.
"He's made some great ones," manager Jim Leyland said. "To me, that's one of the best he's ever made. I thought he had no chance."
It was the culmination of a mad dash that saw Jackson cross from left-center to right in maybe four seconds. The outfield alignment had shaded Gose for an opposite-field fly ball against Octavio Dotel.
Off the bat, Leyland thought the ball was going to fall in. So did catcher Alex Avila. So, for that matter, did Gose.
"He made a great play," Gose said. "I didn't think he was anywhere near it. He came out of nowhere. He's a great center fielder, plays shallow, takes away those hits. Nothing you can do about it."