CHICAGO -- Had the situation been different, Don Kelly believes he would have made the catch on Carlos Santana's triple off the right-field fence that fueled Cleveland's ninth-inning comeback Sunday at Progressive Field.
If Jason Kipnis was on first base, rather than second, Kelly would have been playing deeper to try to prevent extra bases, and would have gotten to the fence before Santana's drive did, allowing him to make a jumping catch. With Kipnis on second, he was positioned closer to make a throw home on a single.
Given that extra base, they could not play a "no-doubles" defense.
"We were playing him in a place where you have to be able to throw the guy out from second base," Kelly said, "so we weren't playing him deep at all. I was playing normal or maybe even in a step."
Kelly still made a jump at the fence, while he was flying into it. He got his glove on the ball, but couldn't hold it.
"When I went up and I saw it hit right in the palm, even if I had it for a split second," Kelly said, "the way that I hit, I don't know if I would've been able to hang on anyway. It wasn't in the web."
Kelly said he had a sore neck that felt like whiplash from the collision. He felt worse on the flight to Chicago on Sunday night.
"I had a headache," he said. "I haven't watched the replay. I don't know if I hit my head off of the ground or what, but I had a pretty bad headache last night."
Manager Jim Leyland did see the replay. Despite the situation, he was able to make some humor out of the play.
"He looked like a wounded giraffe," Leyland joked.