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Thursday, April 4, 2013
Web Gem: Mitch Moreland keeps perfect game going

By Todd Wills

Each Thursday during the season, we'll reveal our Web Gem of the Week for the Texas Rangers:

You can't blame us for having a smaller sampling size to pick our winner -- for a few reasons.

First, there were only three games to choose from, instead of six or seven. Also, there were fewer opportunities for spectacular defensive plays as Rangers pitchers struck out 43 batters in three games against the Houston Astros.

That being said, first baseman Mitch Moreland made a difficult play look easy during the fifth inning of Yu Darvish's perfect game bid on Tuesday.

Astros designated hitter Rick Ankiel pulled a soft line drive to first base. From behind home plate, it looked like a sure hit, but the ball seemed to die and Moreland was able to quickly move to his right and leap to catch it. Watching in slow motion, Moreland did get off the ground and extend for the catch.

"Hey, that was some ups," Moreland said, smiling.

It would have been a play to remember had Darvish finished the perfect game. Maybe not in the same mold as Rusty Greer's diving catch to preserve Kenny Rogers' 1994 perfect game, but a good one.

"I had to move a little bit, but he didn't hit it very well," Moreland said. "I don't know if he either got jammed or hit it off the end of the bat, but I was able to get to it. It just kind of died off the bat."

And into Moreland's glove.