Outfielder Akil Baddoo bookended the second inning of the Tigers’ game vs. the Mariners on Tuesday night at Comerica Park with a pair of defensive plays, one far better than the other. After seemingly losing a Shed Long Jr. drive in the sun for a leadoff double, Baddoo stranded two runners with a lunging catch in the left-field corner to rob Mitch Haniger of what would likely have been a two-run double.
Baddoo hesitated before retreating on Long’s line drive, hit right as the sun was setting behind the first-base stands. That run eventually scored on a two-out error by second baseman Jonathan Schoop, pulling the Mariners within 3-1, but Baddoo prevented further damage by denying Haniger of a hit.
Baddoo covered 72 feet in 3.8 seconds, reaching a sprint speed of 27.6 feet per second. According to Statcast, the ball had just a 5 percent catch probability.
It was a critical play behind Tigers starter Matthew Boyd on a day when Baddoo got a rare start against a lefty in Mariners starter Marco Gonzales. Baddoo flew out in his first at-bat, but he worked the count full before hitting a fly ball deep enough to center to allow Niko Goodrum to tag up from first. Goodrum stole third before scoring on Derek Hill’s single for Hill’s first Major League RBI.