Stuart Fairchild robs Manny Machado of home run

Machado sent a deep shot to right-center field in the first inning of Cincinnati’s 6-2 loss Wednesday afternoon, a shot that seemed destined for the other side of the short wall in this stretch at Petco Park. But Fairchild had other ideas.

The Reds center fielder raced 94 feet, following the ball to the warning track.

“I was already moving in that direction, which helped,” Fairchild said. “When he hit it, I knew he hit it well and hit it high. I timed my return and glanced at the fence to assess where I was and space.”

Fairchild then took a leap of faith.

With his glove cleared over the fence, Fairchild rolled it up and hung on while hitting the wall hard, right next to an ad for the San Diego Zoo.

“That has to be my best catch ever,” Fairchild said. “The one I stole from Adames earlier in the year, it was cool to get my first one in the big leagues. But the situation with two runners and what was taken away would have been a three-run homer , it’s just a bigger moment and a harder game too, I would say.

With a run in Fairchild, Reds starting pitcher Graham Ashcraft was among his teammates who appreciated the great catch.

“That’s two he’s got for me now,” said Ashcraft, who was on the mound to catch Adames. “It’s a big moment. It’s a big dynamic change for us.

It was a somewhat familiar sight for Machado, who was on the wrong end of one of the most iconic steals in baseball history during the World Baseball Classic in 2017… in this very park… in an almost identical location. That homer was stolen by Adam Jones – an Orioles teammate of Machado at the time – and helped propel Team USA to a tournament title.

“I remember seeing that one,” Fairchild said. “He just can’t get help there.”

Sure, the stakes were slightly higher in that one, but the result was the same for Machado: a long walk back to the dugout, in disbelief. He might want to find a new part of Petco Park to pepper with potential home runs.

“It’s not frustrating, man. It’s baseball. It’s fun to watch. It was a heck of a play,” Machado said.

According to Sports Info Solutions, it was the ninth time in Machado’s career that he had a home run robbed. Since SIS began tracking in 2004, only Chris Davis has more, with 10.

“It sucks,” Machado said with a smile. “I guess it’s my fault I robbed so many people at third base.”

After Fairchild robbed his good friend Gavin Sheets on April 17, he joked that Sheets wasn’t very happy and that it was “circulating our group chat.”

Now there is another highlight for the cat. And another dissatisfied customer in Machado.

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