Jon Jay Does It With Defense

One gradually is being acknowledged as one of the best center field defenders in the game. The other is a good outfielder who gradually has become more than passable at second base.

Together, Jon Jay and Skip Schumaker comprised the defensive backbone of the Cardinals' 8-2 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks at Busch Stadium.

The highlight reels will feature Jay's running catch, after a long chase of Stephen Drew's fifth-inning drive. Jay, reaching high, gloved the ball a step or so in front of the wall and then bounced off it.

The ball popped loose but Jay somehow was able to trap it, keeping the ball from falling to the ground and then, with the help of his bare hand, nudging it back into his glove. The ball tried to escape his clutches one more time before he finally corralled it, getting winning pitcher Joe Kelly out of the inning.

Jay, seeking to reduce the explanation to its basics, said, "The ball went up, I ran after it, I caught it. I don't know.

"I had to jump for it and as I was landing, I kind of saw it coming out and I was able to snatch it back. It all happened so fast I was happy to make the catch."

An appreciative Kelly said, "Anything hit out into center field, I feel like there's a play on it every time. The ball could be crushed, laced, whatever. He can lay out or climb walls to rob homers. He enjoys it. It's good to know that when he's out there you can get away with a miss on a pitch."

Manager Mike Matheny said, "(Jay) is as good as anybody right now. The catch against Drew was a terrific jump. He's got great instincts with the ball off the bat. He's making our whole outfield better."

A couple of innings earlier, Jay felt he should have made another catch on Drew, but the ball hit directly at Jay tipped off his glove after he broke a bit late.

"I messed that one up," said Jay. "It's a ball I thought I should have had. Joe did a good job getting a big double play there and I could breathe a little easier."

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