TORONTO — Sometimes all it takes is one play to shift and brighten the spotlight on one player and the type of season he is having.

Tuesday night, catcher Sandy Leon made that play, his cue to take a bow for his underrated defense and underappreciated contributions to the Red Sox.

Leon made a play that Manager Alex Cora called “the best play of the season – I mean, that’s the play of the year.”

That’s quite high praise, considering the way Jackie Bradley Jr. has roamed center field this season, tracking down balls before making ridiculous leaping catch after ridiculous leaping catch and earning, deservedly, universal praise for his defense.

What Leon did was both special and specialized.

With the bases loaded and one out in the sixth inning, Toronto’s Luke Maile swung at a Brandon Workman pitch and chopped it down, a swinging bunt that rolled down the third-base line, barely in fair territory. The runner from third, Yangervis Solarte, was on his way home. Leon gave chase, running some 30 feet down the line. Before Solarte passed him and before the ball could roll foul, Leon bent down to snag the ball. Realizing he would not have time to grab the ball with his bare hand and also tag out Solarte, Leon went with the mitt in his left hand.

In one motion while on the run, he pinched the ball in his mitt and raised his arm up in time to slap a tag on Solarte’s chest.

Leon saved a run – the hard way and the smart way.

“If you’re in that situation with the bases loaded and he’s running to the plate and you see that ball wavering by the line, would you catch it or let it go foul?” said Cora. “That was amazing. Honestly I know Jackie will probably get the play of the year with us, but that, for me, was the play of the year. For him to go after it and have the presence of mind to catch the ball and tag him. And Jason (Varitek) was talking about it. He never did it. First of all, it never happens. For him to react that way, that was impressive.”

With Christian Vazquez still on a learning curve as well as the disabled list, Leon’s stock has been on the rise.

Heading into Thursday night, the Red Sox have gone 25-1 in his last 26 starts, winning the last 14 straight. His catcher’s ERA of 2.97 is the best of the 29 catchers who have played at least 50 games this season, and his 3.46 catcher ERA since 2016 is the best in the majors for a catcher with at least 150 starts.

The Red Sox are well aware that Leon’s special.

Bradley, like Mookie Betts and J.D. Martinez with their bats, and Chris Sale with his starts and strikeouts, generate the most buzz.

Inside the clubhouse, the buzz around Leon is just as intense.

“He’s the best in the league and I’m glad that he’s catching for us,” said Cora. “His baseball IQ is way up there.

“Obviously, offensively when he’s out of the zone he struggles. When he’s within the zone, like the last few days, he can contribute. Behind the plate I’ve been very impressed, not only with the way he calls the game but the way he blocks the ball. It seems like he blocks it and the ball is right in his hand. Throwing obviously has been really good. There’s something about him where he’s able to slow down the game. The bigger the moment, I’m not saying the easier it is for him, but he’s able to slow it down and think through the situations, call pitches and do certain things behind the plate.”

Even after the Red Sox rewarded Vazquez with a contract extension this spring, Cora said Leon took it the right way.

“Here’s a guy who is always ready, he’s the first one showing up, working out – everyone talks about his offseason program this year, he lost weight, he’s been healthy, he’s been playing a lot more lately,” said Cora. “I’m not concerned about it. I keep mentioning proud, but that’s a situation probably other guys put their head down and say, ‘Forget it. Whatever. Let me go about business and whenever they want me to catch, I’ll catch.’ But he didn’t do that. He was helping Christian. He’s a quiet leader.”