Sox bats blast Ubaldo, but Papelbon can't close the deal

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If I would have told you yesterday afternoon that the Red Sox would score six runs on ten hits off Ubaldo Jimenez and would still lose the game you probably would have had me committed. That’s what happened, though, because Jonathan Papelbon imploded in stunning fashion.

The Sox were leading 6-5 in the ninth when Ian Stewart led off by smacking the second pitch he saw over the right field wall to tie the game. After a Clint Barmes single and a Ryan Spilborghs sacrifice, Jason Giambi launched one of his own — this one on a splitter that just kind of spun up there — to
give Colorado the walk-off win.

That’s never a good outcome, but it stings all the more given that the Sox had done the seemingly impossible and lit up the previously un-light-uppable Ubabldo. And it wasn’t just the big dogs doing it. The offensive hero of the night for the Red Sox was Daniel Nava, who hit two RBI doubles, the first of which got Boston on the board when they were down 4-0 and the second of which started a four-run sixth inning rally.

But that’s all a footnote to the Papelplosion. It’s only his second blown save this season, but he’s now allowed six homers this year and I imagine that these last two will lead to calls for Daniel Bard to get a shot in the ninth inning.

Rob Manfred says Tampa Bay must pick up pace on new stadium

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred wants Tampa Bay to work a little quicker on getting the Rays a new ballpark.

Rays Principal Owner Stuart Sternberg has been working for nearly a decade to get a new stadium for the club and signed a three-year agreement with the City of St. Petersburg early in 2016 to search for a site in the Tampa Bay area. Manfred wants that search to pick up some steam.

“I think it’s fair to say we want the process to take on a better pace moving forward,” Manfred said Wednesday night at Tropicana Field, home of the Rays since their first season in 1998.

The Rays were averaging 15,815 fans per game before Wednesday night’s contest against the Toronto Blue Jays. That is just over half the major league average of 30,470. Tropicana Field and its location have been almost universally blamed as the reason for the poor attendance.

“I’ve been pretty clear that they need a new facility here, a major league quality facility in an A-plus location,” Manfred said. “It is time to move that decision to the front burner here in Tampa.”

The matter of how a stadium would be financed has been tabled until a site is determined, but Sternberg continued to express confidence in the Tampa Bay market.

“I’ve had the opportunity to bail on it many times over the years,” he said. “I won’t say this is a slam dunk, it’s certainly not. But I think we can do something that’ll at least double our attendance. That’s a lot to ask for.”

Manfred said Major League Baseball “doesn’t have a firm timetable” for what steps to take if the Rays fail to get an agreement to build a new stadium in the Tampa Bay area, but but added that “it is a topic of discussion in the industry, the lack of progress.”

More AP baseball: https://apnews.com/tag/MLBbaseball

Robinson Cano leaves game with hamstring tightness

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Bad news for the Mariners this evening: Robinson Cano left Seattle’s game against the Atlanta Braves with tightness in his left hamstring.

Cano walked off the field after legging out a double — his second of the game — in the third inning. He pulled up as he approached second base and walked off the field, accompanied by a trainer. There was no immediate word on the severity of the injury. The Mariners have a day off Thursday before opening a series at the Yankees on Friday night, so they have some time to evaluate him.

Cano is hitting .277/.377/.460 with 19 homers and 78 RBI on the year.