Brian McCann thinks the Omar Infante critics can stuff it

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ANAHEIM, Calif. — I guess I shouldn’t have expected anything less out of Brian McCann. I think most players would stick up for their teammate in this situation, even if that teammate happened to be one of the least-deserving All-Stars in baseball history.

Nonetheless, McCann should get some kudos for a pretty admirable job attempting to lay out the case for Infante’s inclusion in tonight’s game:

“He can’t pitch and he can’t catch, but he can play every position at a high level and we get to see that every night,” McCann said. “His teammates get to see how valuable he is to us. He’s hitting .320 (.332, actually!), he’s gotten big hit after big hit, he plays great defense at every position.

“He will cherish this forever, and he deserves it. People who say someone else should have been on the team don’t know how hard it is to come to the field not knowing where you’re going to hit in the lineup, not knowing if you’re going to play third, center, right, second, short. So he deserves to be here just as much as anybody.”

And Infante said: Well I couldn’t understand much of anything, other than “very happy.”

I guess it’s time for me to take some Spanish lessons, or for someone to rustle up a translator for Omar.

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Sean Manaea pitches the first no-hitter of 2018

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Athletics southpaw Sean Manaea delivered his first career no-hitter against the Red Sox in a decisive 3-0 victory on Saturday night. Any thought of a perfect game was banished in the first at-bat, when Mookie Betts drew a leadoff six-pitch walk to open the first inning. From there, Manaea was nearly flawless, holding the Sox to four total baserunners and striking out 10 of 30 batters faced — a career record.

Manaea was gifted a three-run lead thanks to RBI doubles from Jed Lowrie and Stephen Piscotty and Marcus Semien‘s solo shot off of Chris Sale in the fifth inning. While the Red Sox managed to draw two walks off of Manaea, they didn’t come anywhere close to plating a run. Andrew Benintendi tried to break up the no-no in the sixth inning with an infield hit down the first base line, but strayed out of bounds and later saw his hit reversed on a call of batter interference.

Entering the ninth inning, the 26-year-old lefty was sitting at just 95 pitches through eight frames of no-hit ball. He quickly deposed Blake Swihart and Mookie Betts with a groundout and fly out, then walked Benintendi on seven pitches. Any threat the Red Sox might have posed was soon eliminated, however, as Hanley Ramirez ground into a force out to complete the no-hitter.

Manaea is the first A’s pitcher to toss a no-no since Dallas Braden’s perfect game against the Rays eight years ago. The last time the Red Sox were on the losing end of a no-hitter was also against an AL West rival, when the Mariners’ Chris Bosio clinched a 2-0 no-no on April 22, 1993. Manaea’s feat is even more outstanding given how dominant the Red Sox have looked this season: prior to Saturday’s defeat, they boasted a 17-2 record and had yet to be shut out during the regular season.