Rays stave off elimination with late rally

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Things appeared bleak when Ian Kinsler homered in the top of the seventh to give the Rangers a 2-1 lead and knock Matt Garza out of the game, but the Rays came back Saturday night and won Game 3 in Texas on the strength of some timely hitting and a fine performance from their bullpen.
Tampa Bay went on top in the eighth with a rally that started on a one-out double from Dan Johnson. Carlos Pena singled in pinch-runner Desmond Jennings to tie the game off Darren Oliver. The Rangers then went to Darren O’Day, who struck out B.J. Upton for the second out of the inning. Oddly, that was it for O’Day. Even though manager Ron Washington was already deep into his pen, he decided to go to Neftali Feliz in the tie game. Feliz, who was also shaky in Game 1, walked Jason Bartlett and then gave up a go-ahead single to John Jaso before getting out of the inning.
After that, there was more stellar work from the Tampa Bay bullpen and finally some power from the Rays. Joaquin Benoit, pitching against his former club, worked 1 2/3 scoreless innings for the win. Carl Crawford and Carlos Pena homered in the top of the ninth to make it a 6-2 contest and sap the drama from the bottom of the ninth. The Rangers though did get a solo homer for Nelson Cruz before the game ended at 6-3.
The Rangers will again try to finish off the Rays on Sunday, when they’ll throw right-hander Tommy Hunter. The Rays are set to counter with rookie Wade Davis.

Bartolo Colon Watching the Eclipse Is Your Moment of Zen

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A Solar Eclipse

by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

In that great journey of the stars through space
About the mighty, all-directing Sun,
The pallid, faithful Moon, has been the one
Companion of the Earth. Her tender face,
Pale with the swift, keen purpose of that race,
Which at Time’s natal hour was first begun,
Shines ever on her lover as they run
And lights his orbit with her silvery smile.

Sometimes such passionate love doth in her rise,
Down from her beaten path she softly slips,
And with her mantle veils the Sun’s bold eyes,
Then in the gloaming finds her lover’s lips.
While far and near the men our world call wise
See only that the Sun is in eclipse.

The umps have dropped their Ian Kinsler protest

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Over the weekend the World Umpires Association — the umpire’s union —  launched a protest in response to what it feels is Major League Baseball’s failure to adequately address the “escalating attacks” on the men in blue. They were specifically upset that Ian Kinsler didn’t get suspended for his remarks in which he said that Angel Hernandez should get out of the umpiring business because he’s terrible. Apparently to umpires truth is no defense. In any event, they wore white wristbands Saturday night as a sign of solidarity or whatever.

Now that’s over, it seems. At least for the time being. The Association released this statement yesterday afternoon:

“Today, WUA members agreed to the Commissioner’s proposal to meet with the Union’s Governing Board to discuss the concerns on which our white wristband protest is based. We appreciate the Commissioner’s willingness to engage seriously on verbal attacks and other important issues that must be addressed. To demonstrate our good faith, MLB Umpires will remove the protest white wristbands pending the requested meeting.”

As many noted over the weekend — most notably Emma Span of Sports Illustrated — this protest was, at best, tone deaf. While officials are, obviously, due proper respect, a player jawing at an umpire is neither unprecedented nor very serious compared to, well, almost anything that goes on in the game or in society. At a time when people are literally taking to the streets to protest white supremacy, Neo-Nazis and the KKK, asking folks to spare thoughts for some people who sometimes have to take guff over ball and strike calls is not exactly a cause that is going to draw a ton of sympathy. And that’s before you address the fact that the umpires are not innocent when it comes to stoking the animosity between themselves and the players.

I wouldn’t expect to hear too much more out of this other than, perhaps, a relatively non-committal statement from Major League Baseball and a relatively detail-free declaration of victory by the umpires after their meeting.