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.

Rob Manfred talks about playing regular season games in Mexico

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The new Collective Bargaining Agreement commits the players and the league to regular season games on foreign soil. Most of the focus of this has been on games in London, for which there has been a lot of activity and discussion.

Yesterday before the Astros-Tigers game in Houston, however, Commissioner Rob Manfred talked about playing games in Mexico. And not as just a one-off, but as a foot-in-the-water towards possible expansion:

Commissioner Rob Manfred said Tuesday that the time had come to play regular-season games in Mexico City as Major League Baseball weighs international expansion.

“We think it’s time to move past exhibition games and play real live ‘they-count’ games in Mexico,” Manfred said. “That is the kind of experiment that puts you in better position to make a judgement as to whether you have a market that could sustain an 81-game season and a Major League team.”

A team in Mexico could make some geographic sense and some marketing sense, though it’s not clear if there is a city that would be appropriate for that right now. Mexico City is huge but it has plenty of its own sports teams and is far away from the parts of the country where baseball is popular (mostly the border states and areas along the Pacific coast). At 7,382 feet, its elevation would make games at Coors Field look like the Deadball Era.

Monterrey has been talked about — games have been played there and it’s certainly closer — but it’s somewhat unknown territory demographically speaking. It’s not as big as Mexico City, obviously. Income stratification is greater there and most of the rest of Mexico than it is in the United States too, making projections of how much discretionary income people may spend on an expensive entertainment product like Major League Baseball uncertain. Especially when they have other sports they’ve been following for decades.

Interesting, though. It’s something Manfred has talked about many times over the years, so unlike so many other things he says he’s “considering” or “hasn’t ruled out,” Major League Baseball in Mexico is something worth keeping our eyes on.

 

Joc Pederson and Yasiel Puig had a brutal collision in right center field

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The score was tied in the top of the 10th inning in last night’s game between the Dodgers and the Cardinals. Yadier Molina was up to bat, facing Kenley Jansen and drove one to deep right center field.

Yasiel Puig was in full run for the ball as center fielder Joc Pederson ranged hard for it himself. Puig caught the ball, but not before slamming into Pederson. Both men went down, but Pederson went down harder, taking an elbow to the face from Puig before crashing head-first into the outfield wall.

Watch:

 

Pederson came out of the game, apparently bleeding from his head. There will be an update on his condition today.

UPDATE: Oops, there was an update last night: