Some more to-and-fro in this one.
Derek Lowe got Freddy Sanchez to ground out to begin the top of the seventh inning, but was pulled in favor of Peter Moylan after loading the bases. Juan Uribe followed with a groundball to Alex Gonzalez, who pulled Omar Infante off the second base bag with the throw (though replays were inconclusive), forcing in the tying run. Gonzalez, one of the best defensive shortstops in baseball, has two errors so far tonight.
Braves manager Bobby Cox then brought in left-hander Johnny Venters, who struck out Aaron Rowand for the second out, but allowed a single to Cody Ross to give the Giants a 3-2 lead. It could have been a lot worse for the Braves, as Brian McCann was able to hang on to the relay throw from Matt Diaz to snuff out Pat Burrell at home plate and end the inning.
Frankly, I was a little surprised to see Cody Ross facing Venters in that situation. Ross has earned a reputation as a lefty-killer in his career. Granted, McCann prevented an even bigger inning with a fantastic block of home plate, but Cox may regret using a left-hander there.
It’s currently 3-2 as the game moves to the top of the eighth inning.
Facing an elimination number of one, the Astros staved off elimination in the AL West by beating the Diamondbacks on Friday night by a 6-1 margin. The Rangers suffered a heartbreaking loss to the Angels on Saturday afternoon, which temporarily put the Astros’ fate in their own hands.
Colby Rasmus hit a pair of solo homers and Jose Altuve added a solo shot of his own. Starter Collin McHugh tossed seven innings of one-run ball, limiting the Diamondbacks to six hits and a walk with six strikeouts. Reliever Will Harris allowed a solo home run to Paul Goldschmidt in the eighth, but Luke Gregerson closed out the game with a scoreless ninth.
The Astros trail the Rangers by one game in the AL West and lead the Angels by one game for the second AL Wild Card slot. The Rangers can clinch the AL West on Sunday afternoon with a win or an Astros loss. The Astros can clinch the second AL Wild Card on Sunday afternoon with a win or an Angels loss.
The Yankees lost both ends of Saturday’s doubleheader against the Orioles and lead the Astros by only one game for the first AL Wild Card slot.
If the Astros win and the Rangers lose on Sunday, they will play an AL West tiebreaker in Texas. The winner will win the second AL Wild Card if the Yankees win on Sunday, or the first AL Wild Card if the Yankees lose on Sunday.
If the Astros lose and the Angels win on Sunday, the two teams will be tied for the second AL Wild Card. They would play a tiebreaker in Houston, and the winner would play the Yankees in New York in the Wild Card game.
Giants second baseman Kelby Tomlinson looked more like Ladainian Tomlinson the way he was running during Saturday afternoon’s game against the Rockies. In the first inning with one out against starter Chris Rusin, Tomlinson hit a fly ball into the right-center field gap at AT&T Park, a great place to go if you’re in the mood for an inside-the-park home run.
Neither Carlos Gonzalez nor Chris Dickerson could corral the ball before it rolled all the way to the 421-foot marker at the fence. Tomlinson motored around the bases, but Gonzalez made a strong throw into cut-off man D.J. LeMahieu, and LeMahieu made a great throw in to catcher Tom Murphy, but Tomlinson slid in safely just ahead of the tag.
It was an exciting play and the hit proved important as the Giants eked out a 3-2 win against the Rockies.