Jose Valverde can thank center fielder Austin Jackson for improving to 37-for-37 saving games this season.
Jackson made an amazing throw to cut down Kosuke Fukudome at the plate on a game-ending double play as the Tigers edged the Indians 8-7 on Sunday to complete a three-game sweep in Detroit.
Better late than never, MLB.com has the video here (this entry would have been posted an hour and a half ago if MLB.com were more timely with game-ending highlights).
The Tigers racked up seven runs in the third against Ubaldo Jimenez, with Delmon Young and Victor Martinez homering to knock in five of the runs. Jimenez, who beat the Tigers with eight strong innings on Aug. 10, is now 1-1 with a 7.29 ERA in four starts for Cleveland.
Detroit won despite a poor outing from Rick Porcello, who gave up five runs in 3 2/3 innings. The Tigers needed six relievers to finish off the Indians from there. Valverde, who has been perfect in save situations, got himself into big trouble in the ninth, walking Fukudome and then hitting Jason Donald to start the inning. However, after a sacrifice bunt advanced the runners, pinch-hitter Matt LaPorta came up and hit the fly to center that wasn’t deep enough to score Fukudome.
With the sweep, the Tigers moved 4 1/2 games ahead of the Indians in the AL Central. The good news for Cleveland is that it’s still just three games in the loss column. Still, the Indians really needed to salvage one of these three games.
The Athletics followed Friday’s 3-0 shutout with a rookie-led home run derby on Saturday afternoon, watching not one, not two, but three rookies belt their first major league home runs off of the White Sox’ James Shields.
Right fielder Matt Olson was the first to strike, taking Shields deep on a first-pitch, two-run blast in the first inning for his first home run in 49 major league plate appearances:
Fellow outfielder Jaycob Brugman duplicated his teammate’s results in the second inning with a solo home run, his first extra-base hit of any kind since he made his debut on June 9:
In the third, with a comfortable 4-0 lead backing two scoreless frames from Oakland right-hander Daniel Gossett, Franklin Barreto took his shot at Shields. After getting the call several hours prior to Saturday’s game, he became the fastest of the three rookies to record his first big league homer, going yard on a 2-2 changeup and driving in Bruce Maxwell to give the A’s a six-run advantage.
The Athletics currently lead the White Sox 8-2 in the top of the sixth inning.
The Athletics called up their top prospect on Saturday, inserting shortstop Franklin Barreto into the lineup for their second game against the White Sox. Barreto was originally scheduled to make his major league debut on Sunday, but got a head start after Jed Lowrie sustained a minor knee sprain in Friday’s 3-0 win and was scratched from Saturday’s lineup.
Barreto, 21, has been rapidly climbing the rungs of the A’s minor league system after getting dealt by the Blue Jays in 2014. He got his first taste of Triple-A action late last year, going 6-for-17 with three RBI and getting caught stealing in two attempts. He fared little better this spring, slashing .281/.326/.428 with eight home runs and a .754 OPS through his first 309 PA in Nashville.
While his minor league production has been solid, if underwhelming for a prospect of his caliber, the A’s are expected to give the rookie infielder a long leash with both Marcus Semien and Chad Pinder sitting on the disabled list. Pinder landed on the 10-day DL after suffering a left hamstring strain on Friday. Semien, meanwhile, is still working his way back from the 60-day DL with a right wrist fracture and likely won’t rejoin the team until he completes a rehab assignment with High-A Stockton.