Austin Jackson’s incredible throw saves game for Tigers

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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.

Mets sign Jose Lobaton to minor league deal

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The Mets signed catcher Jose Lobaton to a minor league contract, the team announced Friday. The deal includes an invitation to spring training, where it’s assumed Lobaton will be in the mix for a backup role behind Travis d'Arnaud and Kevin Plawecki.

Lobaton, 33, is coming off of a four-year stint with the Nationals. He put up his worst career numbers in 2017, producing -0.6 fWAR after slashing just .170/.248/.277 with four home runs in 158 plate appearances. While he’ll give the Mets little to work with at the plate, his near-decade of experience behind the dish should make him a decent emergency option, if nothing else.

In the meantime, the Mets are expected to roll with a d’Arnaud/Plawecki platoon to start the season. Both catchers saw slight upticks in value over the 2017 season: d’Arnaud turned in 0.8 fWAR after hitting a career-high 16 home runs, while Plawecki collected 0.6 fWAR and three homers after raising his batting line over the Mendoza Line for the first time since 2015.