Aided by a blown call that gave Texas a run in the top of the 11th, the Rangers edged the Tigers 3-2 on Sunday to claim the four-game series and maintain the game’s best record at 13-3.
The Rangers loaded the bases with no outs in the 11th versus reliever Thad Weber, who was making his major league debut. Alberto Gonzalez, who was starting in Adrian Beltre’s place, then attempted a suicide squeeze, but the pitch was high and the bunt went straight down and hit him in the knee before bouncing into fair territory. Unfortunately, none of the umpires noticed the body contact, and the suicide proved successful. In fact, the Tigers didn’t even get an out on the play because no one covered first after Weber fielded the ball.
To home plate umpire Tim Welke’s credit, he did meet with the other umpires after Tigers manager Jim Leyland came out to complain. Still, the call stood. Instant replay would have made it obvious that the ball hit his knee and changed directions, but we can’t have that, can we?
Weber got out of the jam from there, but the damage was done, and the Tigers couldn’t score off Joe Nathan in the bottom of the 11th. They lost three out of four to Texas at home to drop to 10-6 on the year.
Oft-injured pitcher Josh Johnson is retiring from baseball, ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick is reporting.
Johnson, 32, hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2013. The right-hander underwent his third Tommy John surgery in September 2015 but wasn’t able to bounce back.
Johnson spent most of his career with the Marlins, but also pitched for the Blue Jays in the big leagues, as well as the Padres in the minors. He retires with a career 3.40 ERA, 915 strikeouts across 998 innings in the majors, and two All-Star nominations. Johnson led the National League with a 2.30 ERA in 2010, finishing fifth in NL Cy Young Award balloting. One wonders what he could have accomplished if he was able to stay healthy.
The Angels are nearing a multi-year deal with free agent third baseman Luis Valbuena, Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register reports. It’s believed to be a two-year contract with a third-year option.
Valbuena, 31, hit .260/.357/.459 with 13 home runs and 40 RBI in 342 plate appearances in 2016. He missed most of the second half with a hamstring injury, for which he underwent surgery in late August.
Valbuena has played a majority of his career at third base, but also has extensive experience at second base and has racked up innings at first base and shortstop as well. He won’t play every day for the Angels, as Yunel Escobar lays claim to third base and C.J. Cron first base, but he will give them flexibility and a left-handed bat off the bench.