Angel Pagan hits strike four for a three-run game-winning homer

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Angel Pagan came to the plate in the top of the ninth inning with the Giants down 5-3 to the Reds.  Two outs One out. Two strikes on the batter. And then: heroics!  A three run bomb off closer Sean Marshall that ended up winning the game for San Francisco!

Except … check out the pitch right before the home run:

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That third one was the 0-2 pitch. And it was called a ball.  The fourth one — which was the fourth strike Marshall threw — was the homer.

I know a pitcher has to shake off a bad call and make his pitches — and it’s not like the umpire caused Pagan to hit it over the fence — but man, it’s a lot harder of a game when you have to throw four strikes to a hitter and not just three.

Javier Baez, D.J. LeMahieu have disagreement about sign-stealing

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Fellow second basemen Javier Baez of the Cubs and D.J. LeMahieu of the Rockies got into a disagreement in the top of the third inning of Sunday’s game at Coors Field over sign-stealing.

LeMahieu reached on a fielder’s choice ground out, then advanced to second base on Charlie Blackmon‘s single. While Nolan Arenado and Trevor Story were batting, Baez was concerned that LeMahieu was relaying the Cubs’ signs to his teammates. Baez decided to stand in front of LeMahieu to block any information he might have been giving to Arenado and Story. LeMahieu got irritated and the two jawed at each other for a bit. Umpires Vic Carapazza and Greg Gibson had to intervene to tell Baez to knock it off.

There has always been a back-and-forth with alleged sign-stealing. As long as teams aren’t using technology to steal signs, it’s fair game for players to relay information to their teammates about the opposing team’s signs. Last year, MLB determined the Red Sox went against the rules and used technology — an Apple watch in this case — to steal signs from the Yankees. Other teams in the past have been accused of using binoculars from the bullpen to steal signs. In this particular case with Baez and LeMahieu, there was no foul play going on, just Baez trying to make the Rockies cede what he perceived to be their slight competitive advantage.

The Cubs went on to beat the Rockies 9-7 on Sunday.