Sure, the Giants’ win over the Reds had an assist from a bad call by an ump, but it still counts as a ninth inning rally. As does the Heath Bell meltdown Aaron described earlier.
But those weren’t the only two. The Rays turned their caps inside out or whatever the hell passes for a rally cap these days and pulled victory from the jaws of defeat in the ninth themselves, beating the Angels 4-3.
The Angels led 3-2 as the bottom of the ninth began. But then B.J. Upton singled and Joe Maddon sent Brandon Allen up to pinch hit for Jose Molina. The result: Ball, ball, strike, strike, BOOM. A 443-foot homer to win the game. Jordan Walden never even recorded an out.
The Angels are now 6-13. They are nine games back of the Rangers, for the largest deficit of any team in baseball.
Jake Arrieta‘s bat is in midseason form already. The Cubs’ ace swatted a solo home run to center field off of Zack Greinke in Thursday afternoon’s Grapefruit League exhibition game, his first homer of the spring.
The blast went 465 feet, according to MLB.com’s Daren Willman.
Arrieta has hit two home runs in each of the past two seasons. Madison Bumgarner (eight) and Noah Syndergaard (four) are the only other pitchers to match or exceed his output in that department.
Greinke, meanwhile, is hoping to bounce back after a miserable 2016 season. He finished with an uncharacteristic 4.37 ERA in 26 starts in his first year with the Diamondbacks.
Angels first baseman Luis Valbuena will miss the next four to six weeks with a strained right hamstring, Pedro Moura of the Los Angeles Times reports.
Valbuena, 31, signed a two-year, $15 million contract with the Angels in January and was on track to get the lion’s share of the playing time at first base. While he’s out, however, C.J. Cron will handle first base on a regular basis. When Valbeuna returns, the two will likely form a platoon.
Last year with the Astros, Valbuena hit a solid .260/.357/.459 with 13 home runs and 40 RBI in 342 plate appearances.