And it backfired.
Matt Kemp, the NL player of the month for April, hadn’t been intentionally walked all season before Colorado manager Jim Tracy gave him two free passes today. It was the second of those that was truly surprising, though: Kemp was put on as the tying run with a man on first and two outs in the ninth.
The Rockies were leading 5-3 when Rafael Betancourt walked Kemp, bringing up Dee Gordon. The move was made even though Kemp had just a lone single in 10 career at-bats against Betancourt. Gordon went on to hit a game-tying double, with Kemp scoring all of the way from first. The Rockies should have had a play at the plate on Kemp, but Troy Tulowitzki rushed the relay and threw the ball well up the first base line. A good throw likely would have had Kemp by several feet.
Fortunately the Rockies were able to preserve the tie from there: after an intentional walk to Andre Ethier, Jerry Hairston Jr. made a bid for a three-run homer, only to have the ball go foul. He ended up striking out. The Rockies then picked up their manager, as Jason Giambi hit a three-run homer in the bottom of the ninth to win the game.
Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen gave up three runs in the top of the ninth inning during Sunday’s game against the Braves, blowing his first save since August 26 last season. He had converted 34 consecutive saves.
Jansen yielded back-to-back singles to lead off the ninth inning, staked to a 4-1 lead. After getting two outs, Matt Adams hit a three-run home run down the right field line to knot the game at four apiece.
After Sunday’s lackluster performance, Jansen is now 24-for-25 in save chances this season with a 1.49 ERA and a 62/2 K/BB ratio in 42 1/3 innings.
Orioles closer Zach Britton finished Sunday’s 9-7 victory over the Astros with a scoreless ninth inning, earning his sixth save of the season. He has now earned the save in 55 consecutive opportunities dating back to September 2015, setting a new American League record. Tom Gordon previously held the record with 54 consecutive saves. Eric Gagne holds the major league record at 84.
Britton’s last blown save came on September 20, 2015, then converted two more saves before the end of the regular season. He went 47-for-47 in save chances last season and is six-for-six so far this year.
Along with his six saves, Britton has a 2.65 ERA and a 13/8 K/BB ratio in 17 innings this season. The lefty came off the disabled list earlier this month after missing two months with a strained left forearm.