Brandon Inge has gone from castoff to hero in record time, as a walkoff grand slam gave him his second straight four-RBI game Tuesday in Oakland’s 7-3 win over Toronto.
The slam came off Francisco Cordero, who quickly blew his third save in a row by giving up a double, a sac bunt and an RBI single in what had been a 3-2 game. After that, a steal and two intentional walks set up Inge’s slam. Cordero, who is filling in for the injured Sergio Santos in Toronto, has allowed runs in four straight appearances, taking blown saves in three of them, and his ERA is up to 9.53.
The Inge homer may well have brought an end to Cordero’s tenure as Toronto’s closer. The 36-year-old, who has 329 career saves under his belt, was signed to set up Santos after Cincinnati declined to bring him back. The Jays could go to a combination or Jason Frasor and Darren Oliver in the ninth for the short term.
As for Inge, well, he’s managed a pretty remarkable total of 11 RBI despite having just seven hits this season. His place in Oakland’s lineup seems assured for the foreseeable future.
Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw entered Wednesday night’s start against the Marlins without having issued a walk in his previous three starts. In fact, his last walk came on April 3 when he issued a free pass to Paul Goldschmidt with the bases empty and two outs in the bottom of the first inning. All told, Kershaw was on a streak of 26 walk-less innings before he took the mound at home to take on the Marlins.
Kershaw started off Wednesday in character, striking out the side in the first inning. He issued a walk in a tough second inning, but escaped without allowing a run. Kershaw walked two more in the third and again danced out of danger. In the fourth, Kershaw walked Lewis Brinson to load the bases with no outs and — you guessed it — didn’t end up allowing a run. His errant control finally came back to bite him in the fifth when Kershaw issued back-to-back two-out walks, then served up a three-run home run to Miguel Rojas down the left field line. His night was done when he completed the inning. Five innings, three runs, five hits, six walks, seven strikeouts, 112 pitches.
The six walks Kershaw issued over five innings marked his first six-walk outing since April 7, 2010 when he issued six free passes to the Pirates in 4 2/3 innings. The only other time he walked as many was on August 3, 2009 against the Brewers in a four-plus inning outing. Kershaw hasn’t even walked five batters in an outing recently — the last time was September 23, 2012 against the Reds.