Padres use steal of home in ninth to overtake Dodgers

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The Padres came back to beat the Dodgers on a crazy play Saturday, tying the game on a steal of home with two outs in the top of the ninth and scoring the go-ahead run on the same sequence.

The Padres had runners on the corners with no outs before Kenley Jansen got a strikeout and a pop out in a 6-5 game. Will Venable had stolen second in the meantime, putting two men in scoring position for Alexi Amarista. During Amarista’s at-bat, Jansen was kicking at the mound and not really paying attention to the runner, allowing Everth Cabrera to take off from third. Jansen noticed in time to potentially make a play, but the throw sailed over the head of catcher A.J. Ellis, who was also very late to react.

Here’s the link to the video.

The third man caught napping in the sequence was home plate umpire Greg Gibson. He initially called Cabrera out at home, even though Ellis never so much as touched the ball, which was  sitting by the backstop. Gibson changed his call, and Ellis, again apparently still trying to figure out what was going on, finally gathered the ball too late to prevent Venable from scoring the go-ahead run. It didn’t help that Jansen was slow to cover the plate.

In the end, it was simply a colossal failure from the Dodgers’ battery, though ansen deserves most of the blame. Give credit to Cabrera, who was in the game as a pinch-runner. He’s now 16-for-16 stealing bases this year. After Amarista was retired on a groundout, Huston Street went on to pitch a scoreless bottom of the ninth, giving the Padres a 7-6 victory.

Report: Twins sign Erick Aybar to minor-league deal

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The Twins have reportedly signed free agent shortstop Erick Aybar to a minor-league deal, LaVelle E. Neal III of the Star Tribune reported Friday. FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman adds that the deal comes with a potential $1.25 million if Aybar reaches the majors, with additional incentives based on plate appearances. He’ll be able to opt out on March 27. The team has yet to confirm the signing.

Aybar, 34, is now four years removed from his career year in 2014. He’s been in a state of steady decline since then, slashing just .234/.300/.348 with seven home runs and 11 stolen bases over 370 plate appearances for the Padres in 2017. His poor performance wasn’t helped by a fractured left foot, either, which cost him almost six weeks on the disabled list.

Still, the Twins see something promising in the veteran infielder, and reportedly intend to use him as another utility option this spring. Per Neal, Aybar will join fellow backup infielders Eduardo Escobar and Ehire Adrianza and may even (temporarily) take over for Miguel Sano at third base if Sano isn’t able to shape up for the role by Opening Day.