The Tigers designated Don Kelly for assignment in early August. And now he’s a postseason hero.
The 32-year-old utilityman scored a game-tying tally as a pinch-runner in the bottom of the eight inning then hit a walkoff sacrifice fly to deep right-center field in the bottom of the ninth as Detroit topped Oakland 5-4 in Game 2 of the ALDS on Sunday afternoon at a chilly but rowdy Comerica Park.
Tigers starter Doug Fister fanned eight batters over seven strong innings and MVP candidate Miguel Cabrera finished 3-for-5 with two doubles and a run.
Despite being the higher seed, the A’s now head home trailing two games in this five-game division series.
Brett Anderson, who hasn’t pitched since September 19 because of an oblique strain, will try to play the role of savior for Oakland in Game 3. Anibal Sanchez will take the mound looking to wrap it up for the Tigers.
Earlier, Craig wrote about how Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig is back in manager Dave Roberts’ doghouse once again. Puig didn’t slide into second base when he was caught stealing to end Saturday’s game, which irked Roberts.
Puig didn’t earn himself any brownie points on Monday as he was late to a team workout and was benched as a result, MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick reports. Roberts said, “That was a decision he made, not me.” Roberts added that he was disappointed in Puig, though he did note that the former All-Star’s behavior has been improved for most of the season.
Puig, 26, has had a solid season, batting .259/.339/.474 with 26 home runs, 70 RBI, 66 runs scored, and 15 stolen bases in 554 plate appearances. While he hasn’t provided value on the same level as Justin Turner or Corey Seager, he’s been a valuable part of the lineup which makes this drama all the more unfortunate with just a week and a half before the start of the NLDS.
Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that the Pirates were granted an exemption by Major League Baseball and the players’ union which will allow infielder Jung Ho Kang to participate in the Dominican Winter League without being removed from the restricted list.
Kang, 30, has been denied a visa by the Department of State as a result of his third DUI in South Korea last September. Kang was also under investigation in 2015 for alleged sexual assault.
Kang is under contract through the end of 2018 and the Pirates have a club option for the 2019 season as well, so it makes sense they would try to get him into some type of baseball action ahead of next season. The infielder has hit .273/.355/.483 in 837 plate appearances across two seasons in the majors. As Brink notes, Kang has already arrived to the Dominican Republic and will work out with his team, Aguilas Cibaenas, ahead of the start of the season on October 20.