Jason Motte had never had a two-inning save before the Cardinals asked him to get six outs in a two-run game after Wednesday’s long rain delay. Not only did he do the job, but he made it a breeze, retiring every Giant he faced as St. Louis won 3-1.
In so doing, Motte became just the second different National League reliever to record a two-inning save in the postseason in the last 10 years. Brad Lidge had three of them for the Astros between the 2004 and ’05 NLCSs, all of them against the Cardinals.
Motte was also the first pitcher since Mariano Rivera in the 2005 ALDS to go six up, six down in a postseason save chance. The last NL reliever to do it was Arizona’s Byung-Hyun Kim in the 2001 NLCS against the Braves.
But that’s all gravy. What the Cardinals care about is that Motte needed just 19 pitches to dispose of the Giants in Game 3, meaning he should be fine to go an inning in Game 4 if the need arises.
Yankees first baseman Greg Bird gave his team tons of confidence to hand him the everyday job at first base to start the 2017 regular season, batting .451/.556/1.098 with eight home runs in 51 spring at-bats. But he’s followed that up by hitting .107/.254/.214 through the first month of the regular season.
GM Brian Cashman doesn’t have any intent to demote Bird back to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch reports. Cashman said, “It’s not even an option for me in my mind right now, at all.”
Bird didn’t start Sunday’s game against the Orioles, a 7-4 loss in 11 innings. Lefty Wade Miley started for the Orioles, prompting manager Joe Girardi to put Chris Carter into the lineup at first base. If Bird isn’t able to figure things out, Carter might have an increased role on the team.
Rays starter Chris Archer threw his first pitch to Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista behind the slugger’s back with one out in the first inning of Sunday afternoon’s game in Toronto. Bautista and Archer then had a staredown. Home plate umpire Jim Wolf issued warnings to both teams. Bautista ultimately flied out to right field and he appeared to have a quick word with Archer on his way back to the dugout.
Archer could have been exacting revenge — euphemistically known as “protecting his teammate” — because Jays reliever Joe Biagini hit Rays outfielder Steven Souza in the seventh inning of Saturday’s game. Souza was forced to leave the game and underwent an X-ray, which came back negative. He was held out of Sunday’s lineup. Biagini’s pitch did not appear to be intentional.
The Jays won Sunday’s contest 3-1 with no further incident. The two clubs meet again in Tampa for a three-game series starting on May 5, so we’ll see if Sunday was the last of the bad blood between them.