The A’s had smacked the Tigers around for three days and then sprung out to a 6-1 lead after five innings in their series wrapup against the Tigers today. All this with Miguel Cabrera sidelined after leaving the game with an abdominal injury. Max Scherzer looked destined for only his second loss of the year and the A’s were poised for a series sweep.
But baseball has no clock and the Tigers roared back.
Prince Fielder hit a solo homer and Ramon Santiago singled in Don Kelly in the bottom of the sixth to make it 6-3. That’s how it’d stay until the ninth inning when the A’s brought in Grant Balfour to close things out. Except he didn’t. He let this happen:
- An Austin Jackson walk;
- A couple of outs in the form of Andy Dirks and Alex Avila;
- A Prince Fielder Walk;
- A Victor Martinez single which scored Jackson to make it 6-4; and then
- A three-run, walkoff homer by Torii Hunter.
And the crowd went wild, of course.
At some point the Tigers starters are going to have to return to their usual dominant form, as Scherzer was roughed up today, Fister last night, Verlander on Tuesday and Anibal Sanchez on Monday. But this is a team with an offense that can pick up some bad pitching if it has to. Even if the MVP is on the bench nursing his wounds.
The Mets have begun working outfielder Jay Bruce and second baseman Neil Walker at first base as potential insurance in the event Lucas Duda continues to experience back discomfort, Mike Puma of the New York Post reports. Duda has been sidelined recently due to back spasms and missed all but 47 games last season as a result of a stress fracture in his lower back.
Manager Terry Collins spoke about Bruce’s work at first base on Sunday, saying, “I liked everything I saw today. “It looks like he’s got the athleticism, he’s got the hands, he’s got the arm angle. He made some throws in our drills that you wouldn’t expect an outfielder to be able to make, but yet he does. If that’s where we have to go, I think we’ll be fine.”
Bruce has only three games’ worth of experience at first base at the major league level, but still has high expectations for himself. He said, “I am going to work at it. I want to give myself a chance and the team a chance. I am not going to go over there and be a butcher. It’s just not the way I go about my business on the baseball field and it wouldn’t be fair to the team if I wasn’t capable to do it, so I am going to work at it and we’ll see what happens.”
The Mets made Bruce available via trade over the offseason but didn’t get an offer that whet their appetite. As a result, Michael Conforto appears to be the odd man out in the Mets’ crowded outfield.
Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis has been diagnosed with a strained rotator cuff in his right shoulder, MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian reports. Kipnis has received a cortisone shot and will be shut down from throwing for the next four to five days.
There’s a lot of spring left, so it’s perfectly sensible for the Indians to play it safe with their star player. The club already had Kipnis on a shoulder strengthening program.
Kipnis, 29, helped the Indians to the playoffs after batting .275/.343/.469 with 23 home runs, 92 RBI, 91 runs scored, and 15 stolen bases in 688 plate appearances during the regular season last year. He then helped the Indians reach Game 7 of the World Series against the Cubs, where they were eventually stopped, as he provided a .741 OPS including four homers and eight RBI in 15 playoff games.