Trailing by six runs in ninth, Tigers score six, win in 12

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Trailing 6-0 in the bottom of the ninth, the Tigers rallied for six runs against the White Sox bullpen to send the game into extra innings. They pushed across a bases-loaded run for the walk-off win in the 12th inning, reducing their magic number over the Indians in the AL Central to two.

Tigers starter Rick Porcello was solid through six innings, matching White Sox starter Chris Sale with zero after zero. In the top of the seventh, however, the White Sox pushed across two runs on a Jeff Keppinger double and a Gordon Beckham single. The Sox continued to tack on runs. Paul Konerko put his team up 3-0 in the eighth with an RBI single. In the ninth, Bryan Anderson hit a two-run double to center, and Marcus Semien followed up with an RBI ground-rule double to bring the score to 6-0.

White Sox reliever Nate Jones, who relieved Sale in the bottom of the eighth, took the hill in the bottom of the ninth looking for a quick exit against the division rival Tigers, but the Tiger offense had other ideas. Torii Hunter led off with a triple and promptly scored on Miguel Cabrera’s RBI single to center. Prince Fielder singled to put runners on first and second and no outs for Victor Martinez. Martinez doubled to right, knocking in Cabrera to make it 6-3. With Jones still in the game, Andy Dirks drove a fly ball to right-center for a three-run home run, putting the Tigers within a run at 6-5.

Finally, Jones was replaced with Addison Reed. Unfortunately for the Sox, Reed couldn’t find the strike zone. Omar Infante walked, then advanced to second base on a sacrifice bunt. Reed then walked Alex Avila and Austin Jackson to load the bases. Hunter lifted a sacrifice fly to right field to push across the tying run. Reed then walked Cabrera to re-load the bases before being pulled for lefty Donny Veal. Veal retired Fielder to escape the jam.

In the 12th, walks continued to hurt the White Sox bullpen. Don Kelly, pinch-hitting for Cabrera who left with an injured groin, walked to lead off the inning against Jake Petricka. Fielder grounded out, but moved Kelly to second in the process. Petricka intentionally walked Martinez, then unintentionally walked Dirks. Finally, Infante reached on an infield single to push across Kelly for the walk-off 7-6 victory. Quite an exhilarating final four innings, as you can see in the game graph on FanGraphs.

Yoenis Cespedes blames a lack of golf for his early season slump

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Back during the 2015 playoffs the sorts of New York media types who love to find reasons to criticize players for petty reasons decided to criticize Yoenis Cespedes for playing golf the day of a playoff game. The Mets won the series with the Cubs during which the controversy, such as it was, occurred and it was soon dropped.

It was picked back up again in 2016 when Cespedes, while on the disabled list with a strained quad, was seen playing golf. Despite the fact that everyone involved said that golf did not contribute to his injury and that golf would have no impact on his injured quad, it was deemed “a bad look” by a columnist looking to get some mileage out of bashing Cespedes for having a hobby that probably half of all ballplayers share. They did it when he showed off his fancy cars too, by the way, even though just about every ballplayer has a fancy car or three. When you’re a superstar in New York — especially when you’re one with whom the media is not particularly close for various reasons — you’re going to catch hell for seemingly nothing.

Now there’s a new twist to the Cespedes golf saga. Yoenis himself says that his poor start — he’s hitting .195/.258/.354 and leads the league in strikeouts — is due to . . . not enough golf! From the New York Times:

He gave a possible reason for the poor start this weekend: not playing enough golf, a hobby beloved by many baseball players. And, yes, he is serious.

“In previous seasons, one of the things I did when I wasn’t going well was to play golf,” he said after a game on Friday in which he struck out four times but still drove in the go-ahead run in the 12th inning. “This year, I’m not playing golf.”

The story says Cespedes quit golf last summer because he worried that it was contributing to hamstring problems. He’s thinking about going back to it soon, as he thinks it’ll help his swing. Given that he’ll catch hell either way, he may as well do what he wants.