We have a whole new ballgame at Tropicana Field.
Evan Longoria launched a three-run homer off Clay Buchholz in the bottom of the fifth inning to tie Game 3 at 3-3. He has a habit with this kind of thing in elimination games, now doesn’t he? You can watch video of the homer below.
The big inning was set up after Yunel Escobar reached on an infield single and David DeJesus doubled to the right field gap with one out. Buchholz was able to get Ben Zobrist to pop up for the second out before Longoria delivered with the clutch blast to left field. The Rays had the chance for more after Wil Myers walked and James Loney singled, but Buchholz managed to induce a pop-up from Desmond Jennings to end the threat.
We’re tied at 3-3 as Game 3 moves to the top of the sixth inning. With Buchholz at 97 pitches and Alex Cobb at 94, this game will come down to the bullpens.
Update (8:40 PM ET): Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that Hunter’s contract with the Phillies is for two years.
There’s been a bit of confusion at the Winter Meetings. First, ESPN’s Buster Olney reported that the Phillies were close to signing free agent reliever Addison Reed. That report was then disputed by Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports. Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer then reported that not only do the Phillies not have a deal with Reed, they’re actually moving in on a deal with free agent pitcher Tommy Hunter. Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic backed up Gelb’s report, as did Todd Zolecki of MLB.com.
Hunter, 31, spent the past season with the Rays, posting a 2.61 ERA with a 64/14 K/BB ratio across 58 2/3 innings. The right-hander, a veteran of 10 seasons in the majors, should be a good addition to the Phillies’ bullpen, which also recently added Pat Neshek. Neshek and Hunter will likely work the innings just ahead of closer Hector Neris.
As for Reed, well, who knows.