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.
The Rangers got a bit of a breather on Saturday after clinching the division lead during Friday night’s win. Naturally, it was also a prime opportunity for another of Adrian Beltre‘s well-documented antics, as he spent his off day directing the Rangers’ infield defense with a series of signs. Even with Carlos Beltran‘s help, no one, least of all those playing the infield, appeared to have any idea what Beltre’s gestures were intended to convey.
You can add this to the list of in-game oddities Beltre has become so well-known for over the years, running the gamut from the way he kicked a ball over the foul line to his histrionics every time someone comes close to touching his head. If nothing else, it’s a convincing audition reel for the third baseman’s future in major league coaching — a career path that, I’d imagine, would end up looking something like this:
Royals’ right-hander Yordano Ventura was pulled in the fifth inning of Saturday’s matinee against the Tigers with an apparent injury. After throwing four pitches to start the fifth and serving up a Justin Upton double, Ventura was visited on the mound by head trainer Nick Kenney. Per Rustin Dodd of the Kansas City Star, he’s day-to-day with back spasms and lower back tightness.
It’s just another bump in the road for the defending champions, who currently sit 6.5 games back of a postseason spot with seven left to play. Through 176 innings in 2016, Ventura posted a 4.35 ERA and 1.2 fWAR, a considerable downgrade from the 4.08 ERA and 2.7 fWAR he contributed during last season’s championship year despite a moderate bounce-back in the second half.
Prior to his early exit from Saturday’s game, Ventura went four innings for the Royals, giving up three runs on 10 hits and two walks and striking out six of 24 batters faced.