Through the first 14 innings, the ALCS had been a pitcher-dominated affair. Anibal Sanchez and the Tiger bullpen held the Red Sox hitless through eight and two-thirds innings in Game 1 and Scherzer has held the Sox hitless through five in Game 2. To their credit, the Sox pitching has been nearly as good — that is, until the top of the sixth inning.
With one out, facing starter Clay Buchholz with a narrow 1-0 lead, Tigers third baseman Miguel Cabrera launched a solo home run over the Green Monster in left field for what was, at the time, an insurance run. Prince Fielder and Victor Martinez followed up with back-to-back doubles, the latter scoring the former. Later in the inning, with two outs, Alex Avila laced a 91 MPH Buchholz fastball well over the fence in right field for a two-run homer, putting the Tigers up 5-0.
Omar Infante then lined a single to left-center, ending Buchholz’s night. Red Sox manager John Farrell called on Brandon Workman to see them through the end of the sixth. After walking Don Kelly, Workman got Austin Jackson to ground out to, at long last, end the inning.
Oh, and about that no-hitter Scherzer has going? He has nine strikeouts to go along with it. Red Sox batters have swung and missed at 15 of his 76 pitches thus far. This could get interesting.
When you promote a player from the minors, the first and foremost consideration is whether or not he can help your ball club. But, assuming that’s taken care of, teams should really, really make it a priority to call up dudes with cool sounding names because it makes life more interesting for the rest of us.
The Pirates are doing that. The other night Dovydas Neverauskas made his big league debut. In addition to being the first Lithuanian born-and-raised player in major league history, it’s a solid, solid name. Now the Pirates are making another promotion: Gift Ngoepe.
Yep, Gift Ngoepe. He’s an infielder from South Africa, making the leap to the bigs due to David Freese‘s hamstring injury. Ngoepe, 27, was batting just .241/.308/.379 through 66 plate appearances this season with Triple-A Indianapolis, his ninth in the minors, so he’s not exactly a prospect. But man, that’s a killer name.
It’s also worth mentioning that Gift and Neverauskas were arrested together in a bar fight last August in Toledo, so there is already a good basis for some bonding here.
Good luck, Gift. Gift Ngoepe. Mr. Ngoepe. G-Ngo. Man, I could do this all day.
The Rays beat the Orioles last night, but the play of the game belonged to an Oriole defender.
Evan Longoria was batting and he chopped a ball foul down the third base line. At least it started out foul. As we all know, however, it doesn’t matter where the ball starts, it matters where it is when it crosses the bag.
Manny Machado knows this and didn’t give up on the ball despite it starting several feet in foul territory. He watched it come back, stayed with it and threw out Longoria who, unlike Machado, did give up on it, assuming he’d merely get a strike and another hack. Watch:
Longoria would get Machado back, however, fielding a ball Machado smoked to third base in the ninth inning, recording the second to last out of the game.