Daniel Nava, getting a much-anticipated start in left field over Jonny Gomes, delivered a game-tying RBI single in the sixth inning. Some would argue that Cardinals manager Mike Matheny deserves half of Nava’s credit, though.
The inning started off innocently enough as Shane Victorino drew a walk off of Cardinals starter Joe Kelly. Dustin Pedroia hit a sharp line dive down the left field line but it was snagged by David Freese. With David Ortiz coming up and Randy Choate warmed up in the bullpen, Matheny removed Kelly from the game for the lefty-on-lefty match-up. Down in the count 1-2, Ortiz singled to the right of first baseman Matt Adams, sending Victorino to third base.
The switch-hitting Nava was in the on-deck circle but Matheny decided to go to right-hander Seth Maness in the hopes that he could generate an inning-ending double play. On the first pitch Maness threw, an 89 MPH sinker, Nava ripped it into left field for an RBI single, tying the game up at 2-2. Xander Bogaerts gave Maness the ground ball double play he was looking for, just a batter too late, going 4-6-3 to end the inning.
Both teams’ starters are out of the game now, making the rest of the game a battle of the bullpens. Jake Peavy’s night ended with a line that read: 4 IP, 2 ER, 6 H, 1 BB, 4 K. Kelly’s line read: 5.1 IP, 2 ER, 2 H, 3 BB, 6 K.
Oft-injured pitcher Josh Johnson is retiring from baseball, ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick is reporting.
Johnson, 32, hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2013. The right-hander underwent his third Tommy John surgery in September 2015 but wasn’t able to bounce back.
Johnson spent most of his career with the Marlins, but also pitched for the Blue Jays in the big leagues, as well as the Padres in the minors. He retires with a career 3.40 ERA, 915 strikeouts across 998 innings in the majors, and two All-Star nominations. Johnson led the National League with a 2.30 ERA in 2010, finishing fifth in NL Cy Young Award balloting. One wonders what he could have accomplished if he was able to stay healthy.
The Angels are nearing a multi-year deal with free agent third baseman Luis Valbuena, Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register reports. It’s believed to be a two-year contract with a third-year option.
Valbuena, 31, hit .260/.357/.459 with 13 home runs and 40 RBI in 342 plate appearances in 2016. He missed most of the second half with a hamstring injury, for which he underwent surgery in late August.
Valbuena has played a majority of his career at third base, but also has extensive experience at second base and has racked up innings at first base and shortstop as well. He won’t play every day for the Angels, as Yunel Escobar lays claim to third base and C.J. Cron first base, but he will give them flexibility and a left-handed bat off the bench.