The Red Sox couldn’t hold the tie game Daniel Nava generously gave them after the sixth inning. In the bottom of the seventh, Will Middlebrooks took over at third base and Xander Bogaerts moved to shortstop in lieu of Stephen Drew. Meanwhile, lefty Craig Breslow toed the rubber to start the inning. Important details.
Matt Carpenter led off with an infield single to Bogaerts. Breslow then threw a fastball just a bit too inside to Carlos Beltran, barely grazing the armor the Cardinals outfielder wears on his elbow, putting runners on first and second with nobody out. Red Sox manager John Farrell brought on right-hander Junichi Tazawa to face Matt Holliday, but it went sour quickly. Holliday ripped a double down the left field line. As Nava retrieved the ball in the corner, Carpenter had already scored easily while Beltran motored around third base, scoring just ahead of the relay throw to put the Cardinals up 4-2. Holliday moved to third base on the play at the plate.
Tazawa was able to strike out Yadier Molina and work around a two-out walk of David Freese as Jon Jay flew out to center to end the inning. The Cardinals are six outs away from taking a 2-1 lead in the World Series.
Yankees first baseman Greg Bird gave his team tons of confidence to hand him the everyday job at first base to start the 2017 regular season, batting .451/.556/1.098 with eight home runs in 51 spring at-bats. But he’s followed that up by hitting .107/.254/.214 through the first month of the regular season.
GM Brian Cashman doesn’t have any intent to demote Bird back to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch reports. Cashman said, “It’s not even an option for me in my mind right now, at all.”
Bird didn’t start Sunday’s game against the Orioles, a 7-4 loss in 11 innings. Lefty Wade Miley started for the Orioles, prompting manager Joe Girardi to put Chris Carter into the lineup at first base. If Bird isn’t able to figure things out, Carter might have an increased role on the team.
Rays starter Chris Archer threw his first pitch to Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista behind the slugger’s back with one out in the first inning of Sunday afternoon’s game in Toronto. Bautista and Archer then had a staredown. Home plate umpire Jim Wolf issued warnings to both teams. Bautista ultimately flied out to right field and he appeared to have a quick word with Archer on his way back to the dugout.
Archer could have been exacting revenge — euphemistically known as “protecting his teammate” — because Jays reliever Joe Biagini hit Rays outfielder Steven Souza in the seventh inning of Saturday’s game. Souza was forced to leave the game and underwent an X-ray, which came back negative. He was held out of Sunday’s lineup. Biagini’s pitch did not appear to be intentional.
The Jays won Sunday’s contest 3-1 with no further incident. The two clubs meet again in Tampa for a three-game series starting on May 5, so we’ll see if Sunday was the last of the bad blood between them.