Clutching to a 4-3 lead in the top of the eighth inning on Friday night against the Phillies, Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson brought in lefty Oliver Perez as the Phillies were leading off with two lefties of their own in Chase Utley and Ryan Howard. Perez retired Utley on a weak fly ball to shallow left-center. Before Howard could settle into the batter’s box, Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg strode towards home plate umpire Mark Wegner to start a conversation. As Steve Berthiaume noted on the D-Backs’ TV broadcast, the conversation was about the slits in Perez’s undershirt, which may have been a distraction.
The umpires then grouped up and conferred. Wegner approached Perez on the mound and informed him that he would have to change or remove the undershirt before he could continue pitching. Annoyed, Perez stomped off of the field and yanked his button-up uniform over his head before heading into the dugout to meet the dress code.
Perez came back out and threw a warm-up pitch with the fire of a thousand angry gods, it appeared, before resuming play against Howard. If Sandberg’s concern was a tactical ploy, it worked, because Howard singled off of Perez, prompting Gibson to bring in the right-handed Brad Ziegler to face Marlon Byrd. Byrd singled to put runners on first and second, but Ziegler induced both Domonic Brown and Carlos Ruiz into grounding out to end the threat. The D-Backs would go on to win 5-4.
The whole incident involving Perez was fascinating. You can watch it below:
The Marlins were somehow able to muster up the strength not only to play Monday night’s game against the Mets, but also win it convincingly one day after losing Jose Fernandez in a tragic boating accident. The Marlins and Mets helped pay tribute to Fernandez prior to the start of the game as outlined here.
When the game started, the Marlins came out of the gate with a bang. Dee Gordon homered in his first at-bat, then the club hung a four-spot in the second inning. They tacked on two more in the third inning to chase starter Bartolo Colon and take a commanding 7-0 lead. The Mets chipped away for two runs in the fifth on an Asdrubal Cabrera two-run homer and tacked on one more in the eighth, but ultimately fell short by a 7-3 margin.
Gordon finished 4-for-5 with the homer and two RBI. Justin Bour went 3-for-3 with a single, double, triple, and a walk along with an RBI and two runs scored.
A.J. Ramos, who closed out the win, placed the ball on the pitcher’s mound for Fernandez. The Marlins huddled around the mound and said a prayer. The players huddled closer to the rubber on the mound, then left their hats behind as they retreated to the clubhouse as fans at Marlins Park chanted, “Jose, Jose, Jose.”
In a post-game interview, Gordon called his first-inning home run “the best moment of my life,” as NBC 6 Sports reports.
The Indians beat the Tigers 7-4 at Comerica Park on Monday night, clinching the AL Central for their first division title since 2007. Starter Corey Kluber lasted only four innings before exiting with right groin tightness, but the Indians were able to overcome the adversity.
Coco Crisp gave the Indians their first two runs with a two-run home run in the second inning off of starter Buck Farmer. The Tigers would promptly tie the game on a two-run homer by J.D. Martinez in the bottom half of the inning.
In the fifth, an RBI double by Jason Kipnis and a sacrifice fly by Mike Napoli put the Tribe back on top 4-2. The Tigers answered once again with a Miguel Cabrera RBI single in the bottom half to make it 4-3.
Roberto Perez homered for the Indians in the top of the top of the seventh, and Cabrera answered with another RBI single in the bottom half to keep it within one run at 5-4.
The Indians tacked on another insurance run in the eighth on three consecutive two-out singles by Crisp, Rajai Davis, and Perez. Carlos Santana then hit what should have been the final out of the eighth inning, but J.D. Martinez botched the catch, allowing the Indians’ seventh run to score.
Cody Allen shut the Tigers down in the bottom of the ninth, protecting the 7-4 lead for his 30th save of the season.
The last time the Indians won the AL Central, their starting lineup featured a 28-year-old Victor Martinez, a 25-year-old Jhonny Peralta, a 24-year-old Grady Sizemore, and a 26-year-old CC Sabathia. It’s been a long time.
The American League playoff picture still isn’t set yet, so the Indians will be intently watching the final week of the season to see who will be their playoff opponent.