Blue Jays manager John Gibbons decided to start Juan Francisco at third base in last night’s interleague matchup against the Pirates while moving Brett Lawrie over to second base. It’s not an ideal alignment from a defensive perspective, but he’s trying to keep Francisco’s bat in the lineup with the designated hitter unavailable.
While Gibbons’ reasoning is understandable, Lawrie didn’t sound thrilled about the temporary position switch when talking with John Lott of the National Post:
“I’m a third baseman,” he said. “I’m not a third base/second base type of guy. I’m a third baseman and that’s my position.
“I’m not necessarily going over thinking I’m going to be Chase Utley tonight. I’m going to try to make the routine play and try to roll a double play if we can. It’s for the team and if we can get an extra bat in there and it gives us a chance to win, then that’s what it has to be.”
Of course, Lawrie originally began his pro career as a second baseman in the Brewers minor league system before making the move over to the hot corner. He played six games at second base last season after the Blue Jays were hit hard with injuries.
The Pirates will send left-hander Francisco Liriano to the hill later today, so Francisco should sit while Lawrie will be back at third base. However, we’ll likely see Lawrie at second base again on Sunday with right-hander Edinson Volquez slated to pitch in the series finale.
Athletics southpaw Sean Manaea delivered his first career no-hitter against the Red Sox in a decisive 3-0 victory on Saturday night. Any thought of a perfect game was banished in the first at-bat, when Mookie Betts drew a leadoff six-pitch walk to open the first inning. From there, Manaea was nearly flawless, holding the Sox to four total baserunners and striking out 10 of 30 batters faced — a career record.
Manaea was gifted a three-run lead thanks to RBI doubles from Jed Lowrie and Stephen Piscotty and Marcus Semien‘s solo shot off of Chris Sale in the fifth inning. While the Red Sox managed to draw two walks off of Manaea, they didn’t come anywhere close to plating a run. Andrew Benintendi tried to break up the no-no in the sixth inning with an infield hit down the first base line, but strayed out of bounds and later saw his hit reversed on a call of batter interference.
Entering the ninth inning, the 26-year-old lefty was sitting at just 95 pitches through eight frames of no-hit ball. He quickly deposed Blake Swihart and Mookie Betts with a groundout and fly out, then walked Benintendi on seven pitches. Any threat the Red Sox might have posed was soon eliminated, however, as Hanley Ramirez ground into a force out to complete the no-hitter.
Manaea is the first A’s pitcher to toss a no-no since Dallas Braden’s perfect game against the Rays eight years ago. The last time the Red Sox were on the losing end of a no-hitter was also against an AL West rival, when the Mariners’ Chris Bosio clinched a 2-0 no-no on April 22, 1993. Manaea’s feat is even more outstanding given how dominant the Red Sox have looked this season: prior to Saturday’s defeat, they boasted a 17-2 record and had yet to be shut out during the regular season.