Outfielder Michael Taylor sent his Nationals home happy on Tuesday afternoon in a Grapefruit League game against the Astros. Taylor had replaced Bryce Harper in right field and was 0-for-1 heading into his at-bat in the bottom of the ninth inning, with the score tied 3-3, against lefty Ashur Tolliver.
Taylor swung at Tolliver’s 0-1 offering which happened to be right over the heart of the plate. Taylor absolutely crushed the pitch down the left field line for a walk-off solo home run.
Tuesday marked the opening of The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches, the new spring training home of the Nationals and Astros.
Last season, Taylor’s third in the majors, the 25-year-old posted lackluster stats, batting .231/.278/.376 in 237 plate appearances. The Nationals were reported yesterday to be interested in free agent center fielder Angel Pagan. If the club were to acquire Pagan, that would push Taylor back in to Triple-A to start the 2017 regular season.
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.