Joba Chamberlain

Associated Press

It’s the tenth anniversary of the biggest rout in baseball history

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Ten years ago today the Rangers and the Orioles squared off at Camden Yards. The Orioles built a 3-0 lead after three innings and then all hell broke loose.

The Rangers scored thirty (30!) unanswered runs via a five-spot in the fourth, a nine-spot in the sixth, a ten-spot in the eighth and a six-spot in the ninth. That was . . . a lot of spots.

Two Rangers players — Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Ramon Vazquez — hit two homers and drove in seven runs a piece. The best part: they were the eighth and ninth hitters in the lineup. There was plenty of offense to go around, however as David Murphy went 5-for-7 and scored five times. Travis Metcalf hit a pinch-hit grand slam. Marlon Byrd drove in four. It was a bloodbath, with Texas rattling out 29 hits and walking eight times.

On the Orioles side of things, Daniel Cabrera took the loss, giving up six runs on nine hits in five innings. That’s not a terribly unusual line for a bad day at the office for a pitcher — someone will probably get beat up like that in the next week or so — but the Orioles’ relievers really added to the party. Brian Burres was the first victim, allowing eight runs on eight hits in only two-thirds of an inning. Rob Bell gave up seven in an inning and a third. Paul Shuey wore the rest of it, allowing nine runs on seven hits over the final two.

The best part of the insanely busy box score, however, was not from any of the Orioles pitchers or any of the Rangers hitters. Nope, it was from a Rangers relief pitcher named Wes Littleton. You probably don’t remember him, as he only pitched in 80 games and never appeared in the big leagues after 2008. But on this day — the day of the biggest blowout in baseball history — Wes Littleton notched a save. From Baseball-Reference.com:

Three innings and 43 pitches is a lot of work for a reliever and, per the rules, it’s a save, regardless of the margin when he entered the game. Still, this was not exactly a game that was ever in jeopardy.

When it went down, way back on August 22, 2007, it inspired me to write a post at my old, defunct independent baseball blog, Shysterball, arguing about how to change the save rule. Read it if you want, but know that (1) no one has ever paid attention to such proposals in baseball, even if such proposals are frequently offered; and (2) the hypothetical examples I use to illustrate the point involve an effective Joba Chamberlain and Joe Torre’s said use of him, which tells you just how long ago this really was.

Oh, one final bit: this massacre — the kind of game that the Orioles likely wanted to leave, go back home and go to sleep afterward — was only the first game of a doubleheader. Yep, they had to strap it on and play again, with the game starting at 9PM Eastern time. Baltimore lost that one too, 9-7, concluding what must have been one of the longest days any of the players involved had ever had at the office, both figuratively and literally.

Report: Brewers to sign Joba Chamberlain

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According to FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman, free agent reliever Joba Chamberlain has a deal with the Brewers. No confirmation or terms of the contract have been confirmed by the team yet.

Chamberlain, 31, had a promising resurgence in the Indians’ bullpen during 2016. He shaved his ERA down to a modest 2.25 mark over 20 innings with Cleveland, paired with an 8.1 SO/9 and less-than-stellar 5.0 BB/9 rate. Over a decade in the major leagues, the right-hander holds a career 3.81 ERA, 8.8 SO/9 and 3.7 BB/9 rate.

The veteran righty was released by the Indians in July after refusing re-assignment. He’s expected to compete for a major league role this spring.

Indians win 14th straight, beat Blue Jays 2-1 in 19 innings

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TORONTO — A franchise-best 14th straight win sure didn’t come easy for the Cleveland Indians.

Carlos Santana homered in the 19th inning off infielder Darwin Barney and the Indians beat the Toronto Blue Jays 2-1 on Friday.

“I guess if you’re going to set a record, you might as well do it the hard way,” Indians pitcher Trevor Bauer said.

Cleveland won 13 straight in 1942 and again in 1951.

It’s the longest winning streak since Atlanta won 14 straight in 2013, and the longest by an AL team since Oakland won 20 in a row in 2002.

Santana doubled and scored in the third as the surging Indians survived a marathon game and disappointed a sellout crowd that came for a Canada Day matinee that lasted 6 hours and 13 minutes, featured 19 pitchers and saw 34 left on base.

The 19 innings matched the longest game in Blue Jays history. Toronto played 19 against Detroit in August 2014.

Having used seven of their eight relievers, the Indians turned to Bauer, Saturday’s scheduled starter, in the 15th. Bauer (7-2) worked five innings for the win.

“I thought what Trevor did was above and beyond,” Indians manager Terry Francona said.

Only closer Cody Allen, who was unavailable after working the previous three games, did not pitch for Cleveland.

After seven Blue Jays relievers combined to pitch 10 1-3 scoreless innings, Toronto turned to infielder Ryan Goins in the 18th.

Jose Ramirez and Lonnie Chisenhall began the inning with singles, but Ramirez was caught in a rundown on Michael Martinez‘s fielder’s choice grounder. After intentionally walking Tyler Naquin, Goins got out of the bases-loaded jam by getting Chris Gimenez to ground into a double play.

Barney, who started the game at second base, replaced Goins in the 19th. The infielders became the ninth and 10th position players to pitch for Toronto.

“That’s a weird game,” Francona said. “Shoot, they’re matching up with infielders.”

Santana greeted Barney (0-1) with a drive to right-center, his 17th.

The Blue Jays loaded the bases with two outs in the 14th but Joba Chamberlain got reigning AL MVP Josh Donaldson to ground out.

Donaldson nearly tied it in the 19th but his drive to right was caught on the warning track.

“I thought he hit it out for sure,” Bauer said. “He hit it and I was like `You’ve got to be kidding me.”‘

Toronto’s only run came in the sixth when Justin Smoak snapped an 0-for-18 slump by homering off Cleveland starter Josh Tomlin. It was the eighth of the season for Smoak and the 100th of his career.

The Blue Jays lost major league RBI leader Edwin Encarnacion when he was ejected for arguing after being called out on strikes to end the first inning. Manager John Gibbons was also ejected.

All three Blue Jays batters were called out on strikes in the first, with Encarnacion livid after being rung up on a 3-2 pitch that looked outside.

Encarnacion made contact with home plate umpire Vic Carapazza’s left shoulder after being ejected. Gibbons rushed out to break up the argument and was also tossed.

Catcher Russell Martin was ejected by Carapazza after striking out to end the 13th. A fuming Martin had to be restrained by bench coach DeMarlo Hale and third base coach Luis Rivera as he screamed at Carapazza.

“He just wasn’t very good today,” Martin said of Carapazza. “All the things that everybody in the ballpark were thinking, I didn’t say that. I felt like he really didn’t have to throw me out.”

Cleveland’s Jason Kipnis extended his hitting streak to 13 games with an RBI single off Marcus Stroman in the third.

UNEXPECTED EFFORT

Expected to start Saturday, Bauer he threw what he called a “fairly intense” bullpen and lifted weights Thursday, then lifted again before Friday’s game. “Physically, I’m exhausted,” he said.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Blue Jays: OF Jose Bautista (left big toe) is not expected to return before the All-Star break, Gibbons said. Bautista was injured June 16 at Philadelphia.

UP NEXT

Indians: Cleveland’s starter for Saturday is unknown after Bauer was used in relief. “We’re working through that right now,” Francona said afterward. “We’ve got some things we’ve got to talk through.”

Blue Jays: RHP Marco Estrada (5-3, 2.81) has allowed at least one home run in each of his past five starts.