Last week, Reds first baseman Joey Votto was not home plate umpire Bill Welke’s biggest fan. He had asked for time while standing at home plate and was denied by Welke. Votto motioned to the dugout, ostensibly for manager Bryan Price to talk with Welke, but Votto was promptly ejected, which prompted him to slam his helmet down and get in Welke’s face while yelling.
The outburst originally landed Votto a two-game suspension, but he appealed it. The Reds announced that his suspension has been reduced to one game. He’ll serve that one game Friday night in Milwaukee against the Brewers. Adam Duvall is at first base and batting seventh in Votto’s place against Brewers starter Zach Davies.
Votto, 32, is having an outstanding season, batting .313/.460/.551 with 27 home runs, 73 RBI, 91 runs scored, and 11 stolen bases while playing above-average defense. If not for Bryce Harper‘s historically-great year, Votto would merit consideration for the National League Most Valuable Player Award.
ESPN’s Marly Rivera interviewed Mets outfielder Yoenis Cespedes for SportsCenter and Baseball Tonight. In that interview, the soon-to-be free agent told Rivera that he will be searching for a contract of at least six years in length.
It’s not a particularly shocking detail, but it does give the Mets an idea of how big of a contract they’d need to offer to keep Cespedes in Queens. The slugger, since joining the Mets, is batting .295/.345/.661 with 17 home runs and 42 RBI. Overall, including his time with the Tigers, he has an .885 OPS, 35 home runs, and 103 RBI. All are career-highs for the 29-year-old.
Cespedes is just about at the end of a four-year, $36 million deal signed with the Athletics in February 2012 after he defected from Cuba. He will be one of the most sought after outfielders in free agency this off-season along with Justin Upton and Jason Heyward.
The Astros were down to their last out, ready to accept a 3-0 loss to the Angels on Sunday. A loss would’ve resulted in a series sweep in L.A. and would have reduced the Astros’ first-place lead in the AL West to a half-game over the Rangers.
Preston Tucker, though, kept hope alive, belting a solo home run to right field off of closer Huston Street. George Springer then tripled, and Jose Altuve brought him in with a single to make it 3-2. The rally continued. Carlos Correa reached on an infield single, pushing the tying run to second base and putting the go-ahead run on first base. Pinch-hitter Jed Lowrie had bigger things in mind, and he sent a 2-1 change-up down the right field line, just past a leaping Kole Calhoun for a three-run home run to put the Astros up 5-3.
Closer Luke Gregerson came on in the bottom of the ninth and retired the Angels in order to seal the win.
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Red Sox starter Rich Hill dominated the Rays on Sunday afternoon, making his first start since 2009. The well-traveled left-hander tossed seven shutout innings, yielding only one hit and one walk while striking out 10 batters as the Red Sox enjoyed a 2-0 victory.
Hill, 35, spent the 2010-12 seasons with the Red Sox but accrued only 31 2/3 innings due to elbow and forearm injuries. He spent time with the Indians, Angels, and Yankees prior to signing a minor league deal with the Nationals in late February. The Nationals, however, released Hill in June and the Red Sox signed him to a minor league deal in August.
Hill’s game score of 84 ranks as the second-best start of his career. The only better game resulted in a 92 game score, when he threw nine shutout innings on two hits and a walk with 10 strikeouts against the Reds on September 16, 2006. Entering Sunday’s action, only 74 of over 4,200 games started this season (less than two percent) resulted in a game score of 84 or better.