Author: Drew Silva

John Gibbons
The Associated Pres

Beer cans fly in Toronto as Rangers score on live ball deflection


We just had an odd and ugly scene in the top of the seventh inning of this decisive ALDS Game 5 at Toronto’s Rogers Centre.

With the game tied at 2-2, Rangers second baseman Rougned Odor hit a leadoff single against Blue Jays reliever Aaron Sanchez and made it to third base after a Chris Gimenez sacrifice and a Delino DeShields groundout. Odor then raced home when a return throw from Blue Jays catcher Russell Martin struck the bat handle of Shin-Soo Choo, who was hitting at the time with two outs on the board.

Home plate umpire Dale Scott waved the play dead before Odor crossed the plate for the go-ahead run — you could hear Scott shouting “no, no, no” on the replay — but the ball remained alive and in play and the umps (correctly) awarded the tally after a short conference.

The rule that covers this would seem to be Rule 3.15, which handles unintentional interference. It states:
In case of unintentional interference with play by any person herein authorized to be on the playing field (except members of the offensive team participating in the game, or a coach in the coach’s box, or an umpire) the ball is alive and in play. If the interference is intentional, the ball shall be dead at the moment of the interference and the umpire shall impose such penalties as in his opinion will nullify the act of interference.

The awarding of that run set Rogers Centre into a frenzy, with half-full beer cans being launched onto the turf from the upper deck. Some of those cans landed on fans in the lower bowl, including some young children.

The umps did a rule check with New York and the run did stand. Blue Jays manager John Gibbons promptly issued an official protest. We’ve got a wild one.

Bud Black the “preferred choice” at manager for some Nationals executives

Bud Black
AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin

There are four managerial openings right now around Major League Baseball, but none is more attractive than Matt Williams’ former gig in Washington. Which is probably why the Nationals’ search has been so wide-reaching and filled with big names.

Cal Ripken Jr. has been mentioned as a possibility, and Dusty Baker and Ron Gardenhire are expected to interview. Phil Nevin, Alex Cora, and Rick Renteria are some of the other candidates.

But it sounds like former Padres skipper Bud Black is the current frontrunner

There’s an emphasis on experience this time around after the Williams decision went so poorly. Williams had not managed a game at any level of professional baseball when he was hired by the Nats in October 2013.

Black managed the Padres for nine years (2007-2015), going 649-713.

Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers top Mets in Game 4 of NLDS to force a Game 5

AP Photo/Kathy Willens

There will be a decisive NLDS Game 5 on Thursday evening in Los Angeles.

Clayton Kershaw yielded just three hits and struck out eight batters over seven innings of one-run ball and Justin Turner hit his fourth double of the series — a two-run poke down the left field line in the top of the third inning — as the Dodgers defeated the Mets 3-1 in Game 4 of the National League Division Series on Tuesday night at Citi Field.

Kershaw’s past postseason demons peaked their head out when Yoenis Cespedes reached on an infield single to lead off the bottom of the seventh, but there was no Matt Adams or Matt Carpenter to make him pay this time around. Kershaw retired the next three batters in order and then gave way to reliever Chris Hatcher for the eighth inning having thrown 94 pitches on short rest.

The only run Kershaw allowed was on a Daniel Murphy solo shot in the fourth inning. The other two hits he surrendered were singles.

Los Angeles’ bullpen answered the call after Kershaw’s departure, with Hatcher and closer Kenley Jansen combining to post two big zeroes on the scoreboard in Queens. Jansen secured the final four outs, earning his fifth career postseason save and second this October.

Jacob deGrom is lined up for the Mets and Zack Greinke will be on the hill for Los Angeles in the loser-goes-home tilt Thursday at Dodger Stadium. This series is shaping up to be a classic.

The winner Thursday will face the Cubs in the National League Championship Series.

Video: Justin Turner gives Dodgers early Game 4 lead with two-run double

AP Photo/Julie Jacobson
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Clayton Kershaw has looked sharp on the mound and at the plate so far in this must-win NLDS Game 4 at New York’s Citi Field.

After no-hitting the Mets in the first two frames, Kershaw smacked a one-out single to left-center field in the top of third inning. Howie Kendrick followed soon after with a two-out single to left and then Adrian Gonzalez blooped a ball to shallow center that drove in Enrique Hernandez, who had reached earlier on a fielder’s choice grounder to second base.

That all set up this Justin Turner two-run double down the left field line that put Los Angeles up 3-0

That’s now four doubles this postseason for Turner, which is a Dodgers franchise record for the Division Series. Los Angeles is trying to force a Game 5.

Video: Hector Rondon closes it out, Cubs advance past Cardinals to NLCS

Hector Rondon
AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh

In the first postseason meeting between the two longtime archrivals, the Chicago Cubs prevailed over the St. Louis Cardinals.

Watch as Cubs closer Hector Rondon whiffs Cardinals outfielder Stephen Piscotty with a nasty 0-2 breaking ball to clinch a Division Series victory and send Wrigley Field into a frenzy (this is actually the first time in franchise history the Cubs have won a playoff series at home) …

Chicago dropped Game 1 but took three straight to finish off St. Louis. Next up is a matchup against either the Dodgers or Mets in the National League Championship Series.