Tim Hudson pitched eight effective innings for the Giants, but his bullpen was in the process of taking him out of the running for the win when Lady Luck helped out on defense.
Hudson started the ninth inning, but issued a lead-off walk to Collin Cowgill, so manager Bruce Bochy took him out and brought in Sergio Romo. Romo allowed a one-out single to Mike Trout to bring the tying run to the plate in the form of Albert Pujols, who had homered earlier in the game. Romo struck him out.
With the left-handed-hitting Kole Calhoun coming to the plate, Bochy brought in southpaw Jeremy Affeldt. Affeldt, however, gave up an RBI single to Calhoun, which brought the Angels closer at 5-3. Closer Santiago Casilla then came in to try to end the threat. David Freese singled to center to bring in another run, making it 5-4. Taylor Featherston came in as a pinch-runner for Freese at first base.
The Angels were, then, down by one run with runners on the corners and two outs in the top of the ninth. Matt Joyce swung at Casilla’s first offering, a 92 MPH fastball. The Giants were shifted to the right side, but none of their three infielders on that side had a chance to make a play on the ball as it hit Featherston. By rule, Featherston was out and the game ended. Second baseman Joe Panik, played in right field, probably could have made a play on it, but there was always the chance he misplayed it in some fashion. It’s certainly one of the more unconventional ways with which to win a ballgame.
Albert Pujols left during the sixth inning of last night’s 6-3 win over the Oakland A’s with a leg injury. Turns out it was a tight left hamstring.
Mike Scioscia says it’s not serious, but that Pujols will likely miss at least a couple of games. Figure that C.J. Cron will start at first base and that some more playing time will fall to Collin Cowgill and Grant Green.
Just nagging stuff that happens when you get older. In other news, Pujols, who is already 35, will make $24 million this year and an additional one million a year on top of that every year between now and 2021.
Over the weekend it was reported that the Angels and Josh Hamilton were in talks that would, somehow, resolve his situation. Those talks could include trade talks. Or talks about how and when to let him rejoin the team. Money could’ve been on the table. They could’ve been adversarial or not.
But today the Los Angeles Times is reporting that, whatever else may happen to Hamilton — and the team going after him for money is apparently still on the table — the Angels are trying to put in place a path back to the team for him. Bill Shaikin:
Under the tentative plan, Hamilton would report to the Angels’ Arizona training complex for two to three weeks of work with the team’s extended spring program. He would then proceed to a minor league rehabilitation assignment and could rejoin the Angels thereafter.
“Thereafter” being early June.
This would be a lot more encouraging, I think, if Arte Moreno or someone in charge there would drop the silly farce in which they think they can void Hamilton’s deal because of his drug lapse and if they’d make some sort of gesture which suggests that (a) they care about the guy as a person; and (b) might have a scintilla of regret for the way they’ve trashed him publicly in the past month or two. But as it is, this comeback plan seems just as premised on the fact that C.J. Cron and Collin Cowgill aren’t hitting well, so maybe they should hedge their bets.
Which has sort of been the thread all along here for the Angels, actually. Their anger at Hamilton is due to his specific facts — he makes a lot of money and hasn’t played well — rather than any set of principles or scruples they have as club. Now, his potential return to the team is, it seems, premised on the fact that he may be a less-odious option than Cron or Cowgill, not because allowing him to rejoin the team is the right and proper thing to do.