Yesterday in the Indians-Tigers game Asdrubal Cabrera hit a long foul ball that could have gone out. He watched it as it flew. Which, given that it was either a foul ball or a home run shouldn’t have been too big a deal. I mean, it’s not like it was a moon shot to straightaway center he was admiring. Dude just wasn’t sure where the ball was going.
Rick Porcello, however, took exception and threw one behind Cabrera’s back on the very next pitch. That was stupid and immature. Also stupid: the umps decided to warn the benches right after the pitch.
I thought that if a pitcher throws a clear retaliation pitch — which this was — you eject the pitcher immediately. That’s punishment, see. The only effect the warning had was to give Porcello a freebie purpose pitch while simultaneously preventing the Indians from retaliating. Or, if the umps misconstrued a later inside pitch from them as a purpose pitch, made it harder for them to pitch inside legitimately.
Manny Acta was mad about it, and rightfully so. If a guy throws at someone on purpose, they should be ejected. Why is that so hard?
Just one week after Taylor Cole and Felix Peña tossed a combined no-hitter against Seattle, Mariners right-hander Mike Leake worked on his own perfect game through eight innings against the Angels.
It was an ambitious form of revenge, and one that Leake served up perfectly as he held the Angels scoreless in frame after frame. He sprinkled a handful of strikeouts throughout the first eight innings, catching Matt Thaiss on a called strike three in the third and getting two whiffs — called strikeouts against both Brian Goodwin and Shohei Ohtani — in the fourth.
The Mariners, meanwhile, put up a good fight against the Angels, backing Leake’s attempt with 10 runs — their first double-digit total since a 13-3 rout of the Orioles on June 23. Daniel Vogelbach led things off in the fourth with a three-run homer off of reliever Jaime Barria, then repeated the feat with another three-run shot off Barria in the fifth. Tom Murphy and J.P. Crawford helped pad the lead as well with a two-RBI single and two-RBI double, respectively.
In the ninth, with just three outs remaining, the Angels finally managed to break through. Luis Rengifo worked a 1-1 count against Leake, then returned an 85.3-m.p.h. changeup to right field for a base hit, dismantling the perfecto and the no-hitter in one fell swoop. Leake lost control of the ball following the hit, issuing four straight balls to Kevan Smith in the next at-bat and giving the Angels their first runner in scoring position. Still at a pitch count of just 90, however, he induced the next two outs in quick fashion and polished off the win with a triumphant eight-pitch strikeout against Mike Trout for the first one-hitter (and Maddux) of his career.
Had Leake successfully closed out the perfecto, it would’ve been the first of his decade-long career in the majors and the first the Mariners had seen since Félix Hernández’s perfect game against the Rays in August 2012. For their part, the Angels have yet to be on the losing end of a perfecto. The last time they were shut out in a no-hitter was 1999, at the hands of then-Twins pitcher Eric Milton.