Aided by a blown call that gave Texas a run in the top of the 11th, the Rangers edged the Tigers 3-2 on Sunday to claim the four-game series and maintain the game’s best record at 13-3.
The Rangers loaded the bases with no outs in the 11th versus reliever Thad Weber, who was making his major league debut. Alberto Gonzalez, who was starting in Adrian Beltre’s place, then attempted a suicide squeeze, but the pitch was high and the bunt went straight down and hit him in the knee before bouncing into fair territory. Unfortunately, none of the umpires noticed the body contact, and the suicide proved successful. In fact, the Tigers didn’t even get an out on the play because no one covered first after Weber fielded the ball.
To home plate umpire Tim Welke’s credit, he did meet with the other umpires after Tigers manager Jim Leyland came out to complain. Still, the call stood. Instant replay would have made it obvious that the ball hit his knee and changed directions, but we can’t have that, can we?
Weber got out of the jam from there, but the damage was done, and the Tigers couldn’t score off Joe Nathan in the bottom of the 11th. They lost three out of four to Texas at home to drop to 10-6 on the year.
Dodgers southpaw Clayton Kershaw is nearing his return to the mound, according to club manager Dave Roberts. Both Kershaw (left biceps tendinitis) and fellow lefty Rich Hill (left middle finger blister) are scheduled to toss simulated games on Saturday; depending on the outcome, Roberts says Kershaw could forgo a minor league assignment and slot back into the rotation by Thursday.
Kershaw, 30, was diagnosed with biceps tendinitis as the team closed out their Mexico Series at the start of the month. He has not made a start in several weeks, but was finally able to resume throwing on Sunday and managed to get through two successful bullpen sessions. Though Dodgers’ ace hasn’t been completely injury-free over his 11-year career in the majors, this is the first significant issue he’s had with his pitching arm so far. The team is expected to take every precaution with the lefty, and will likely limit him to just four innings during Saturday’s simulated game.
Prior to his injury, Kershaw was working on another dominant run with the club, sporting a 2.86 ERA, 2.0 BB/9 and 9.8 SO/9 through his first 44 innings of the season. While Kershaw, Hill and left-handed starter Hyun-Jin Ryu served their respective terms on the disabled list this month, the Dodgers utilized a combination of relievers Ross Stripling and Brock Stewart, both of whom impressed during their limited time in the rotation.