Chris Perez came on to get the save in last night’s Indians-White Sox game. He closed it out with a strikeout of A.J. Pierzynski and by inducing a groundout by Alex Rios. Then, as closers are wont to do, he gesticulated and emoted some, with a few fist pumps and huzzahs. This did not please Rios:
After the borderline strike to Pierzynski went his way, Perez celebrated with a strong fist pump on the mound. When Rios made contact on his game-ending play, Perez once again started yelling, and Rios didn’t understand what he was doing or appreciate the actions. He had more than a few words for Perez as he was running back to the White Sox dugout, but the situation didn’t come close to escalating into something more.
“Well, I don’t know what was wrong with him,” said Rios with a wry smile. “He just started yelling for no reason. I don’t know why he started yelling, and that’s it.”
I’m on Rios’ side here. I mean really, how great a trick is it to retire Alex Rios? Why is that anything worthy of celebrating? Now, if it were Paul Konerko or someone sure, but Rios? Pfft! Child’s play.
No surprise here: The Astros are headed back to the postseason to defend their title following a landslide 11-3 win over the Angels on Friday. This figures to be their third playoff run since 2015, though they have yet to wrap up the AL West with a division title.
First baseman Yuli Gurriel led the charge on Friday, smashing a grand slam in the first inning and tacking on a two-run homer in the second and RBI single in the fifth to help the Astros to a seven-run lead. The Angels eventually returned fire, first with Mike Trout‘s 418-foot homer in the sixth, then with an RBI hit from Francisco Arcia in the seventh, but they couldn’t close the gap in time to overtake the Astros.
On the mound, right-hander Gerrit Cole clinched his 15th win of the year after holding the Angels to seven innings of three-run, 12-strikeout ball. His sixth strikeout of the night — delivered on an 83.1-MPH knuckle curveball to Kaleb Cowart — also marked the 1,000th strikeout of his career to date. He was backed by flawless performances by lefty reliever Tony Sipp and rookie right-hander Dean Deetz, both of whom turned in scoreless innings as the offense barreled toward an 11-3 finish with Jake Marisnick‘s sac bunt and George Springer‘s three-run shot in the eighth.
Despite having qualified for the playoffs, the Astros still carry a magic number of 6 as they look to clinch a third straight division title. They’re currently up against the Athletics, who entered Friday’s contest against the Twins just four games back of first place in the AL West.