Francona’s fight with an ump halted for “God Bless America”

53 Comments

Fun times in the Indians-Red Sox game on Sunday.

In the seventh inning, Michael Bourn was thrown out stealing to end the top half. He argued with the second base umpire, Tom Hallion. Then Terry Francona came out to argue too. Paul Hoynes describes what happened just as he was getting into it:

Suddenly, Francona stepped back, took his hat off and put his hand over his heart as “God Bless America” was being sung. Quickly, Bourn and Hallion followed his cue, turning toward the flag in center field … Said Francona, “I told Tom Hallion, ‘I came out here to yell at you and now I’ve got to honor America with you.'”

First time “God Bless America” has been useful at a baseball game in about a decade.

Video: Justin Verlander reaches career mark with 270th strikeout

Justin Verlander
Getty Images
Leave a comment

Justin Verlander is approaching the tail end of a fantastic year with the Astros — arguably one of his best in the last decade — and on Saturday, he kicked off his last regular season start at Minute Maid Park with a strikeout, his 270th of the year. While that’s still a few shy of Max Scherzer‘s league-best mark of 290, it was a new personal record for Verlander, who had yet to beat the previous career record he set with 269 strikeouts in 2009.

Verlander’s moment arrived at the top of the first inning on a seven-pitch called strikeout against the Angels’ Kole Calhoun. Cole worked a 2-2 count, then fouled off a pair of 95-MPH fastballs before missing the seventh and final pitch at the top of the strike zone.

Jose Fernandez battled twice as long in the next at-bat, albeit with far more disastrous results. His 14-pitch duel against the Astros’ righty ended when he caught a fastball on his hand and was forced to come out of the game.

After expending a total of 27 pitches in the first inning, however, Verlander returned in the second to strike out the side, then logged another pair of strikeouts in the third. With six strikeouts through three innings, he boosted his season strikeout total to 275 — just a hair above fellow Houston righty Gerrit Cole (and all other AL pitchers), who previously led the team with 272 whiffs on the year.