Torii Hunter hits a three-run walkoff homer to steal a win from the A’s

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The A’s had smacked the Tigers around for three days and then sprung out to a 6-1 lead after five innings in their series wrapup against the Tigers today. All this with Miguel Cabrera sidelined after leaving the game with an abdominal injury. Max Scherzer looked destined for only his second loss of the year and the A’s were poised for a series sweep.

But baseball has no clock and the Tigers roared back.

Prince Fielder hit a solo homer and Ramon Santiago singled in Don Kelly in the bottom of the sixth to make it 6-3.  That’s how it’d stay until the ninth inning when the A’s brought in Grant Balfour to close things out. Except he didn’t. He let this happen:

  • An Austin Jackson walk;
  • A couple of outs in the form of Andy Dirks and Alex Avila;
  • A Prince Fielder Walk;
  • A Victor Martinez single which scored Jackson to make it 6-4; and then
  • A three-run, walkoff homer by Torii Hunter.

And the crowd went wild, of course.

At some point the Tigers starters are going to have to return to their usual dominant form, as Scherzer was roughed up today, Fister last night, Verlander on Tuesday and Anibal Sanchez on Monday. But this is a team with an offense that can pick up some bad pitching if it has to. Even if the MVP is on the bench nursing his wounds.

Report: Indians, Padres still talking about starting pitching trade

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The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reports that the Indians and Padres are still discussing a potential trade for a starting pitcher, namely Corey Kluber or Trevor Bauer. Rosenthal adds that a deal isn’t close and is unlikely to occur before Opening Day. The Padres are balking at the Indians’ asking prices for the two starters.

The Padres could certainly use an ace at the top of the rotation. With the addition of Manny Machado, the lineup is looking decent, but beyond Joey Lucchesi, the starting pitching doesn’t inspire confidence.

Kluber, who turns 33 years old next month, has club options for the next two seasons at $13.5 million and $14 million with $1 million buyouts each. Last year, the right-hander finished third in AL Cy Young balloting, finishing 20-7 with a 2.89 ERA and a 222/34 K/BB ratio in 215 innings.

Bauer, 28, is earning $13 million this season and will enter his fourth and final year of arbitration heading into 2020. Last year, Bauer went 12-6 with a 2.21 ERA and a 221/57 K/BB ratio across 175 1/3 innings.

The Indians are the prohibitive favorites in the AL Central once again, but that has as much to do with the mediocrity of the rest of the division as the Indians’ commitment to competing. If the Indians were to trade either or both starters, that would be good news for the Twins, who are projected to be 15 games worse than the Indians but still finish in second place, according to PECOTA from Baseball Prospectus.