Video: Giants win when batted ball hits Angels’ runner for the final out

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Tim Hudson pitched eight effective innings for the Giants, but his bullpen was in the process of taking him out of the running for the win when Lady Luck helped out on defense.

Hudson started the ninth inning, but issued a lead-off walk to Collin Cowgill, so manager Bruce Bochy took him out and brought in Sergio Romo. Romo allowed a one-out single to Mike Trout to bring the tying run to the plate in the form of Albert Pujols, who had homered earlier in the game. Romo struck him out.

With the left-handed-hitting Kole Calhoun coming to the plate, Bochy brought in southpaw Jeremy Affeldt. Affeldt, however, gave up an RBI single to Calhoun, which brought the Angels closer at 5-3. Closer Santiago Casilla then came in to try to end the threat. David Freese singled to center to bring in another run, making it 5-4. Taylor Featherston came in as a pinch-runner for Freese at first base.

The Angels were, then, down by one run with runners on the corners and two outs in the top of the ninth. Matt Joyce swung at Casilla’s first offering, a 92 MPH fastball. The Giants were shifted to the right side, but none of their three infielders on that side had a chance to make a play on the ball as it hit Featherston. By rule, Featherston was out and the game ended. Second baseman Joe Panik, played in right field, probably could have made a play on it, but there was always the chance he misplayed it in some fashion. It’s certainly one of the more unconventional ways with which to win a ballgame.

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Phillies sign Francisco Liriano and Neil Walker to minor league deals

Francisco Liriano
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Robert Murray and MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand reported earlier, respectively, that the Phillies signed pitcher Francisco Liriano and infielder Neil Walker to minor league contracts. If he makes the major league roster, Liriano will earn a salary of $1.5 million with an additional $1.25 million available through performance incentives. Walker’s contract information is not yet known.

Liriano, 36, struggled from 2016-18 but enjoyed a productive year out of the bullpen for the Pirates this past season. He posted a 3.47 ERA with 63 strikeouts and 35 walks over 70 innings. The lefty was quite effective against same-handed batters, limiting fellow lefties to a .659 OPS. That would figure to be a key component if Liriano makes the Phillies’ Opening Day roster.

Walker, 34, hit .261/.344/.395 with eight home runs and 38 RBI over 381 plate appearances with the Marlins last year. The veteran is versastile, having played first, second, and third base along with both corner outfield spots in recent seasons. Despite Walker’s versatility, it is tough to see room on the Phillies’ roster for him, barring injuries to other players. It never hurts to have depth.