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Friday, August 03, 2012

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 8-3-1912

Washington Herald, August 3, 1912:

Herman Schaefer and Nick Altrock may not be allowed to pull off their famous boxing sketch when the team reaches Washington if the well-defined rumor in existence to-day can be authenticated.

To the average fan, it is said, baseball is a serious proposition. The fan goes to the park to see professional players paid princely salaries for their athletic attainments engage in a contest of skill and brawn.

At least they weren’t eating umpires.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: August 03, 2012 at 02:54 AM | 20 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: dugout, germany schaefer, history, nick altrock

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   1. Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: August 03, 2012 at 03:06 AM (#4199499)
Never a good sign when the ace starter on your Birthday Team spent 11 of his 14 MLB seasons as a relief pitcher. At least they've got two star-quality bats. They'll need 'em.

C: Ed McFarland
1B: Sid Bream
2B: Gus Getz
3B: Troy Glaus
SS: Kevin Elster
LF: 1970s Dan Meyer
CF: Roger Repoz
RF: Harry Heilmann

SP: Jim Gott
SP: Mike Jeffcoat
SP: Milo Candini
SP: Blake Stein
SP: Whitey Wilshere
RP: Rod Beck

Manager: Silver Flint
Umpire: Bob Davidson
   2. adenzeno Posted: August 03, 2012 at 07:40 AM (#4199512)
Roger Repoz hit 11 HR in my 44 game 1971 Strat O Matic season!! Give him some respect..
   3. Chris Fluit Posted: August 03, 2012 at 08:26 AM (#4199540)
Ed McFarland didn't have much of a glove but he was a good hitting catcher in the 1890s-1900s. He posted a 143 OPS+ in 1899 (with 2 home runs!) and had a career rate of 103.
   4. Dag Nabbit at Posted: August 03, 2012 at 09:01 AM (#4199560)
Today is the 25th anniversary of one of the most memorable & humorous ejections of the 1980s. Can you guess what it is before clicking on the link?
   5. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: August 03, 2012 at 09:11 AM (#4199565)
George Brett's shameful attempted assault of a league umpire?
   6. JJ1986 Posted: August 03, 2012 at 09:16 AM (#4199574)
I think the pine tar was much earlier.
   7. BochysFingers Posted: August 03, 2012 at 09:41 AM (#4199594)
Pine Tar was 1983, 25 years ago... 8.3.1987... thinking, thinking...
   8. kthejoker Posted: August 03, 2012 at 11:32 AM (#4199714)
Niekro and the emery board? The first time I ever even heard about scuffing the ball, and I was about 5 or 6 ...
   9. Crispix Attacksel Rios Posted: August 03, 2012 at 12:54 PM (#4199783)
Dag nabbit, when you say "before clicking on the link" you should really say "before moving your mouse over the link", because the URL usually gives it away.
   10. Dag Nabbit at Posted: August 03, 2012 at 01:32 PM (#4199826)
The url doesn't appear for me when I move my mouse over the link. I have to click it myself.
   11. this is normal 57i66135. move on, find a new slant Posted: August 03, 2012 at 05:07 PM (#4200058)
joe blanton has been traded to the dodgers.

   12. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: August 03, 2012 at 06:25 PM (#4200156)
Game of the day (yesterday): Probably Royals 7, Indians 6 (11). Why probably? Because if you click on the link, you'll find that B-R's boxcore for the game is freaking out - the PBP and WE graph reflect all 11 innings, but the pitching totals only cover the first 9, and the linescore only lasts 6. So I'm not really all that confident in the actual numbers, but what we do have looks quite likely to put this one at least ahead of the other 8 entrants from yesterday.

Given my lack of surety, a brief summary: The Royals scored 6 in the first against Corey Kluber. Alex Gordon led off with a homer, Lorenzo Cain singled in a run, Eric Hosmer hit a 3-run bomb, and Chris Getz tripled and scored on Jarrod Dyson's hit. Cleveland got one in the second against Bruce Chen on a Michael Brantley double and a pair of flyouts, then three in the third on four consecutive singles, the last of which (by Carlos Santana) drove in two, and a Brantley sac fly. Everett Teaford replaced Chen at that point; according to the B-R PBP, this happened twice, so this recap may be a bit shaky as well. Anyway, Teaford preserved the lead until the fifth, when Santana tagged him for a 2-run homer to tie the game.

Actually... B-R's PBP is kind of useless on this one too. It says that the top of the 8th consisted of Jason Kipnis batting while an unnamed runner was caught stealing... and no other events. So, switching over to ESPN, the bullpens (and Kluber briefly) combined to hold the game scoreless until the eleventh, when Hosmer singled, took second on a bunt and third on a wild pitch, stayed in place on a flyout, an IBB, and advancement on defensive indifference, and finally scored on a hit by Alcides Escobar to win the game.

And here I was just thinking how B-R's early-season issues of occasionally having an incorrect boxscore hadn't reared their heads in a while.
   13. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: August 03, 2012 at 07:52 PM (#4200218)
Game of the day (last year): Cardinals 8, Brewers 7 (11). Milwaukee's Shaun Marcum threw a 1-2-3 first. Jaime Garcia, meanwhile, got into immediate trouble. Corey Hart led off the bottom of the first with ain infield hit, and Jerry Hairston doubled, moving him to third. Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder then both made productive outs, Braun knocking in one run with a groundout, Fielder a second with a sac fly. Matt Holliday got a run back for St. Louis by leading off the second with a homer; Lance Berkman followed with a bunt single (which must have been worth the price of admission on its own) and moved as far as third in the inning, but didn't score. The Brewers recovered that run in the home half of the inning when Josh Wilson singled with one out, advanced on a bunt by Marcum, and scored on a Hart-hit ball.

The third was scoreless for both teams. The fourth and fifth were not. Albert Pujols started the fourth with a single, and Holliday walked. Berkman flied to right, with Pujols taking third, and Holliday moving to second on the throw. Skip Schumaker hit a Fielder's choice on which everyone reached safely. Yadier Molina popped up for the second out, but Daniel Descalso singled to tie the game. That brought Garcia to the plate; one would figure at this point that the Brewers would escape with a tie.

Garcia homered, for what is to this point the only time in his major league career. St. Louis took a 3-run lead.

Garcia and Marcum traded perfect half-innings to set up the bottom of the fifth. Hart grounded up the middle, and Schumaker's errant throw allowed him to reach. Hairston hit into a force. Braun and Fielder both singled, bringing one run home and putting runners at the corners. Casey McGehee struck out, bringing Yuniesky Betancourt to the plate. And in a feat that's only moderately more unusual than Garcia's an inning ago, Betancourt also homered, putting Milwaukee ahead 7-6.

Marcum stayed in for the sixth. He retired the first two Cardinal hitters, then gave up consecutive hits to Molina and Descalso. Garcia was pulled for pinch hitter David Freese; Marcum breathed a sigh of relief and struck Freese out, preserving his chance at a thoroughly undeserved win. Jason Motte threw a perfect bottom of the inning, and Takashi Saito replaced Marcum in the seventh. He immediately allowed consecutive hits to Rafael Furcal and Jon Jay, then hit Pujols with a pitch to load the bases. Holliday hit into a 4-6-3 double play; the rally was defused, but the tying run scored.

Motte hit Braun with a pitch to open the bottom of the seventh. Mark Rzepczynski relieved him and walked Fielder; Lance Lynn then entered and allowed an infield hit to McGehee, and the bases were loaded with nobody out for the second consecutive half inning. Betancourt flied to shallow right, Jonathan Lucroy grounded into a 5-2 force at home, and pinch hitter Mark Kotsay struck out.

The Cardinals didn't load the bases with nobody out in the eighth, as Francisco Rodriguez opened his appearance by fanning Schumaker. However, a double by Molina, a walk to Descalso, and a single by newly inserted center fielder Corey Patterson combined to load the bases with one out. Furcal hit into a force at home, and Ryan Theriot struck out to strand the trio of Redbird runners.

The game didn't keep going like this; that would have been borderline impossible. It did remain lively, however. Fernando Salas worked around Nyjer Morgan's leadoff hit in the eighth. John Axford pitched a scoreless ninth despite Berkman reaching on an error with two away; Salas did the same even though Bentacourt singled and Lucroy walked with two out. Marco Estrada allowed a one-out ground-rule double to Descalso in the tenth before stranding him. Morgan was hit by Kyle McClellan's pitch to start the bottom of the tenth, and moved around to third on a bunt and a groundout before Braun also grounded out to leave him there.

Estrada retired the first two Cards in the eleventh. Holliday then reached on an infield hit and stole second, and Berkman singled to bring him home and put St. Louis ahead. McClellan fanned Fielder, but allowed a single to McGehee; Octavio Dotel then entered to nail down the victory.

The early lead changes are both very large and occurred largely with two outs - and feature a pitcher homer, of course. The late innings don't have so many scoring swings, but they have a substantial number of scoring chances - I mean, the teams loaded the bases with less than 2 outs in three consecutive half innings, all of which started with the game either tied or within a run, and they left 3 runners in scoring position apart from that in the ninth and tenth innings. Put it all together, and you have a 99th percentile game, #15 of 2011 so far.
   14. Der-K: downgraded to lurker Posted: August 03, 2012 at 10:12 PM (#4200318)
In appy action, a previously suspended match concluded with Princeton beating pulaski 12-9. In 23 innings. Now they get to play their regularly scheduled contest...
   15. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: August 04, 2012 at 07:14 PM (#4200630)
Game of the day (yesterday): A's 5, Blue Jays 4 (15). The pitching matchup was a four-year vet against a pitcher making his MLB debut. Of course, when the four-year guy has never posted an ERA+ over 100 and is putting up a 76 this year, the advantage you might expect him to have shrinks dramatically.

Daniel Straily had a mildly adventurous debut inning. Brett Lawrie struck out looking, but Colby Rasmus singled; Edwin Encarnacion popped up, and Kelly Johnson walked to put runners on first and second. Yunel Escobar hit into a force to end the inning. Lawrie was replaced by Omar Vizquel in the bottom of the inning; the ESPN game recap indicates that he felt some tightness in his ribcage, and was not, as I would have guessed, ejected for arguing strike 3. Meanwhile, Brett Cecil allowed a leadoff hit to Coco Crisp, but a double play helped him remain unscathed in the first.

The A's scathed him in the second. Yoenis Cespedes led off with a single, and Chris Carter walked. Brandon Inge then singled to bring Cespedes around. Derek Norris and Adam Rosales combined to produce three outs on two grounders, ending the inning, but Jonny Gomes padded the lead with a solo homer in the third.

Straily's first run allowed in MLB came in the fourth. Johnson led off with a single, and Dan Cooper doubled one out later, moving him to third. Rajai Davis then knocked the run in with a sac fly. Oakland took all of four pitches to restore the margin to two runs, as Carter homered to left leading off the bottom of the inning.

In the fifth, the A's added a rather unusual run. It started pretty tamely, with Jemile Weeks singling and Coco Crisp hitting into a force at second. Gomes then singled as well, moving Crisp to third. Reddick then flied to center. Crisp tagged and scored; Gomes also tried to advance, presumably on the throw home, and was cut down at second (I assume - doesn't have video of the play). Inning-ending double plays are quite common, and run-scoring double plays aren't all that rare either, but you don't see the run-scoring, inning-ending double play too terribly often.

Straily allowed only a 2-out Escobar double in the sixth, and left the game with quite a nice introductory line: 6 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 5 K. The bullpens took over from there. Cespedes led off the bottom of the sixth with a single against Brandon Lyon. He stole second while Carter took strike 3, then was caught stealing third with Inge at the plate; Inge would strike out as well to end the inning. Grant Balfour and Lyon were both perfect in the seventh, and Balfour was again in the next inning. The bottom of the eighth started with Darren Oliver allowing a single to Crisp, who took second on Rasmus's error. He stole third with one out, but Reddick and Michael Taylor (who entered for Cespedes at this point) both made outs that failed to bring him in. Still, Ryan Cook was coming on for the ninth, so how important could that run possibly be?

Cook needed only eight pitches to strike out the first two Toronto hitters. Cooper followed with a single, and was pulled for pinch runner Moises Sierra. Davis singled as well, bringing the tying run to the plate in the person of Jeff Mathis. Mathis worked a full count, then hammered a fly ball that just cleared the left-center field wall.

Side note: For all the (well-deserved) comments that have been made about Mathis over the years, he's not having a half-bad season as a backup catcher for the Jays - this homer was his 6th in 119 PA; he's not getting on base at all, but he's slugging .477 (in fact, he's averaging exactly 2 total bases per hit, 52-26). He's got an OPS+ of 97, so apparently if you acquire an Angels catcher, he automatically improves by just less than 60 points of OPS+. Admittedly, the results are slightly more impressive when applied to Mike Napoli, but still.

Anyway... Casey Janssen worked a 1-2-3 ninth. In the tenth, Jerry Blevins hit Rasmus and walked Encarnacion with one out. Pat Neshek replaced him with two away and stranded both runners. The bottom of the inning brought relatively new Jay Brad Lincoln to the mound. With one away, he allowed Weeks an infield hit, walked Crisp, threw a wild pitch to move the runners to second and third, then walked Gomes and filled the bases. (This also put Gomes next to Gomes, as Cooper's removal for a pinch runner resulted in Toronto's insertion of Yan Gomes to play first.) Lincoln rallied to strike out Reddick, and Brandon Moss (hitting for Taylor) hit a relatively routine grounder to short that still resulted in a fairly impressive scoop by Gomes (Yan) at first.

Neshek and Lincoln both vanquished the opposing hitters in order in the eleventh. Sean Doolittle came on for the top of the twelfth. He allowed a one-out single to Vizquel, followed by a Rasmus double into the left field corner. A younger Vizquel probably scores on this play; at his current age, he was thrown out by a couple of steps, and Doolittle escaped.

Rasmus was pulled with an injury after this inning, which resulted in wholesale defensive changes for the Jays: Anthony Gose moved from right to center, Davis from left to right, Gomes (Yan) from first to left, and Encarnacion took over first, which of course means that the Jays lost the DH. Lincoln quickly retired the side on three grounders to second. In the thirteenth, Travis Blackley allowed a leadoff hit to Escobar, but worked around it. The bottom of the inning saw Lincoln strike out Gomes (Jonny), then come out for Aaron Loup. Loup allowed a single and steal to Reddick, but struck out the other two A's he faced. Blackley and Loup were both immaculate in the fourteenth.

Blackley got to face Loup to start the fifteenth, which was helpful; it meant that Encarnacion's walk and steal of second came with one out. Johnson struck out, Escobar was intentionally walked, and Gomes (Yan)grounded into the left-side hole; shortstop Aaron Sogard made a diving stop and threw to third just in time to end the inning on a forceout. Weeks led off the bottom of the inning with a scalding liner into the right field corner, racing around the bases for a triple, and scored on Crisp's subsequent sac fly.

Kinda unusual for an excellent MLB debut from a starting pitcher to get overshadowed to this extent. But then, it's fairly unusual for the game to keep going for 9 more innings after the pitcher making his debut leaves, too.

The easy headline here is Oakland's 13th walkoff win of the year. You'd figure that would put them pretty high on the list of the most exciting teams so far, but it doesn't, especially; they're #20. They do, however, have one of the larger differences between their home and road excitement figures; they're 6th at home and 26th on the road. That puts them at #3 in that measure, trailing only KC (#1 at home, #24 on the road) and the Indians (#9, #29). The opposite list is topped by the Angels (#14 away, last by a healthy margin at home), followed naturally by Oakland's opponent in this one (the Jays are #6 on the road, #28 at home).

Right in the middle? The overall #1 Brewers. First on the road, third at home (with a slightly higher score at home, just not higher than KC or the Nats). That's consistency.
   16. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: August 04, 2012 at 07:42 PM (#4200640)
Game of the day (last year): Red Sox 4, Indians 3. Boston's Tim Wakefield threw a perfect first on 9 pitches. Cleveland starter Carlos Carrasco made it two thirds of the way there on seven pitches, but then gave up a hit to Adrian Gonzalez, a double to Kevin Youkilis, and a shift-beating 2-run single by David Ortiz to give the Sox the early advantage. Wakefield was spotless again in the second, and allowed only Lou Marson's ROE in the third. The fourth, however, brought his no-hitter to an immediate close, when Jason Kipnis led off with his fourth homer of the season (and his fourth in the last four games). Asdrubal Cabrera followed that with a single, and Travis Hafner added a double that tied the game; Hafner moved to third on a passed ball, but was left there by three quick outs.

The tie was quite brief, as the Sox scored in the bottom of the inning. Ortiz drew a walk to lead off, and Carl Crawford followed with a double. Jarrod Saltalamacchia struck out swinging, and Carrasco intentionally walked Josh Reddick in order to load the bases for Marco Scutaro. Scutaro grounded to short; Cleveland recorded the force at second, but the Sox shortstop beat the throw to first, allowing Ortiz to score the go-ahead run.

The fifth saw Marson reach without a hit, walk, or HBP for the second time in the game; he struck out, but took first on a passed ball. Kipnis would later walk, but Cabrera flied out with two away to leave both runners on. Carrasco gave up consecutive hits to start the bottom of the inning, but Youkilis hit into a double play, and Ortiz grounded out to leave Dustin Pedroia on third. Both pitchers allowed one baserunner in the sixth; that wasn't true in the seventh, which Wakefield started by yielding a double to Lonnie Chisenhall. The next two Indians made outs, with Chisenhall taking third on a passed ball during the second at bat; Ezequiel Carrera made that advancement irrelevant by one-hopping a line drive into the right-field seats for a game-tying rulebook double that drove Wakefield from the mound in favor of Randy Williams. Williams went on to strand Wakefield's runner along with one of his own, preserving the tie; Carrasco did the same in the bottom of the inning, setting the Sox down 1-2-3.

Williams was perfect in the eighth. Carrasco walked Youkilis to start the home half, and was removed for Tony Sipp, who allowed pinch runner Mike Aviles to steal second but left him there. Jonathan Papelbon came on for a perfect ninth, and Joe Smith made it two thirds of the way to the same feat. The third hitter he faced was Jacoby Ellsbury, who punished the second pitch he saw, driving it over the wall in straightaway center for a walkoff homer.

Remember when nobody could beat the Red Sox? This was during that period - they were 68-41 after this game, best record in the AL.
   17. Crispix Attacksel Rios Posted: August 04, 2012 at 08:25 PM (#4200650)
Today's Oakland-Toronto game was quite the showcase for new talent.

9 Rookies (David Cooper, Yan Gomes, Moises Sierra, Anthony Gose, Adeiny Hechavarria, Michael Taylor, Chris Carter, Derek Norris, A.J. Griffin)

6 players who were playing for their respective teams 1 year ago (Yunel Escobar, Edwin Encarnacion, Rajai Davis, Ricky Romero, Jemile Weeks, Adam Rosales)

(I'm pretty sure Chris Carter is a rookie, though this is his third season with major-league time)
   18. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: August 05, 2012 at 12:18 PM (#4200873)
Game of the day (yesterday): Blue Jays 3, A's 1 (11). The AJ Griffin-Ricky Romero pitching matchup appeared to be off to an excellent start, as they allowed only a single between them in the first. Griffin also recorded the first two outs in the second, but then was pulled with tightness in his pitching shoulder (per ESPN). Oakland replaced him with Jordan Norberto, who finished off the scoreless inning.

In the bottom of the second, Romero walked leadoff man Chris Carter. Jonny Gomes lined out, and Brandon Inge hit into a force at second, then took second himself on a wild pitch. Derek Norris followed that with a double that gave the A's an early lead. Norberto was perfect in the third, but the Jays threatened in the fourth. Edwin Encarnacion led off with a hit, then took second on a groundout and third on a single by Rajai Davis. Davis then stole second to put the go-ahead run in scoring position, but Yan Gomes flied out and Moises Sierra grounded to third to strand both runners. Norberto recovered to throw a 1-2-3 fifth.

Romero, meanwhile, had worked easy innings in the third and fourth. He also recorded two quick outs in the fifth. George Kottaras followed with a single, and Adam Rosales and Jemile Weeks both drew walks to load the bases. Michael Taylor struck out swinging to leave all three runners on.

Norberto was pulled after striking out the first batter of the sixth. Pat Neshek replaced him and worked through the seventh with a minimum of drama, issuing only one walk. Romero was also spotless in the sixth, and his seventh inning was more eventful only in that his walk was followed by a wild pitch before the runner was abandoned at second. Grant Balfour was perfect in the eighth for the A's, and Steve Delabar matched him for Toronto.

The ninth inning brought All-Star Ryan Cook in to close the game. He retired Encarnacion on one pitch, but Dan Cooper followed that by taking a 1-1 fastball over the 388 sign in right-center for a game-tying homer. Cook recovered to preserve the newly-forged tie, but this still marks the second straight game in which he's blown a save by giving up a home run to a pretty anonymous Blue Jay. Hey, at least his presence enabled the AL to leave Josh Reddick off of the All-Star roster...

Delabar walked Carter to start the ninth, but retired Jonny Gomes on a flyout, and Casey Janssen came on and induced Inge to hit into a double play that sent the game into extras. In the tenth, Sierra led off with a single, moved to second on a bunt, and saw Jerry Blevins walk Adeiny Hechevarria behind him before striking out Toronto's Yunel Escobar-Kelly Johnson DP combo to leave both runners on. Oakland threatened as well, as Jesse Chavez walked Kottaras with one out, then gave up a hit to Weeks and walked Coco Crisp with two away before fanning Reddick on three pitches to leave the bases loaded.

Encarnacion led off the eleventh with a single. After Cooper lined out, Encarnacion stole second, and Davis drew a walk behind him. That brought Jeff Mathis to the plate, and Mathis provided the Jays with what may end up being the most productive strikeout of the year: On the last pitch, the runners took off, and Kottaras's throw to third escaped into left, allowing Encarnacion to trot home with the go-ahead run. Davis would score from third on Sierra's subsequent double, and Darren Oliver nailed down the victory with a 1-2-3 outing in the bottom of the inning.

It was really close between this game and the 6-4 Twins win over the Red Sox. But this one had a slight edge, and even if there had been a tie, it would go to the game in which the winning run scored on a K/SB.
   19. Der-K: downgraded to lurker Posted: August 05, 2012 at 02:52 PM (#4200959)
danny valencia dealt to bos for jeremias pineda (speedy cf in the gcl, hitting for average this year but a raw bat and old for league; np)

ben zobrist might be on the move as well... taken out of the game and getting hugged by teammates.
   20. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: August 05, 2012 at 03:57 PM (#4201000)
Game of the day (last year): Rays 7, Blue Jays 6 (12). There are some games that make me wonder whether it's a good idea to list the final score at the beginning. This is definitely one of them.

Toronto struck early against Wade Davis. Yunel Escobar walked to lead off the top of the first. Colby Rasmus hit a ground-rule double, moving Escobar to third, and Jose Bautista walked to load the bases with nobody out. Adam Lind then singled in a run; Edwin Encarnacion brought in another, but it was at the cost of a double play. Still, a two-run first is hardly a bad start.

Davis and Brett Cecil then traded zeroes for several innings. Through three, Cecil had allowed two walks and hit a batter, but the first Tampa hit didn't come until Casey Kotchman singled in the fourth. The Jays stranded a pair of runners in the top of the fifth, and Cecil also allowed two Rays to reach in the same inning as Justin Ruggiano and Desmond Jennings singled. The Rays, however, did not strand their runners; with two outs, Evan Longoria hit the first pitch of his at bat well over the left field wall for a go-ahead 3-run homer.

Given his first lead of the day, Davis preserved it for a while, working around a hit in the sixth and a hit batter in the seventh. Cecil, meanwhile, was pulled after six for Casey Janssen, who worked a perfect seventh. Davis quickly recorded the first two outs in the Toronto eighth, bringing Bautista to the plate. Being Jose Bautista, he crushed an 0-1 breaking ball over the fence to tie the game and chase Davis.

Janssen was perfect again in the eighth, and Kyle Farnsworth matched him in the ninth. Toronto put in Frank Francisco for the bottom of the inning; he gave up a two-out single and steal to Sam Fuld, but nothing else, and the game went to extras tied at 3.

This is why I wonder if it's a good idea to announce the final score beforehand. You already know there are many more runs coming. If you were watching the game as it played out, you wouldn't.

Joel Peralta started the top of the tenth by retiring Travis Snider. He walked JP Arencibia, who was pulled for pinch runner Rajai Davis; Peralta then picked the runner off of first. Escobar drew a walk after that, and Peralta was replaced by Jake McGee; McGee's fourth pitch was tagged off of the left field fence by Rasmus for a go-ahead RBI double. McGee ended the inning without further scoring, and that proved quite important when Desmond Jennings led off the bottom of the inning with a home run, re-tying the game at 4. Jon Rauch came back to retire the next three Tampa hitters, and the game extended into the eleventh.

Juan Cruz emerged from the Ray bullpen for the next inning. He gave up singles to Encarnacion and Aaron Hill, but retired two other Jays to put runners on the corners with two outs. Earlier in the game, Arencibia would have been up next; since he'd been removed for a pinch runner, Jose Molina was now catching in his place. Naturally, Molina hammered the ball to deep center. It bounded off of an angled section of the wall and escaped from BJ Upton, allowing Molina to rumble all the way to third with a two-run triple, his third career three-base hit and his first since 2004.

Likely hoping to make up for his slight misplay in the outfield, Upton started the home eleventh with a double against Rauch. Kotchman then singled him to third, and Matt Joyce brought him home with a groundout. Rauch was replaced by Shawn Camp, who quickly retired Elliot Johnson for the second out. Inspired by seeing Toronto's backup catcher have a huge hit in the top of the inning, the Rays pinch hit for starter Kelly Shoppach with Robinson Chirinos, who grounded a single up the middle to bring Kotchman home from second and even the score. Jennings doubled, moving the winning run to third, but after an intentional walk to Johnny Damon (really?), Longoria grounded out to leave the bases loaded.

Brandon Gomes worked around a two-out single by Lind in the twelfth. With Camp still pitching in the bottom of the inning, Upton started another rally with a one-out triple. Kotchman and Joyce were both intentionally walked, loading the bases; Johnson struck out, bringing Chirinos back to the plate. And Chirinos came through again, this time grounding the ball just past the outstretched glove of Escobar into left field for a game-winning single.

So... good work from the backup catchers in this one. Also: three game-tying rallies in the eighth inning or later, two of them in extras. That's a good thing - good enough to make this the 11th best game of 2011 to date, and the best of 12 or fewer innings.

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