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Thursday, April 29, 2010

Bunt, Cake: Angels 4, Indians 3

Torii Hunter damn near won this one all by himself, save for the dramatic ninth. Kendry Morales came to the plate with men on first and second, and very nearly killed the whole thing himself by hitting into a 6-4-3 double play. Yet that sent Torii to third, and after suddenly developing trouble finding the plate in Juan Rivera's at-bat (that ended in an intentional walk), Howie Kendrick returned Cleveland reliever Chris Perez's first pitch for a bunt single to send home Torii and win the game. It's been a while since we've seen a finale like that one.

Probably would have been more noteworthy except for the win: Mike Scioscia's ejection on a disputed check swing call in Hideki Matsui's second inning at-bat.

Matsui nearly fell down trying to get out of the way of the pitch, and replays appeared to show his bat crossing the plate. Home plate umpire Joe West asked for help from third-base counterpart Rob Drake, who ruled that Matsui had swung at the pitch.

"He's jumping out of the way of it trying to get his balance and that was somehow construed as a swing," Scioscia said. " … That call was mind-boggling."

Scioscia had a brief exchange with Drake, who mimicked a swing with his arm and ejected the manager while he was on the top step of the dugout.

Update: I had to include this here but didn't get to it yesterday, since I captured this on my work desktop:

No wonder the Angels won — they got an extra out in the ninth! j/k

ESPN BoxAngels recap

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Matsui probably got ripped on the strike call, but the call on Hunter's double in the ninth more than made up for it. Asdrubal Cabrera made a tremendous play to catch the throw after it glanced off Hunter and swipe-tagged him on the back a foot before he hit the base.

Also, I wonder if Kendrick was influenced by how easily the drag bunt in the top half of the inning worked.
"What goes around comes around." One second baseman bunting to the other second baseman for a basehit. You are so right Clement! Howie saw how Luis Valbuena got his bunt down and thought "I can do that too."

Howie's bunt was on the first pitch by Chris Perez, not Joe Smith. I had to check the Indians roster sheet when they announced Chris Perez coming into the game to replace Rafael Perez. I did not realize the Tribe had two Perez' in their bullpen. With two outs and a runner on third I thought Cleveland's best strategy was to intentionally walk Juan Rivera and Howie Kendrick to get to Brandon Wood. We will never know how that alternative universe would have worked out.
You know, I missed that; corrected above. The ESPN game play-by-play this year is missing pitching changes, and I haven't mentioned this to anyone yet.

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