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May 28, 2014

What You Need to Know

Ben Revere's Ride

by Chris Mosch


The Tuesday Takeaway
After tweaking his ankle during his most recent start last Tuesday, Yovani Gallardo had his scheduled start on Sunday pushed back for tonight’s rubber match against the Orioles. Approximately 10 hours before being scheduled to take the hill for Wednesday’s start, Gallardo capped off the second consecutive extra inning matchup between the two clubs with a pinch-hit walk-off double.

The last position player off the Brewers bench, Elian Herrera, pinch-ran for Lyle Overbay after the first-sacker led off the ninth inning, down 6-5, with a single off Baltimore closer Zach Britton. Herrera would come around to score the tying run on Jonathan Lucroy’s two-out infield single. Third baseman Manny Machado rushed the soft chopper off the bat of Lucroy, but had to adjust because of a last-second bad hop, and the throw ended up pulling Chris Davis off the first-base bag.

In the bottom of the 10th inning, Baltimore manager Buck Showalter elected to intentionally walk Mark Reynolds with two outs and nobody on to pitch to Gallardo, who was pinch-hitting for Francisco Rodriguez. Showalter’s move mirrored Ron Roenicke’s decision in the top of the inning, when he had Rodriguez put Chris Davis on with two outs and the bases empty to face David Lough. While Roenicke’s decision ended up working out for the Brewers, putting the winning run on base ultimately came back to bite the Orioles. McFarland fell behind 2-0 on Gallardo, and the 2010 Silver Slugger Award winner made him pay for a fastball left out over the plate and at the letters.

According to STATS, Gallardo’s double was the first walk-off hit by a pitcher since 2003, when Glendon Rusch’s pinch-hit single in the 14th inning gave the Brewers a 3-2 walkoff win against the Astros. Gallardo has always been one of the league’s better-hitting pitchers, as he entered Tuesday trailing only Zack Greinke and Mike Leake in OPS among active starters who had at least 100 career plate appearances.

Before the game went to extra innings, it was a battle of the long ball between the two clubs. The Brewers got a three-run jack from Carlos Gomez in the first inning and a pair of solo shots from Mark Reynolds and Khris Davis, to lead off the second and fourth innings, respectively. Nelson Cruz extended his league-lead in home runs with his 17th dinger of the season in the fifth inning, and scored on a three-run pinch-hit blast by Steve Pearce in the seventh inning that gave the O’s a 6-5 lead.

Gallardo will hope to get similar offensive production behind him when he takes the mound tonight opposite Bud Norris—who also pinch-hit on Tuesday and laid down a successful sacrifice bunt in the ninth inning. And who knows? Maybe Gallardo will help his own cause with the bat.

Quick Hits from Tuesday
After missing over a month with a strained oblique, Alex Cobb stifled the American League’s premier offense during his return, tossing 6 2/3 scoreless frames last Thursday. Cobb drew another tough matchup last night against the Blue Jays, but the Tampa Bay right-hander didn’t fare nearly as well this time around.

Cobb and Mark Buehrle matched zeroes during the first three innings before the two clubs traded two-run frames in the fourth. The next inning, the Jays distanced themselves from the visitors with a four-spot that was capped by back-to-back jacks.

Leading off was Jose Reyes, who lined a comebacker off Cobb’s right leg for an infield single. Cobb needed just a couple of warm-up pitches before feeling ready enough to take on Melky Cabrera, but it must have been a harrowing split-second for the Tampa Bay right-hander, given his history with comebackers.

After Cabrera advanced Reyes to second with a groundout, Jose Bautista singled up the middle on a 3-0 get-me-over fastball from Cobb to give the Jays a 3-2 lead. On the very next pitch, Cobb left a curveball over the plate, and Adam Lind drove the offering the opposite way for a two-run blast.

Two pitches later, Edwin Encarnacion launched a moonshot into the upper deck:

The home run was Encarnacion’s 10th in his last 12 games and his 14th in the month of May—tying the club record for the most home runs in any month. The last player to launch 14 home runs in the month of May was Barry Bonds, who did so during his 73-home-run season in 2001. Juan Francisco tacked on a solo home run off Josh Lueke in the seventh inning to give the Jays their 44th tater of the month—13 more than the next-highest team total.

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<< Previous Article
The Lineup Card: 13 Pi... (05/28)
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Premium Article What You Need to Know:... (05/27)
Next Column >>
Premium Article What You Need to Know:... (05/29)
Next Article >>
Premium Article Overthinking It: Defin... (05/28)

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