Back To Top
Sports

Walk-off sac fly lifts Tigers

DETROIT (AP) ― Al Alburquerque reached out and snagged a sharp grounder to the mound ― then planted a little kiss on the ball before tossing it to first.

The relieved reliever gave his Detroit teammates a reason to laugh in the ninth inning of a tight game. Moments later, the Tigers were celebrating.

Don Kelly scored the tying run on a wild pitch in the eighth, then hit a bases-loaded sacrifice fly in the bottom of the ninth that lifted the Tigers over the Oakland Athletics 5-4 on Sunday for a 2-0 lead in their AL playoff series.

Detroit overcame three A’s leads and seesawed to victory. It was 1-all before a wild final three innings that included a key error by Oakland center fielder Coco Crisp, two game-tying wild pitches and several momentum changes.

Alburquerque kept it tied in the ninth when he got Yoenis Cespedes to hit a comebacker with men on first and third and two outs. He gave the ball a quick smooch before throwing underhand to first.

“I just did it,” he said. “It was the emotion of the game. I wasn’t trying to be a hot dog.”

Oakland outfielder Josh Reddick wasn’t thrilled.

“We didn’t appreciate that. I thought it was immature and not very professional,” Reddick said. “You don’t do that on the field. Save it for the dugout. That’s all I’m going to say.”

Nats pounce on Cards

ST. LOUIS (AP) ― Rookies in the postseason, the Washington Nationals played like poised veterans.

The Nationals escaped a bases-loaded jam in the seventh inning, Tyler Moore blooped a two-out, two-run single in the eighth and Washington beat the defending World Series champion St. Louis Cardinals 3-2 Sunday in an NL playoff opener.

They have just four players with postseason experience on the roster. But they have the lead.

“Not many people have probably watched too many Nationals games, but we have a great starting rotation and a great bullpen,” said Ian Desmond, who singled for his third hit in the go-ahead rally. “They keep us in the ballgame and some timely hits from this kid, and the rest of the guys coming off the bench, that’s really been the formula.”

The Nationals, who had never come close to making the playoffs since moving from Montreal for the 2005 season, overcame a wild start by 21-game winner Gio Gonzalez. They limited the Cardinals to just three hits.

Yanks get past O’s in opener

BALTIMORE (AP) ― CC Sabathia, Russell Martin and the New York Yankees crashed a party that was 15 years in the making.

Martin led off the ninth inning with a tiebreaking home run off Jim Johnson, Sabathia turned in a sparkling pitching performance and the Yankees beat the Baltimore Orioles 7-2 Sunday night in the opener of their AL divisional series.

Sabathia allowed two runs and eight hits in 8 2/3 innings to help the Yankees take the edge off the Orioles’ first home playoff game since 1997. The husky left-hander went 0-2 in three starts against Baltimore during the regular season, but in this one he returned to form and improved his lifetime record against the Orioles to 17-4.

“Fastball command was good, worked off that,” Sabathia said. “Throwing the ball pretty good getting the corners. Tried to stay out there and make some pitches.”

Reds shut out Giants

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) ― Bronson Arroyo pitched the Reds back to Ohio on quite a playoff roll.

Arroyo retired his first 14 batters and delivered a gem a day after 19-game winner Johnny Cueto went down with a back injury, and Cincinnati beat the San Francisco Giants 9-0 on Sunday night to head home with a 2-0 NL division series lead.

A pair of Ryans provided the big hits. Ryan Ludwick homered leading off the second inning for his first career playoff clout and Ryan Hanigan hit a two-run single in the fourth and a later RBI single. Jay Bruce added a two-run double and Joey Votto had three hits.
MOST POPULAR