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Even when he might — might — have found the strike zone, new Boston Red Sox pitcher Brandon Villarreal couldn't get the call. Villarreal threw four pitches in the bottom of the ninth Tuesday night and none of them was called a strike, giving a bases-loaded walk to Marco Scutaro and handing the San Francisco Giants a 3-2 victory at AT&T Park.
Villarreal, who had compiled an enormous 20.77 ERA with the Tigers earlier in 2013, was making his debut with the Red Sox, who basically had run out of other guys who could pitch. With the bases already loaded and two outs, Villarreal was nowhere close with three balls to Scutaro. Taking all of the way, Scutaro let go a pitch that just missed the outside corner. It actually was a strike, according to the cyclops-like computer thing:
Just nicks the corner. Could go either way, as our Big League Stew "either way" arrows indicate. Hey, how 'bout a little benefit of the doubt, umpire Mike Everitt? No? Well, Villarreal probably doesn't deserve any. Via the Associated Press:
Giants hitting coach Hensley Meulens told Scutaro that Villarreal had control problems before the at-bat and that proved true. Villarreal has walked nine of 29 batters he has faced this season, including two with the bases loaded.
''When he told me that, I wanted to make sure I looked for my pitch and not be too aggressive,'' Scutaro said.
Just let him walk you, in other words. Makes sense, considering the Giants were 0 for 10 with runners in scoring position, and had tied the score on a sacrifice fly in foul territory in the eighth inning. One of those wasn't happening with two outs in the ninth.
Red Sox highlight: Rookie phenom Xander Bogaerts went 0 for 3 with a strikeout in his major league debut, but he also made a nice play at short to save a run. Was Scutaro out at first base there? Meh.
Yankees 8-3, Blue Jays 4-2: Mariano gets a game finished but no save in Game 1, and a win but no save in Game 2. Jayson Nyx wyth the walkoff syngle yn the fynale after hytting a tyyng homer yn the sevynth:
New York Nyx!
Rays 7, Orioles 4: Good to see Alex Cobb pitching well, and that comment has nothing to do with fantasy baseball or anything like that. Baltimore better watch out for the Yankees in the standings.
Twins 6, Tigers 3: By the way, Justin Morneau is still available for trades and bar mitzvahs.
Rangers 4, Astros 2: Go-ahead home run, Adrian Beltre. Now touch his head!
White Sox 2, Royals 0: Finally, John Danks had something good happen. Kansas City's Ervin Santana pitched well enough to win.
Mariners 7, Athletics 4: Way to bust out of a slump (maybe), Nick Franklin. Where's that been since I traded for you in my fantasy league?
Indians 4, Angels 1 (14 inn.): One run in 14 innings? That's all they got is one lousy run?
Pirates 8, Padres 1: Righty Tyson Ross has pitched better. Again, his reference has nothing to do with my fantasy team at all.
Brewers 6, Cardinals 3: Nobody wanted to trade for Kyle Lohse in my fantasy league. I'll just finish 10th without him, thank you!
Mets 5, Braves 3: Rookie Zack Wheeler already is good enough to beat the Braves three times. He has a 2.89 ERA against them.
Rockies 5, Phillies 3: The Phillies are no longer rolling under new skipper Ryne Sandberg. Also, happy 40th birthday, Todd Helton! He made a nice swipe tag after Nolan Arenado made a great play but a wild throw to get Jimmy Rollins at first.
''I didn't tag him,'' Helton said. ''I tried to tag him.''
Oh. Well, just keep that between us.
Nationals 4, Cubs 2: Nice job by Washington's Dan Haren, who has pitched better lately despite losing oomph on his fastball.
"Velocity is way overrated."
— Dan Haren, after topping out at 89 mph
• Patrick Corbin of the D-backs threw first-pitch strikes to 27 of 33 batters.
• Nate McLouth is hitless in 17 at-bats.
• The Indians are 5 1/2 behind the Tigers in the AL Central and 3 1/2 behind the A's in the wild card race.
Related coverage on Yahoo! Sports:
• Yasiel Puig homers after being benched by Dodgers
• Slideshow: Ryan Dempster slapped for A-Rod incident
• Astros' Jake Elmore catches and pitches in same game
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- Marco Scutaro
- San Francisco Giants