Big League Stew

The Juice: Rangers squeeze Tigers with help of ump’s bunt ruling

David Brown
Big League Stew

The Juice is back for its fifth season of fun! Stop by each weekday for an ample serving of news from the action, plus great photos, stats and video highlights.

Bunt of confusion: One of the toughest calls for the home plate umpire has to be, "Did the ball hit the batter after he swung at/bunted it?" play. On Sunday afternoon, Tim Welke could not tell that the pivotal bunt attempt by Alberto Gonzalez of the Texas Rangers hit the batter in the knee before bouncing into fair territory, setting into motion a go-ahead squeeze play in the 11th inning.

Tigers manager Jim Leyland protested — saying the play should have been blown dead as a foul ball — and he successfully lobbied for Welke to ask for assistance from the other umps. But none of them saw it, either. Rangers broadcaster Tom Grieve also seemed certain the ball was fair until he looked at the replay in super slow-mo a second time. So, the Rangers got away with one, beating the Tigers 3-2 to improve their record to 13-3.

Unintentional consequences sink Braves: Managers love to employ the bunt, along with the intentional walk, because it gives them something to do. But what about the players who are left to deal with the results? After Atlanta manager Fredi Gonzalez directed pitcher Randall Delgado to walk light-hitting John McDonald of Arizona to load the bases for pitcher Ian Kennedy in the second inning, well, you might guess what happened next. Kennedy walked on four pitches to force in a run, and Gerardo Parra followed with a grand slam into the pool area at Chase Field. Arizona hung on to win 6-4 and snap a five-game losing streak.

Lohse is the most: Kyle Lohse of the Cardinals continued his terrific start, allowing a run and six hits over seven innings in a 5-1 victory against the Pirates. Here's the funny part: His ERA actually went up, from 0.89 to 0.99. Who misses old manager Tony La Russa and former coach Dave Duncan? Not this guy.

Damp Yankees: Mother Nature rained out three games, including the finale of Yankees-Red Sox at Fenway Park. It's just as well, because Bobby Valentine really needed a day off.

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Quote of the Day: "You can see him start kind of moping around a little bit on the mound." — Twins manager Ron Gardenhire on left-hander Francisco Liriano, after another rough start and a 6-2 victory for the Tampa Bay Rays.

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Photo of the Day:

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Jack Wilson of the Braves tries a new batting stance. (AP)


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Three facts for the water cooler

The Kansas City Royals fell for the 10th straight time, 5-3 to the Toronto Blue Jays. The franchise has had only six longer streaks.

He came in with nine home runs and 22 RBIs, but Matt Kemp of the Dodgers went 0 for 3 to break a 10-game hitting streak in a 12-0 loss to the Astros.

The Padres beat the Phillies 6-1 to gain a split of their four-game series. San Diego has not won a series from Philly since July 2006. Here's a bonus quote of the day from Chase Hundley regarding the Phillies:

''I'm sick of those guys, and it's not from anything they do except for beating us. We play OK, but it just seems like every time they come in here, they're playing well and getting every break you can get, and we're just not. It was nice to not have to answer that question today.''

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