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Fouled-up call spurs Rangers

Umpires blow it in 11th at Detroit

Associated Press / April 23, 2012
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Alberto Gonzalez squared to bunt, hoping to drive in the go-ahead run on a squeeze play. The ball hit his bat and glanced off his right leg before bouncing off the ground toward the pitcher.

Then the Texas Rangers caught a break.

Instead of being called a foul ball, Gonzalez’s bunt went for an RBI single in the 11th inning, lifting the Rangers to a 3-2 victory over the Tigers in Detroit. Gonzalez acknowledged after the game the ball hit him around the knee - and a replay confirmed it - but the play stood.

“As soon as he hit the ball and saw the ball was fair, he didn’t stop himself,’’ said Gonzalez’s translator. “He was trying to go to first base. He knew the job was done.’’

The bases were loaded with nobody out when Gonzalez bunted. Righthander Thad Weber (0-1), who was making his major league debut, had no play at the plate on runner Nelson Cruz. Weber froze with the ball, and first baseman Miguel Cabrera struggled to get back to the bag in time. Everybody was safe, and Texas took the lead.

Detroit manager Jim Leyland came out to argue, but to no avail.

“I saw just what it did: The ball came down and hit him on the back knee. Clearly. Clearly. That’s not even a question,’’ Leyland said. “The ball clearly hit him, and four guys happened to miss it. That’s part of the game.’’

Plate umpire Tim Welke had a chance to watch the replay afterward and said the ball did in fact hit Gonzalez, but his crew hadn’t seen that initially.

“We did not see the ball hit anybody on the field,’’ Welke said. “We called what we saw.’’

Robbie Ross (3-0) pitched a scoreless 10th for Texas, and Joe Nathan finished for his fourth save.

Josh Hamilton homered for the Rangers.

Rays 6, Twins 2 - Desmond Jennings had one of a team record four sacrifice flies and had a two-run homer in the fifth inning off Francisco Liriano (0-3) as host Tampa rolled over Minnesota.

The Rays took a 2-0 lead - on sacrifice flies by Jennings and Ben Zobrist - in the third without getting a hit.

Evan Longoria got the Rays’ first hit leading off the fourth, a fly to left that struck an overhanging catwalk and landed in shallow center. He scored to make it 3-0 on B.J. Upton’s sacrifice fly.

Orioles 3, Angels 2 - Nick Markakis hit a two-run single in the eighth inning and a run-scoring single in the 10th, leading Baltimore past Los Angeles in Anaheim, Calif.

LaTroy Hawkins (0-1) came on in the 10th and issued a leadoff walk to No. 9 hitter Robert Andino, who advanced on a sacrifice by Endy Chavez and a groundout by J.J. Hardy before Markakis grounded a single up the middle that deflected off the glove of second baseman Howie Kendrick and into center field.

Pedro Strop (2-1) pitched two innings for the win despite allowing a tying solo homer in the eighth by Kendrick. Jim Johnson got three outs for his seventh save.

Blue Jays 5, Royals 3 - Ricky Romero (3-0) won his third straight start, Brett Lawrie stole home and drove in two runs, and Toronto sent host Kansas City to its 10th straight loss.

Romero, who is 11-2 in 17 starts since July 21, gave up two runs on five hits in eight innings.

Athletics 5, Indians 1 - Seth Smith hit a two-run homer, helping Tyson Ross get his first win in nearly a year, as host Oakland avoided a series sweep against Cleveland.

Padres 6, Phillies 1 - Nick Hundley homered, tripled, and drove in a career-high four runs, and Anthony Bass pitched three-hit ball for six innings to help host San Diego beat Philadelphia and win consecutive games for the first time this season.

Hundley hit a sacrifice fly in the first inning, an RBI triple in the third, and two-run homer in the fifth off Joe Blanton (1-3).

Cardinals 5, Pirates 1 - Kyle Lohse (3-0) scattered six hits while pitching into the eighth inning, David Freese had a two-run single, and Rafael Furcal had three hits to lead St. Louis at Pittsburgh.

Lohse struck out five without issuing a walk, though his ERA actually ticked up from 0.89 to 0.99.

Astros 12, Dodgers 0 - Jordan Schafer hit his first career grand slam on a shot that bounced off the glove of Dodgers right fielder Andre Ethier, Wandy Rodriguez (1-2) pitched three-hit ball through seven innings, and host Houston avoided a sweep by handing Los Angeles its most-lopsided loss since June 2004.

Rockies 4, Brewers 1 - Michael Cuddyer lined a two-run double in the eighth and Jeremy Guthrie (2-1) pitched seven strong innings, leading Colorado in Milwaukee.

Reds 4, Cubs 3 - Johnny Cueto (2-0) threw 6 1/3 strong innings and Cincinnati sent eight batters to the plate in the sixth, scoring two unearned runs without the benefit of a hit, to beat host Chicago.

White Sox 7, Mariners 4 - Alex Rios got three hits and drove in three runs to help Chicago complete a three-game sweep of host Seattle.

The Mets-Giants game in New York and the Nationals-Marlins game in Washington were postponed because of rain. The Mets and Giants will play a single-admission doubleheader Monday beginning at 4:10 p.m. No makeup date was announced for the Nationals and Giants.

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