Scoring from second base without someone swinging a bat doesn’t happen easily or often in the major leagues. Not unless some daring rerunning is attempted, along with the runner getting some help from the team playing defense.
Erick Aybar took full advantage of lapses made by the Detroit Tigers on Sunday, and came around to score a key run in a 2-1 victory for the Los Angeles Angels. He hustled to score from second after an errant pickoff throw by right-hander Rick Porcello, followed by total vapor lock by outfielder Austin Jackson, who delayed in throwing the ball back to the infield after Porcello’s error.
With runners at first and second and one out in the fifth, Porcello wheeled toward second and threw wildly trying to pick off Aybar. The ball went into center field and Aybar got up and ran to third. Apparently considering taking another base the entire time, Aybar watched closely as Jackson double- and triple-clutched the ball, walking it back toward the infield without throwing for several seconds. Finally, just as Jackson blooped a throw toward Detroit’s shortstop, Aybar turned on jets and sped home for the tying run. No relay was attempted. Great hustle on his part and ugly defense by the Tigers.
Via the Associated Press:

”We’ve talked to Austin,” Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said. ”He knows that can’t happen, and it certainly won’t happen again. He’s got to be aware of where that lead runner is. You can’t take anything for granted. It’s certainly not the way you want to give up the tying run, or any run at all.”

Other than that moment, Porcello performed well — allowing an unearned run and six hits over seven innings. He also struck out six, including the final four batters he faced. But the back-to-back singles by Aybar and Howie Kendrick (via bunt) in the fifth, along with the errant throw, bit him good.

Porcello acknowledged his own mistake as well.

”I just didn’t execute the play,” Porcello said. ”You take a chance, backpicking at second base, but you know that kind of thing can happen. You really have to be on the money with that throw. I yanked the throw and pulled it, and it ended up being a pretty big play.”

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Right-hander Rick Porcello might be merely the No. 3 starter for the Detroit Tigers, but he continues to make a sound case for being included in the list of the majors’ top pitchers. Porcello exhibited his talent and dependability Sunday against the Los Angeles Angels, who have one of the American League’s most productive lineups. In seven innings, Porcello generated 11 groundouts and collected six strikeouts while conceding just five hits, an unearned run and no walks. He wound up with a no-decision in the Tigers’ 2-1 loss.

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Matt Shoemaker certainly can go out to eat or go grocery shopping without being bothered by autograph-seeking fans. But the relatively anonymous Los Angeles Angels rookie right-hander has made himself known by beating some of the most recognizable names in baseball. Shoemaker threw seven scoreless innings to lead the Angels to a 4-0 victory over the Detroit Tigers on Saturday night, adding Detroit pitcher Justin Verlander to his list of victims. Shoemaker has faced six pitchers this season who are former All-Stars, and he is 4-0 with a 2.27 ERA in those six starts.

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All season long, Matt Shoemaker has been jockeying for a permanent spot in the Los Angeles Angels’ rotation after making the opening-day roster as a reliever. Shoemaker combined with two relievers on a four-hitter, and Efren Navarro connected off Justin Verlander for his first major league homer to help the Angels beat the Detroit Tigers 4-0 Saturday night. The only hits off the right-hander were Ian Kinsler’s first-inning double and singles by Eugenio Suarez and Austin Jackson. Verlander (9-9) allowed three runs and six hits in seven innings with four strikeouts and a walk.

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The San Francisco Giants acquired right-handed starting pitcher Jake Peavy from the Boston Red Sox on Saturday, according to multiple reports.

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Dave Dombrowski’s latest trade also felt like one of his most predictable. There was simply no way the Detroit general manager was going to sit idly by without addressing his team’s bullpen. ”We’ve been working on trying to find someone in the bullpen for an extended period,” Dombrowski said. For the month of July, at least.” The Tigers added one of the game’s better relievers in a trade earlier this week, acquiring Joakim Soria from Texas, but that may only be the beginning of a significant overhaul in the way Detroit approaches the late innings.

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Joakim Soria ranked eighth in the American League with 17 saves while with the Texas Rangers this season, but he will have a different role after he was acquired by the Detroit Tigers in a trade Wednesday. Joe Nathan, who has 21 saves, remains the Tigers’ closer, and Joba Chamberlain, who leads the league with 22 holds, retains his place as the eighth-inning setup man. That leaves the seventh inning for Soria. “I think it was more important for us to get somebody who could pitch late in the game, that can pitch in the seventh, eighth or ninth,” Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski said in a conference call with reporters.

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The Detroit Tigers had seen enough from their shaky bullpen to know something had to be done. The AL Central-leading Tigers acquired right-hander Joakim Soria, giving them an option to pitch in the seventh, eighth or ninth inning as soon as Thursday night on the road against the Los Angeles Angels. Detroit dealt pitching prospects Corey Knebel and Jake Thompson to the Texas Rangers to get Soria on Wednesday night. ”We gave up a lot, guys that we valued,” Dombrowski said Thursday.

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(Adds late games) July 23 (The Sports Xchange) – Highlights of Wednesday’s Major League Baseball Games. – - – Rays 3, Cardinals 0 Tampa Bay Rays right-hander Alex Cobb tossed seven shutout innings and knocked in the only run the Rays needed as they swept a two-game interleague series from the St. Louis Cardinals with a 3-0 decision. Cobb (6-6) allowed five hits and struck out 10 with no walks as Tampa Bay (49-53) swept a two-city road trip for the first time in 17 seasons. It was also the eighth consecutive road victory for Tampa Bay, which moved within 4 1/2 games of the Seattle Mariners for the American League’s second wild-card spot.

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