Kinsler scores on unusual three-error play
DETROIT -- One of the better lines about Miguel Cabrera around the Tigers clubhouse the last few years is that a runner at first base is a runner in scoring position, the way he drives runs in. They've never come home from there on a Cabrera walk, though, until Sunday.
"Miggy's still taking off his shin pad," Ian Kinsler said, "and I'm running to third."
It's another new scoring method for the go-go Tigers, though this one had more to do with a three-error play from the Angels defense.
"A lot happened on one play," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "It was obviously a strange play. We thought we had Cabrera struck out, and all of a sudden they have Cabrera on second base with a run in. Just a poor play."
Kinsler, batting second in front of Cabrera on Sunday, started his trek around the bases with a four-pitch walk with one out in the opening inning. In a leadoff spot situation, he might have tried going. With Cabrera up, he wasn't about to open up first base, especially when Angels lefty Hector Santiago fell behind on another 3-0 count.
Once Santiago recovered to get the count full, that was the chance for Kinsler to go, and that's where the Angels defense turned shambolic.
Faced with the unenviable task of a 3-2 pitch to Cabrera, Santiago tried to catch Cabrera on a changeup. Kinsler took off on the pitch.
"I wasn't sure if there was going to be a strike three or a ball four," Kinsler said, "so I had to go, and the catcher obviously came up and threw. I had to continue to run just in case he called it a strike."
It was close enough at the knees that Angels catcher Hank Conger had reason to anticipate a called third strike, which would've put Kinsler in play for an out at second. Conger stepped up and threw as Cabrera awaited the call.
"You know where the pitch is," Scioscia said. "You can't wait for an umpire's call. You have to get your throw off. The umpire called it low. Hank thought it was a good pitch and he's going to follow through on his throw."
The throw sailed into center field, sending Kinsler on his way to third as Mike Trout ran down the ball. That's where the play seemingly stopped until Trout's throw missed the cutoff man at second base.
Kinsler, having held up past third base, took off for home as Santiago retrieved the ball on the third-base side of the mound. Santiago seemingly had a chance to get Kinsler at the plate, but his throw went wide and to the backstop.
Official scorer Ron Kleinfelter assigned three different throwing errors on the play -- Conger allowing Kinsler to get to third, Trout allowing Kinsler to score, and Santiago allowing Cabrera to take second base.
According to STATS, it was the first time a team made three errors on one play since the Orioles did so against the Rays on April 16, 2007. Two of those errors, however, came from the same player, Aubrey Huff.
"That's a little unusual," Kinsler said. "Maybe a strike three call, he throws it into center field and I'm able to move up to third. But ball four, Miggy's still taking off his shin pad and I'm running to third. It was an unusual play, got kind of lucky there at the end. I've never seen it before from anyone else, and I've never been a part of something like that, so it was definitely an unusual play."