(Photo by Scott Clarke / ESPN Images) Texas Rangers first baseman Ronald Guzman was involved in the controversial play that helped pitcher Mike Minor record his 200th strikeout of the season(ARLINGTON, Texas) — Texas Rangers pitcher Mike Minor reached the 200 strikeout milestone with some controversy and a little help from his teammates.
With one out in the ninth inning, and one strikeout from reaching the mark for the first time in his career, Minor got Boston Red Sox infielder Chris Owings to pop up in foul territory. Minor, catcher Jose Trevino, and first baseman Ronald Guzman all came together and allowed the ball to drop, extending Owings’ at-bat.
Minor struck Owings out on the very next pitch, his ninth strikeout of the game.
“We were yelling, telling [Guzman] to drop it because there’s going to be two strikes,” Minor said after the game. “He dropped it, and then he looked at me like ‘What? Why?’ And then everybody started booing or whatever. I had to thank him for that, because [the fans] didn’t understand.”
Minor got the strikeout on his 126th pitch of the afternoon. He was then removed from the game by manager Chris Woodward. Reliever Jose Leclerc recorded the final out in a 7-5 Rangers win.
“I didn’t love the idea that we dropped the popup at the end,” Woodward said.
But Woodward said he felt that the Red Sox hitters were at fault too by swinging at the first pitch in every at-bat that inning.
“If they have any beef with that, obviously I’m pretty sure [Boston manager Alex] Cora did, they chose to not try and win the game as well. They were trying to keep him from striking a guy out.”
Still, Woodward called dropping the pop up “borderling crossing the line.”
Cora spoke to reporters after the game as well, saying only “I’m just happy our guys are playing the right way.”
Earlier in the game, Woodward had attempted to pull Minor, but the veteran hurler waved him away. Woodward said he was cognizant of how many pitches Minor had thrown.
“I told him that I couldn’t give him too many pitches…but it’s a big deal. This guy has been our best pitcher all year…I felt I owed it to him.”
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