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Game #3 –  Cliff Lee v. Matt Cain

Both teams understood the importance of Game 3 in this series, and so both teams were determined to bring back their rested Game 1 pitchers for Round 2.  Game 3, however, presented much greater urgency for Sacramento, and Tempe knew it. Down 2-0 against the best manager MWBL has ever experienced and the best team of the 2012 season, Sacramento was on the verge of digging itself into a hole it may not be able to dig itself out of.  Sacramento manager, George Skiles, knew his team needed to strike first, strike hard and, well, show no mercy (thank you, Karate Kid).

Cliff Lee opens the 1st inning with authority, causing Curtis GRANDERSON to pop out to J.J. Hardy, Melky CABRERA to fly out to Torii HUNTER, and striking out Hunter PENCE.  Sacramento’s offense did not waste the opportunity.  Daniel MURPHY singled to center against Matt CAIN, Kevin YOUKILIS banged CAIN’s pitch to the gap in left center for a standing double, and with no outs, Robinson CANO hammered CAIN’s pitch deep into the right field corner … both runners score and CANO’s stretches it to a double.  Still no outs, Pujols grounds out and moves CANO to third; and Hardy singles to left to score Cano to give Sacramento a 3-0 lead.  Cain finally escapes by striking out Willingham and inducing a Molina groundout.

Once again, Tempe doesn’t take much time answering back.  Lee’s back on the mound; Troy TULOWITZKI doubles to right; Adrian BELTRE moves TULOWITZKI to third on a dribbler toward third; and Adrian Gonzalez hits a two run shot! You’ve got to listen to the announcers on this one: “GONZALEZ facing C. LEE, … CAPITALS playing for the out at first … checks third … LEE with the offering a long drive down the right field line … slicing … GONZALEZ gives it some body english will it stay fair? … it hits the pole! … the ump waves his finger in a circle and GONZALEZ goes into his tater trot.  Lee wasn’t happy with that call, and was simply not able to settle down after that point.  Dustin PEDROIA up next … just off the corner … a base on balls; but, PDEROIA wasn’t done putting icing on the cake by stealing 2nd with one out.  Carlos Ruiz up to bat.  Sacramento manager, George Skiles, had enough and forced a decision from Tempe; intentional walk to RUIZ–CAIN hits or Tempe Pulls CAIN after only one inning.  Well, easy call for Tempe; Listen to the call: “TEMPERS skipper walking down the bench, Is taking pitcher CAIN out of the game … Vladimir GUERRERO will bat in his place … bats right he shoulders the bat … heads out … so CAIN is yanked early … his line … 3 runs, on 4 hits … he stands to lose it unless the TEMPERS … can make up the 1-run deficit … The runners take their lead … and now the pitch … sliced down the right field line will it stay fair? … yes! it’s in play … WILLINGHAM’s after it … PEDROIA scores; GUERRERO’s in standing with a double and they’re holding RUIZ at third.

TEMPERS 3, CAPITALS 3.  After giving up three runs, Lee finally induces a line-drive out to Pujols from GRANDERSON, and a pop fly to YOUKILIS by CABRERA to end the top of the 2nd. Takashi Saito holds Sacramento through the bottom of the 2nd, stranding Daniel MURPHY at second.  Tempe isn’t finished with Sacramento just yet, though.  Lee’s back on the mound to start the 3rd, and immediately gives up a double to PENCE; and Lee seeks retribution by clobbering TULOWITZKI, though he stayed in the game.  Lee induced a double play from Adrian Beltre, but it was enough move Pence to 3rd–a move that would not prove inconsequential.  Let’s listen to the call: “PENCE moves to third; GONZALEZ facing C. LEE … and PENCE’s stealing home! … here’s the pitch … taken … strike … and he’s … safe!  and he’s stolen home! … yes, a great slide and the run scores! that’s his 2nd steal of the series … for TEMPE, their 2nd stolen base in this game.”  Yes, Tempe stole home against Yadier Molina.  A lot of fans out there thinking, what the ….?!  Turns out, it didn’t matter.  Lee subsequently gave up a double to GONZALEZ, and then (finally) struck out PEDROIA.  TEMPERS 4, CAPITALS 3.  That was all the action fans would see until the 6th inning.  By this time Lee is out of the game, and Eric O’Flaherty is on the mound to face pinch-hitter Lucas DUDA–DUDA singles to right and is immediately replaced by Jason REPKO, presumably to steal 2nd … Yep, again, let’s listen to the announcer: “And the pitch comes in … taken … REPKO breaks for second; MOLINA fires it down … SAFE!…good jump … that’s his 1st steal of the series for TEMPE, their 3rd stolen base in this game.”  No doubt, Tempe has found a way to have its way against Yadier Molina.  REPKO is on 2nd with one out; Jose Molina grounds out, moving REPKO to 3rd, and Granderson hits a Texas Leaguer  to right scoring REPKO.  O’FLAHERTY quickly gets CABRERA to ground out to CANO for the 3rd out, but not before the damage was done.  TEMPERS 5, CAPITALS 3.

The score would remain the same until the bottom of the 8th, when Sacramento would finally come alive.  Youkilis led off the inning with Greg Holland on the mound for Tempe; he did what he does best, walked.  Cano subsequently flew out to GRANDERSON in left, then Pujols doubled to Granderson, with Youkilis holding at 3rd.  With runners on 2nd and 3rd, and one out, the winning run walked up to the plate: J.J. Hardy.  Again, let’s listen to the announcers: “HARDY facing HOLLAND … TEMPERS playing for the out at first … HOLLAND deals … big swing … it’s hit deep to CABRERA, it’s over his head … it’s long gone! … a three-run homer for HARDY; HARDY will circle the bases … and he’s sure taking his time … he’s greeted at home plate … congratulations all around … HOLLAND is giving himself a lecture.” Hardy makes up for 3 errors in Game 1 with his 4 RBI in Game 3, while Mariano Rivera pitches 2 scoreless innings that put the Capitals in a position to win by holding down the Tempers just long enough to make it work.  TEMPERS 5, CAPITALS 6.  Behind Edgmer ESCALONA, who finished out the game for Sacramento, this was all Sacramento would need for their first win of the series.

WP: Rivera (1-0)
LP: Holland (0-1)
S: Escalona (1)

2020 MWBL
SATURDAY 02/22/2020
AT 10:30 AM - ET!