OAKLAND The problem with the unwritten rules of baseball is that no one has a hard copy to reference.The unwritten rules are again receiving a preposterous amount of attention thanks to Al Alburquerque, who drew the ire of As players and fans by planting a kiss on a baseball before he threw to first for a rally-killing out in the Detroit Tigers Game 2 win Sunday.Yoenis Cespedes, who hit the ball that received the questionable affection, took offense to the move, as did many of his teammates. But Monday in Oakland, veteran Jonny Gomes took a more Zen approach.There are baseball gods that take care of that stuff, Gomes said. He obviously doesnt believe in them but I do.In Oaklands visitors clubhouse, Alburquerque drew a larger media scrum than Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera or Prince Fielder. Through a translator, Alburquerque explained what was going through his mind as he planted the controversial kiss.Just got caught in the emotions of the game, Alburquerque said. I respect Yoenis Cespedes; I was just excited to get that out.While Cespedes and Josh Reddick did not hold back their disgust with the perceived slight after Sundays loss, other As were more understanding Monday.I guess he got the out so he can do what he wants, infielder Cliff Pennington said.Closer Grant Balfour said he didnt see the kiss because of Detroits isolated bullpen and didnt make an effort to catch a replay, either.I didnt watch any baseball; I wanted a break from the game, Balfour said.Gerald Laird, who started the game at catcher but gave way to Alex Avila by the time Alburquerque was called in from the bullpen, tried to defend his teammate.Hes not out there trying to disrespect anyone, Laird said, adding that he understood why some As took offense. Asked for his reaction to the move, Laird said: I laughed and asked myself Did I just see what I saw?Tigers manager Jim Leyland, a self-proclaimed old-school baseball man, made no excuses for his 26-year-old reliever.I dont think it was the right thing to do, Leyland said. I will sit here today and I will not try to defend it. I will say that I can assure everybody, including the Oakland As, that Alburquerque did nothing intentionally to offend the Oakland As.We make no excuses; it happened. It shouldnt have happened. It did happen. But like I said, in no way was that meant to offend an opponent, no way. We have too much respect for the game. Too much respect for Bob Melvin and the Oakland As. If thats not acceptable, then people have to deal with it the way they want to deal with it.Melvin, when informed of Leylands respect, returned the compliment and offered his take on The Kiss Heard Round the Baseball World.I respect Jim Leyland as much as I respect anyone, Melvin said. I think there are varying degrees to all that stuff, showmanship, whatever. We were accused of something in New York that was going on in our dugout. I think everybody has different takes on that. I dont think theres one right or wrong way. Emotionally after a game when something like that happens, youre always going to hear something from somebody. But you move on. Its not a big deal for me.Melvin has at least one bigger concern than an offensive kiss. His As can kiss their Cinderella season goodbye with just one more loss.
At Scottsdale, Arizona, Chris Marrero hit a three-run homer in the bottom of the ninth and drove in four runs as the Giants rallied after Madison Bumgarner gave up two runs on two hits in the top of the first.
Marrero, a 2006 first-round draft pick of the Nationals trying to revive his career as a non-roster invitee, had an RBI single in the fifth.
Kevin Shackelford, the seventh Cincinnati pitcher, walked Orlando Calixte to open the ninth and Christian Arroyo blooped a single into left field before Marrero hit a line drive over the wall in left centerfield.
Patrick Kivlehan had a two-run single off Bumgarner in the first and Hunter Pence doubled in a run off Reds starter Rookie Davis. Davis, acquired from the Yankees in the Aroldis Chapman deal, is likely to open with Double-A Pensacola this year.
VANCOUVER – Kevin Labanc, Barclay Goodrow and Tim Heed have accompanied the Sharks to Vancouver, and will presumably be available to play against the Canucks on Saturday in the first game after the bye week.
Forwards Timo Meier, Nikolay Goldobin and Marcus Sorensen, all of whom have played games with the NHL club this season, remain with the AHL Barracuda for the time being.
Labanc, 21, has 18 points (7g, 11a) in 45 games this season. Lately he has been skating as the left wing on the top line with Joe Thornton and Joe Pavelski, and is looking to snap a 21-game goal drought.
Goodrow, 23, has played one game with the Sharks this season, going scoreless on Jan. 24 at Winnipeg. Unless the Sharks recall someone else before their game with the Canucks, Goodrow will likely play his second game as the team is carrying just 12 healthy forwards as of Friday afternoon. Joonas Donskoi did not accompany the Sharks to Vancouver, and remains day-to-day with what the club is offically calling an upper body injury but appears to be a right shoulder.
Heed, likely the seventh defenseman in case of emergency, has also played one scoreless game on Jan. 11 at Calgary.
Dylan DeMelo made the trip, but is still not ready. The defenseman told CSN last week that he’s on schedule with an eight-week recovery from a broken right wrist that would put his return around early March.