Valentine: Aceves' extra work due to lack of options


Valentine: Aceves' extra work due to lack of options

ANAHEIM -- On another night, Bobby Valentine might have had other options to get the final six outs of a game in which the Red Sox led by a run.

But Tuesday night, according to the manager, there weren't many -- if any alternatives -- to Alfredo Aceves.

The choice proved ill-fated when, after retiring the side in order in the eighth, Aceves allowed two runs in the bottom of the ninth, costing the Sox their lead and the game, a 6-5 walkoff loss to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

"There wasn't much choice," said Valentine. "I don't know what else I could have done."

Valentine then looked at an index card that details relievers' recent workloads and read the information.

"(Andrew) Bailey wasn't pitching (after pitching four times in the last five games)," said Valentine. "(Vicente) Padilla's pitched four of the last five games. (Mark) Melancon's pitched four out of six. There really wasn't anybody tonight except maybe (Junichi) Tazawa, who still needed an extra day.

"I don't think the (Angels) matched up with (lefty Andrew) Miller. (Clayton) Mortensen pitched in three of five days and warmed up the other days twice."

Aceves, who rejoined the team Tuesday following a three-game suspension for conduct detrimental to the team, got the first out in the ninth, then hit Erick Aybar on the knee and walked pinch-hitter Alberto Callaspo, batting ninth.

With two on and one out, Aceves got ahead of Mike Trout with two straight inside fastballs. He then tried a third, only to have Trout muscle a broken-bat single up the middle, scoring Aybar with the tying run as Callaspo took third.

"We've been showing him a lot of (pitches) away," said catcher Ryan Lavarnway of Trout, "both this series and the last series. We thought we could beat him up-and-in with the heater. We broke his bat, shattered it, but he's a strong kid. He got it out of the infield just enough."

"It's tough," said Clay Buchholz, who was in position to claim the win. "You never want to lose a game in the bottom of the ninth. But it happens every day."

For Aceves, who declined to speak with reporters after the game, it was his eighth blown save and ninth loss of the season.

MLB ump saves woman attempting to jump from Pittsburgh bridge


MLB ump saves woman attempting to jump from Pittsburgh bridge

PITTSBURGH -- John Tumpane can't explain why he approached the woman as she hopped over the railing of the Roberto Clemente Bridge on Wednesday afternoon.

The woman told Tumpane she just wanted to get a better view of the Allegheny River below. The look on her face and the tone of her voice suggested otherwise to Tumpane, a major league baseball umpire in town to work the series between the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Tampa Bay Rays.

So the 34-year-old Tumpane reached for the woman even as she urged him to let her go.

"It was just pure instinct," Tumpane said . "You hear kind of stories of this all the time, different scenarios, people aiding and situation where I was lucky enough to be there to help and try to think of everything I could do, hanging on to her. At times she wanted to go the other way. I was like, 'not on my watch, please.' We were just hanging on."

And saving a life.

Tumpane secured one of her arms. A bystander walked up and grabbed the other while another -- Mike Weinman, an employee for the Rays -- clutched her legs and pinned them to the railing while Tumpane mouthed to someone in the crowd to call 911.

What followed were chaotic moments of panic, fear and ultimately, grace.

"I couldn't tell you how long we were waiting for everyone else to get in place," Tumpane said. 'Obviously another power comes into be when you're hanging on and you know what the alternative is of you letting go and not having other people to help you."

Tumpane, Weinman and the third volunteer clung to the unidentified woman until emergency responders arrived. A police boat raced up the river to the iconic yellow bridge named for the Pirates Hall of Famer who died on Dec. 31, 1972, when a plane making humanitarian deliveries to earthquake victims in Nicaragua crashed. Now, 45 years later a crowd thrust together by fate brought a complete stranger back from the brink. Together.

"Once they were able to secure her, we were able to talk her back to help us out and we got her back on this side," Tumpane said. "After that I went up to her, she said, 'You'll just forget me after this' and I said, 'No, I'll never forget you.' This was an unbelievable day and I'm glad to say she can have another day with us and I'm glad I was in the right place at the right time."

Tumpane, who grew up in the Chicago suburbs, got into umpiring as a teenager, made his major-league debut in 2012 and received his full-time MLB commission in 2016, stressed he's no hero.

"I just happened to be there," he said. "I think I've been a caring person in my life. I saw somebody in need, and it looked like a situation to obviously insert myself and help out."

The aftermath was a bit surreal. After the woman was taken away, Tumpane called his wife, his arms still shaking.

"Not too many times you call your wife and say you helped save somebody's life," he said. "A really special moment."

One that stayed with him even as he prepared to call balls and strikes behind home plate Wednesday night. During breaks in the action his eyes would drift to the bridge just a few hundred feet behind the center field wall at PNC Park.

"It's also hard when you stand back behind home plate and look and you see the bridge in the distance, In between innings and whatnot, just thinking of how things could have maybe been," he said. "Glad it was this way."

Tumpane has no experience in crisis management or suicide prevention. He's spent 16 years living the nomadic life of an umpire. Asked what was going through his head while he tried to coax the woman back to safety, Tumpane just shrugged his shoulders. How do you explain the unexplainable?

"I happened to be in the right spot at the right time," he said. "Tried to be as comforting as I could and talk her through it. Thankfully that was the outcome."