Was it cool? Or was it, as some saw it, bush league — sort of like kissing your best friend's ex in front of him.
If you didn't see the play, Alburquerque came on with runners on the corners and two outs in the top of the ninth inning, heavy hitter Yoenis Cespedes at the plate.
Alburquerque jammed Cespedes, who weakly tapped the ball to the mound. After fielding it on one hop, Alburquerque kissed the ball before tossing it to first baseman Prince Fielder for the final out of the inning.
"We're not finished yet,'' Cespedes told the media after the game. "When I get back to Oakland, I am going to hit the ball hard against him.
"And I am going to kiss my bat.''
Kissing begets kissing, I guess.
But Alburquerque's kiss isn't something you see every day. Frankly, I don't recall another instance of a player sealing an out with a kiss in 40-plus years of watching the game.
Not even Mark Fidrych kissed the ball before hurling it toward home plate for another potential strikeout. The Bird just talked to it, gave it instructions on where to go — tell, not kiss — which isn't the same thing.
Alburquerque's kiss, Like Fidrych himself, seemed genuine, though. The play was huge, and Alburquerque's hot-second sense of relief makes sense. I mean, what Tigers fan didn't want to kiss that ball -- and Alburquerque with it?
After getting Cespedes, the Tigers got a run in the ninth to win 5-4 and take a 2-0 lead in the American League Division Series, which continues Tuesday night in Oakland.
So, if you're an Athletics fan, you might want to tell Alburquerque to kiss something else.
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