Los Angeles Angels manager Joe Maddon called for an intentional walk with the bases loaded in the fourth inning of Friday night's game against the Texas Rangers. It was a decision that quickly backfired, though the Angels managed to rally for a 9-6 win in Arlington, Texas.
With one out and the Angels trailing 3-2, Maddon visited with reliever Austin Warren before deciding to grant Rangers shortstop Corey Seager a free base, allowing Charlie Culberson to score from third to give Texas a two-run lead.
A sacrifice fly and a balk by Warren followed in the next two at-bats, bringing in two more runs to put L.A. in a four-run hole before an inning-ending foul out.
"I thought by walking Seager there, of course, just trying to stay out of a big blow," Maddon said. "And also just to stir the group up, quite frankly.
"I walked out there and looked at [Warren]. I said, 'How 'bout ...' and then he kind of said, 'Putting him on.' I said, 'Yeah, how 'bout putting him on?' And he kind of smiled. And then the infielders kind of dug it, too."
According to research by ESPN Stats & Information, Maddon's decision marked just the third time in the past 70 years that a player was intentionally walked with the bases loaded. Interestingly, he was the manager the last time it happened -- in 2008, when Tampa Bay Rays reliever Grant Balfour issued a walk to Josh Hamilton. The Arizona Diamondbacks also intentionally walked Barry Bonds with the bases loaded in 1998.
The two previous bases-loaded intentional walks both happened with two outs in the ninth inning. The Diamondbacks led by two runs when Bonds was walked, ultimately winning 8-7. The Rays led by four when Hamilton was walked and went on to win 7-4.
Maddon said Warren's balk was what really hurt the Angels after the intentional walk.
"The balk made it a two-run moment as opposed to a one-run moment, which I was perfectly happy with," he said.
Warren, 26, admitted he was surprised with Maddon's decision, but added, "I mean, I'm not going to tell Joe Maddon no."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.