MLB: Angels' Morales breaks leg celebrating his game-ending slam
ANAHEIM, Calif. — Kendry Morales took a leap toward home plate and all of a sudden, a jubilant trip around the bases turned into a deflating trip to the disabled list.
Morales broke his left leg after hitting a game-ending grand slam in the 10th inning of the Los Angeles Angels' 5-1 victory against Seattle on Saturday.
Morales landed awkwardly when he jumped on home plate and twisted his left ankle. He had to be carted off the field and taken to the hospital. He was placed on the 15-day disabled list.
"It'll change the way we celebrate," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said before the extent of Morales' injury was known. "It sure was exciting, but you always wonder if it's an accident waiting to happen. This is definitely unfortunate. We've just got to wait and see what we're dealing with. We'll know more information as the night moves on."
"It's definitely not the mood we would expect in the clubhouse after a win, but when something like that happens, it's definitely disturbing," he said. "These guys all feel bad about what happened, but you've got to pick up the pieces and get ready to play tomorrow. It's a lesson for all of us."
A smiling Morales threw down his helmet a few steps from the plate, took a hop and then jumped toward the plate as teammates began to pat him on the head. Morales quickly went down and grimaced as he rolled onto his back. He lay on the ground for at least 10 minutes and waved his arms to the cheering fans as he was driven away.
"Anytime you have a walk-off hit, everybody celebrates at home plate," said starting pitcher Jered Weaver, who was icing his arm while watching the situation unfold on television. "It was just a fluke thing. You never want to see anything like that happen to a guy like that who's having a great start to the season — or anybody for that matter. Hopefully it's not as serious as we think, but we're going to have to deal with it."
"Obviously, we're going to have to change the way we go about celebrating something like that," he said.
Players who hit game-winning home runs often toss off their batting helmets as they head home, hoping their teammates won't pat them too hard on the head during wild celebrations.
Angels center fielder Torii Hunter left the game with a bruised left hand after getting hit by a pitch in the first inning. The three-time All-Star and nine-time Gold Glove recipient is batting .272 with seven homers and 29 RBIs in 47 games. But his concern over Morales was his first priority.
"I'm just worried about Kendry. He's one of our best hitters. To see a great moment go sour like that, it's pretty bad. Hopefully he's just got a sprained ankle or something small like that," Hunter said.
"It's tough. You don't want to see him hurt like that. I was in here, checking out my X-rays and icing my wrist, but I was watching the game and screaming after the home run. But the screams just went to silence. I've never seen that in baseball, and that might be cut out in this organization."
Maicer Izturis hit a one-out double in the 10th against Mariners reliever Brandon League (4-5). Bobby Abreu was intentionally walked and Reggie Willits followed with a grounder that was misplayed by second baseman Chone Figgins, playing his first series at Anaheim since he left for free agency.
"I was trying to get down and it took a bad hop," Figgins said. "I wasn't trying to turn the double play. I was set up to throw to first but it kicked back toward me."
Morales drove the next pitch to left-center for his 11th home run and the eighth game-ending slam in Angels history.
Brian Fuentes (3-1) pitched a perfect 10th for the victory.
Seattle's Felix Hernandez took a five-hitter and a 1-0 lead into the eighth before Abreu hit a solo home run.
"It was sinker down and away and he put a good swing on it. It was a good pitch so you have to tip your hat," Hernandez said. "But everything was working with both sides of the plate with command of my fastball and my breaking ball. I pitched my best game today."
Hernandez came back for the ninth, but was taken out after giving up a leadoff walk to Hideki Matsui with his 111th pitch.
Weaver held the Mariners to three hits and an unearned run over seven innings and struck out six.
The Mariners took the lead in the fourth with the help of a throwing error by shortstop Erick Aybar.
NOTES: The Mariners are 0-6 in extra innings, the only team in the majors without a victory. Last season they were 9-7. ... Hernandez, who finished second in last year's AL Cy Young voting behind Kansas City's Zack Greinke, finished the month of May at 0-3 with a 4.79 ERA in six starts. ... The Angels won for the first time this season when trailing after seven innings (1-23).