Trouble once again seeks out, finds A.J. Pierzynski

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Between the second and third innings of last night’s loss to the Twins, the White Sox had an interesting little incident in the dugout involving A.J. Pierzynski and Alexei Ramirez:

Before the inning ended, Alexi Casilla stole second base, with
Ramirez covering second but the ball sailing past him. The Sox got out
of the inning, but television cameras caught Ramirez and Pierzynski
exchanging words. Moments later, with Pierzynski sitting next to
starting pitcher John Danks, manager Ozzie Guillen picked up a bucket
of gum and spiked it. The gum scattered in front of the dugout.

I’ll give you a few moments to catch your breath upon hearing the shocking news
of Pierzynski’s involvement in something like that. Seriously. Breathe
in, breathe out. OK, ready to continue? As always, Ozzie Guillen provided some good quotes when asked what caused the ruckus:

That’s us, that’s private. I don’t like my players digging into each
other for no reason. I’m the one that makes those calls, I’m the one
that gets into the players’ butts. I was a little upset about it, but
that’s part of the game. I was upset with the way we were playing, too,
and everything came together in the same inning. I was upset because
things like that can’t happen. I’m the one that puts the fingers on the
players because this is my job, and anybody have a problem with that
they know what to do.

Teammates fighting, gum flying, managers getting into players’ butts. What a party!

Red Sox set a new major league record with 11 strikeouts in a row

BALTIMORE, MD - SEPTEMBER 20: Starting pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez #52 of the Boston Red Sox works the first inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on September 20, 2016 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Patrick Smith/Getty Images
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Lost in the nifty base running by Dustin Pedroia that won Sunday’s game against the Rays, the Red Sox set a new major league record by striking out 11 batters in a row, per Peter Abraham of The Boston Globe. Starter Eduardo Rodriguez struck out the final six Rays he faced and reliever Heath Hembree struck out five Rays in a row after that. Tom Seaver had the previous consecutive strikeout streak of 10, set on April 22, 1970 against the Padres.

The Red Sox also set a team record with 23 strikeouts in total: 13 by Rodriguez, five by Hembree, one by Matt Barnes, and four by Joe Kelly. Per Abraham, that’s the most strikeouts in a 10-inning game since at least 1913 and the most in a game of any length since 2004.

For Rodriguez, Sunday marked the first double-digit strikeout game of his career. He has pitched quite well since returning to the rotation at the start of the second half. Over 13 starts, the lefty has a 3.10 ERA with a 70/23 K/BB ratio in 72 2/3 innings.

Dodgers clinch NL West on Charlie Culberson’s walk-off home run

WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 20: Charlie Culberson #6 of the Los Angeles Dodgers runs to first base after hitting a single RBI in the second inning against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park on July 20, 2016 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Matt Hazlett/Getty Images)
Matt Hazlett/Getty Images
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Dodgers second baseman Charlie Culberson delivered a walk-off solo home run in the bottom of the 10th inning, clinching the NL West for the Dodgers on Sunday afternoon. What a way to celebrate Vin Scully’s final home game behind the microphone.

The Dodgers were trailing 2-1 in the seventh inning, but shortstop Corey Seager tripled in a run to tie the game. Rockies outfielder David Dahl untied the game in the top of the ninth with a two-out solo home run off of Kenley Jansen. But Seager once again rose to the occasion, blasting a game-tying solo shot in the bottom half of the ninth against Adam Ottavino. That would set the stage for Culberson in the next frame.

Culberson, a former Rockie, came into the afternoon with a .591 OPS and zero home runs in 53 plate appearances. He finished the afternoon 3-for-5 with the homer.

It’s the fourth consecutive season in which the Dodgers have won the NL West. The Cubs have clinched the best record, which means they’ll play the winner of the Wild Card game. The Dodgers will play the Nationals in the NLDS. The Nationals have a 1.5-game lead over the Dodgers for home-field advantage, so both teams are still playing for something of importance in the regular season’s final week.