It’s approximately 165 degrees here in the Midwest today, so heading out to see a day game was already an iffy proposition for Tigers fans. Those who used their day off work to do so were greeted with one of the uglier games of the past couple of weeks, as the Tigers and Orioles decided to have a pitching-optional Monday matinee.
O’s starter Kevin Millwood was pulled after a single inning having allowed five runs on four hits and a couple of walks. Staked to a 5-1 lead, Tigers starter Andy Oliver promptly came out and allowed five of his own in the top of the second, finishing his day having allowed six runs in an inning and two-thirds. The Tigers bullpen stopped the bleeding more effectively than the Orioles’ did, however, and Detroit ended up winning going away.
Millwood was supposed to be an attractive bit of merchandise at the trade deadline, but he’s been basically dreadful since the first of May, watching his ERA shoot from 3.15 to 5.77 in that time. As for Oliver, he looks to be the latest Detroit pitcher to need the Toledo cure, following Max Scherzer and Rick Porcello down 1-75.
Let’s hope this evening brings us some better baseball than this afternoon.
Angels DH Albert Pujols passed Mark McGwire for sole possession of 10th place on baseball’s all-time home run leaderboard, slugging his 584th career home run in the first inning of Wednesday night’s game against the Blue Jays.
Mike Trout had already slugged a solo home run off of Jays starter Marco Estrada to bring Pujols to the dish. Pujols jumped on an 0-1 cut fastball, sending it out to left-center field, clearing the fence by a few feet.
Pujols, who finished 4-for-4 with the homer and an RBI double, is batting .257/.321/.441 with 24 home runs and 99 RBI on the year. His next target on the home run leaderboard is Frank Robinson at 586.
Orioles closer Zach Britton had appeared in a major league record 43 consecutive games without allowing an earned run, spanning May 5 to August 22. That streak came to an end on Wednesday evening against the Nationals.
The Orioles entered the bottom of the ninth inning holding a 10-3 lead, but reliever Parker Bridwell immediately found himself in hot water. He yielded back-to-back singles to Danny Espinosa and Clint Robinson. He was able to strike out Trea Turner, but walked Jayson Werth to load the bases. Daniel Murphy then crushed his first career grand slam to make it a 10-7 game. That prompted manager Buck Showalter to bring in Britton.
Britton, too, was knocked around. He served up a single to Bryce Harper, followed by a double to Anthony Rendon that scored Harper, pushing the score to 10-8 and ending Britton’s streak. Wilson Ramos reached on a fielder’s choice back to Britton, but the lefty finally finished the game by getting Ryan Zimmerman to ground into a game-ending 4-6-3 double play.
Britton now holds a nice 0.69 ERA with 38 saves and a 61/16 K/BB ratio in 52 innings of work this season.