Russell Branyan's 20th homer yet another solo shot

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All-or-nothing slugger Russell Branyan hit his 20th homer Wednesday off Josh Beckett, but it came in a losing cause as the Red Sox topped the Mariners 5-3. It was his 12th solo homer of the year, and he has just 45 RBI.
Of course, the Mariners aren’t putting a ton of guys on base for Branyan. But the modest RBI totals are typical for the 34-year-old. In 2009, Branyan had 31 homers and 76 RBI in 431 at-bats for the Mariners. In 2008, he somehow drove in just 20 runs while hitting 12 homers in 132 at-bats for the Brewers.
Branyan is one of four players in baseball history to average less than 2.5 RBI per home run over a career of at least 1,000 plate appearances. You might be able to guess two of the others:
Russell Branyan – 184 HR, 441 RBI – 2.40 RBI/HR
Mark McGwire – 583 HR, 1,414 RBI – 2.43 RBI/HR
Adam Dunn – 347 HR, 855 RBI – 2.46 RBI/HR
Bill Schroeder – 61 HR, 152 RBI – 2.49 RBI/HR
Ken Phelps – 123 HR, 313 RBI – 2.54 RBI/HR
Branyan is also the all-time leader in homers for players with fewer than 500 RBI:
1. Russell Branyan – 184 HR, 441 RBI
2. Steve Balboni – 181 HR, 495 RBI
3. Ron Kittle – 176 HR, 460 RBI
4. Nick Swisher – 155 HR, 476 RBI
5. Chris Hoiles – 151 HR, 449 RBI
6. Cory Snyder – 149 HR, 488 RBI
6. Dan Uggla – 149 HR, 440 RBI
8. Bo Jackson – 141 HR, 415 RBI
8. John Jaha – 141 HR, 490 RBI
8. Ty Wigginton – 141 HR, 488 RBI
None of that makes Branyan a bad player. But he is unique. Throw strikeouts into the mix, and I’m guessing one could use Baseball-Reference’s play index to create dozens of leaderboards on which he’s an all-time leader.

Cardinals snap Familia’s saves streak, rally past Mets 5-4

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NEW YORK — Yadier Molina and pinch-hitter Kolten Wong each stroked an RBI double in the ninth inning, and the St. Louis Cardinals ended Jeurys Familia‘s streak of 52 straight saves in rallying past the New York Mets 5-4 on Wednesday night.

Yoenis Cespedes hit a go-ahead homer off Adam Wainwright to cap a three-run comeback in the seventh that gave the Mets a 4-3 lead. But then Familia, who hadn’t blown a regular-season save opportunity since July 30 last year, finally faltered.

Jedd Gyorko drew a one-out walk in the ninth and was replaced by pinch-runner Randal Grichuk. Molina hit the next pitch to deep center field, and Grichuk scored standing up to tie it.

Molina was thrown out at third by Familia (2-2) on pinch-hitter Jeremy Hazelbaker’s comebacker, but Hazelbaker stole second and scored when Wong lined a double just inside the left-field line.

Familia’s franchise-record saves streak was the third-longest in major league history behind Tom Gordon (54) and Eric Gagne (84).

Jonathan Broxton (3-2) tossed a scoreless eighth and Seung Hwan Oh got three quick outs for his sixth save.

Including a split of Tuesday’s doubleheader, St. Louis took two of three from the Mets in a matchup of NL wild-card contenders. It was only the second time in the past decade that the Cardinals have won a road series against the Mets.

Logan Verrett pitched seven efficient innings and slumping Neil Walker went 3 for 3 with a base on balls for the third-place Mets, who have alternated wins and losses in their last 13 games. They dropped 5 1/2 games behind NL East-leading Washington.

New York did manage to keep Gyorko and the rest of St. Louis’ hitters in the ballpark after the Cardinals had homered in 17 consecutive games – their longest streak since a club-record run of 19 games in 2006.

Gyorko went deep in both ends of Tuesday’s doubleheader, giving him seven homers in nine games.

Matt Holliday hit a two-run double off Verrett with two outs in the third, and Matt Adams followed with an RBI double that made it 3-1.

Wainwright, who entered 3-0 with a 0.93 ERA in July, nursed that lead until the seventh – repeatedly pitching out of trouble. He nearly did so again after striking out Curtis Granderson and Asdrubal Cabrera with runners at the corners.

But then Travis d'Arnaud scored on a wild pitch and Cespedes socked a two-run homer off the facing of the second deck in left-center on the 117th and final pitch from the 34-year-old Wainwright.

 

 

Report: Mariners have interest in Reds’ Jay Bruce

ATLANTA, GA - JUNE 14:  Jay Bruce #32 of the Cincinnati Reds waits to bat prior to hitting a three-run homer in the first inning against the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field on June 14, 2016 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
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ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reports that the Mariners are among the teams that have contacted the Reds about outfielder Jay Bruce. The Mariners enter play Wednesday 51-48, six games out of first place in the AL West and 4.5 games out of the second AL Wild Card slot. Adding an impact bat like Bruce could help in their effort to reach the postseason.

Norichika Aoki and Seth Smith have handled the bulk of the playing time in left field. While Smith has hit well, Aoki has not. Bruce came into Wednesday’s game against the Giants batting .271/.324/.567 with 24 home runs and a league-best 78 RBI.

Bruce can become a free agent after the season if his controlling team declines his $13 million club option for the 2017 season by paying him a $1 million buyout. If he’s traded mid-season, his new team won’t be able to make him a qualifying offer, so the club option may be more enticing than it looks at first glance.