This is a coincidence — the event was already planned — but the tonight is Military Appreciation Night at Nationals Park. For the occasion, military personnel, be they active or retired, with a valid military ID can receive up to four free tickets to the game. All you need to do is to go to the First Street will call window.
A couple of hours ago Nats’ reliever Drew Storen tweeted “I expect some epic U-S-A chants tonight at Military Appreciation night at Nats Park.” There has been increasing buzz all day about how the game may serve as a bit of a defacto bin Laden celebration rally of some sort.
I hope that chanting doesn’t become a thing. It was cool in Philly last night because it was spontaneous and emotional. But we had so much orchestrated patriotism in the wake of 9/11. In some ways, it caused us to lose the thread of what was really going on and substitute real feeling and reflection for something that seemed rote at best and manipulative at worst.
I hope that doesn’t happen again.
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.