Cardinals left-hander Jaime Garcia entered Saturday’s action with one of the top stat lines in all of Major League Baseball.
He had a 5-0 record, a 1.93 ERA, and a 57/13 K/BB ratio through his first 65 1/3 innings of the 2011 regular season.
Unfortunately, just about everything went wrong Saturday night at Denver’s Coors Field.
Garcia allowed the Rockies’ first five hitters to reach base and wound up surrendering six runs in the first inning alone. The start didn’t get any better in the second or third frames and Garcia was finally pulled in the fourth after allowing a career-high 12 runs and a career-high 11 hits. At one point he was issued an automatic ball for going to his mouth between pitches. Another time he flubbed a rundown that led to a Colorado score.
Rockies catcher Chris Iannetta did a big chunk of the damage, finishing 4-for-5 with two home runs and six RBI. Ryan Spilborghs also had a big night, going 3-for-4 with four RBI and two runs scored.
Garcia has great stuff and remains a top young arm, but regression can come quickly and the 24-year-old native of Mexico is now sporting a more realistic 3.28 ERA and 1.19 WHIP through 11 starts.
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.