Denard Span’s collision at the plate with Royals catcher Brayan Pena didn’t look like much Friday night and he was able to play yesterday, but the Twins’ center fielder is now out of the lineup and will head back to Minnesota to have his dizziness examined.
Span chose to slide hard into Pena rather than reenact the Scott Cousins-Buster Posey incident by running the catcher over, yet even after avoiding a bigger collision he told reporters that he’s been “foggy” since and is “definitely scared.”
Span is the latest in a seemingly never-ending string of injured Twins, as Joe Mauer, Jim Thome, Jason Kubel, Tsuyoshi Nishioka, Delmon Young, Francisco Liriano, Joe Nathan, Glen Perkins, Kevin Slowey, Jose Mijares, and Jason Repko have all spent at least one stint on the disabled list.
And one of the few regulars who hasn’t been on the shelf, Justin Morneau, has been in and out of the lineup with neck problems after spending eight months on the sidelines following a concussion. Similar to Morneau’s situation last year Span’s dizziness is particularly worrisome because he missed time with vertigo in 2009. He’s been the Twins’ best player all season.
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.