The Pirates could have a new-look outfield when they open an interleague series Tuesday in Toronto.
Bucs left fielder Jose Tabata had to be wheeled off on a cart in the bottom of the first inning Sunday after suffering a serious left quadriceps injury while legging out a bunt single. Garrett Jones entered the game as a pinch-runner and took over in right field in the second inning as Matt Diaz shifted to left.
The Pirates are trying for a surprising three-game sweep of the formerly red-hot Red Sox.
If the injury is as bad as it looked and Tabata needs to be placed on the disabled list, prospect Alex Presley could become Pittsburgh’s new starting left fielder. A 25-year-old from Monroe, Louisiana, Presley has posted a sparkling .336/.389/.500 batting line with eight home runs, 36 RBI and 18 stolen bases in 75 games this season for Triple-A Indianapolis. He was pulled from the lineup at Triple-A on Sunday, soon after news of Tabata’s injury made its way to Indy.
The Pirates entered Sunday’s play with a 39-37 record, three games back in the National League Central.
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.