Victor Martinez’s seventh-inning grand slam Wednesday gave him 89 RBI with just 10 homers this year. He’s suddenly picked up the homer pace with two in his last three games, but he still has a good chance to become the first player since Jeff Cirillo in 2000 to drive in 100 runs with 12 or fewer homers.
Only nine players have pulled that off in the last 50 years:
1. Floyd Robinson (1962, CWS): 11 HR, 109 RBI
2. Wes Parker (1970, LAD): 10 HR, 111 RBI
3. Thurman Munson (1975, NYY): 12 HR, 102 RBI
4. Willie Montanez (1975, DET): 10 HR, 101 RBI
5. Keith Hernandez (1979, STL): 11 HR, 105 RBI
6. Tom Herr (1985, STL): 8 HR, 110 RBI
7. Willie McGee (1987, STL): 11 HR, 105 RBI
8. Paul Molitor (1996, MIN): 9 HR, 113 RBI
9. Jeff Cirillo (2000, COL): 11 HR, 115 RBI
Martinez has gotten the job done by hitting .327 and collecting 33 doubles this season. Everyone else on the list also hit .300 with the exception of McGee, who got his 105 RBI despite a modest .285/.312/.434 line and a 94 OPS+ in the high-offense season of 1987.
Cardinals shortstop Aledmys Diaz was childhood friends with Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez, so it was expected when Diaz took time away from the team on Monday to visit Fernandez’s family in Miami. They grew up on the same street in Cuba and played for the same youth baseball team and both would ultimately wind up playing Major League Baseball in the United States.
In the bottom of the fourth inning of Tuesday night’s game against the Reds, Diaz hit a 2-1 Robert Stephenson fastball out to left-center field for a no-doubt grand slam. Teammate Yadier Molina gave Diaz a tight hug as he crossed home plate.
Before Tuesday’s game, Diaz said that the best way to honor Fernandez was to play with his passion, as MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosch reports. Diaz said, “I only play for [Fernandez’s] family right now.”
Here’s the video.
The Red Sox would have clinched the AL East if one of two things happened on Tuesday night: the Red Sox themselves beat the Yankees, or the Orioles defeated the Blue Jays. Neither happened.
The Jays soundly took down the Orioles 5-1 behind six strong innings from Aaron Sanchez. Josh Donaldson went 2-for-2 with a two-run home run and a pair of walks and leadoff batter Ezequiel Carrera went 2-for-3 with a solo homer, an RBI single, a walk, and three runs scored.
Meanwhile, at Yankee Stadium, the Yankees outlasted the Red Sox for a 6-4 win, responding to both two-run innings the Sox had in the sixth and seventh with a run in the sixth and two in the seventh. Gary Sanchez hit his 20th homer of the season. Didi Gregorius and Tyler Austin also contributed dingers. Starter Luis Cessa pitched well, limiting the Sox to two runs over six innings on five hits and a walk with two strikeouts. Red Sox starter David Price struggled, yielding six runs in 6 1/3 innings. Yankees reliever Tyler Clippard got into trouble in the ninth inning but was able to wiggle out of trouble to finish out the game.
Once again, the Red Sox will be able to clinch the AL East on Wednesday with a win over the Yankees or a Blue Jays loss to the Orioles.