Not that Albert Pujols, the Cardinals, or any Cardinals fans care much after last night, but his streak of consecutive seasons with a .300 batting average, 30 homers, and 100 RBIs came to an end at 10.
And just barely, as Pujols finished with a .299 batting average and 99 RBIs to go along with his 37 homers.
That he came so close is pretty remarkable considering Pujols got off to a career-worst start, spent time on the disabled list with a fractured forearm, and then came back much sooner than expected from the injury.
Had the Cardinals and Braves remained tied for the Wild Card the statistics from a Game 163 tiebreaker would have counted towards Pujols’ season totals. As is he hit .355 with five homers and 20 RBIs in 26 September games.
Not only is Pujols tied with Lou Gehrig and Manny Ramirez for second place on the all-time list with 10 seasons of .300-30-100, they were the first 10 seasons of his career. Babe Ruth holds the record with 12.
Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas belted his 37th home run on Wednesday evening, setting a new club record for homers in a single season. Moustakas had been tied with Steve Balboni, who hit 36 home runs in 1985.
The home run came on a 2-0, 82 MPH slider from Blue Jays reliever Carlos Ramirez, boosting the Royals’ lead to 13-0 in the top of the sixth inning.
Moustakas, 29, entered the night batting .271/.313/.523 with 82 RBI and 71 runs scored in 560 plate appearances.
Red Sox starter Chris Sale recorded his 300th strikeout of the 2017 season on Wednesday night against the Orioles. The momentous occasion occurred with two outs in the eighth inning. Facing Ryan Flaherty, Sale threw a slider that caught the strike zone low and inside for called strike three.
Sale and Clayton Kershaw (2015) are the only pitchers to strikeout 300-plus batters in a season in the last 15 years. Curt Schilling and Randy Johnson accomplished the feat in 2002, and Johnson also did it in 2001 and 2000. Pedro Martinez had been the only other Red Sox pitcher to have a 300-strikeout season.
Through eight scoreless innings, Sale limited the Orioles to four hits with no walks and 13 strikeouts. The Red Sox offense gave him plenty of run support. Mookie Betts and Devin Marrero each hit two-run home runs in the fourth. Hanley Ramirez added a two-run double in the sixth and Dustin Pedroia hit a two-run double of his own in the eighth to make it 8-0.