Yesterday was filled with rumors about the Red Sox working on a trade for Bruce Chen to start a potential Game 163 tiebreaker, but instead the Royals left-hander took the mound as scheduled for his start against the Twins … and tossed eight shutout innings.
Oh, and it turns out the Red Sox didn’t need a starter today anyway.
Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com first reported the possibility of Chen going to Boston and Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star writes that the two sides worked on a deal throughout the day, but couldn’t come to terms. Presumably had they been relatively close to finding common ground in the trade talks the Royals would have pulled Chen from the meaningless start just in case.
Chen said afterward that he hoped the trade to Boston would happen because he’s “always wanted to help a team” reach the playoffs and “you want to be the guy.” Plus, as an impending free agent there’s no guarantee the 34-year-old will remain in Kansas City anyway. As a Type B free agent he’d bring back a compensatory draft pick upon signing elsewhere, so Dutton reports that the Royals requested a pair of prospects in return.
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.