San Diego and Cleveland made a minor trade, with the Padres sending outfielder Aaron Cunningham to the Indians for minor-league pitcher Cory Burns.
Cunningham was once considered a pretty solid prospect, but he’s now been traded four times since mid-2007 and is a 25-year-old with a career .231 batting average and .664 OPS in 392 plate appearances as a big leaguer. He’s been much better in the minors and is capable of serving as a solid backup outfielder or platoon starter versus left-handed pitchers, but that’s probably about it.
Burns’ raw stuff is underwhelming, but the 2008 eighth-round pick has racked up impressive strikeout numbers in the minors and saved 35 games with a 2.11 ERA and 70/15 K/BB ratio in 60 innings at Double-A this year. He’ll likely begin 2012 at Triple-A, but the 24-year-old right-hander could claim a bullpen job in San Diego fairly soon.
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.