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Benches clear twice in Indians vs. Royals game

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Indians right-hander Jeanmar Gomez, third baseman Jack Hannahan and skipper Manny Acta were all ejected from Saturday night’s game against the Royals after two different (but not unrelated) benches-clearing incidents in the third inning.

The Associated Press, via NBCSports.com, has all the details from Kansas City’s Kauffman Stadium:

Kansas City starter Jonathan Sanchez plunked Cleveland outfielder Shin-Soo Choo in the top of the third, causing the benches and bullpens to clear the first time. No punches were thrown and order was restored, though the angst apparently simmered until the bottom half.

Gomez wasted no time plunking [Mike] Moustakas when he came to bat, and the Royals’ third baseman glared out to the mound as he headed for first. Gomez was immediately ejected by plate umpire Gary Darling as players again spilled onto the field.

Hannahan was again in the middle of the fracas, this time with Royals manager Ned Yost right in his face. Moustakas wound up with his jersey ripped loose before the teams were separated.

Sanchez threw the pitch that broke Choo’s left thumb last June, so the initial reaction was not unsurprising. What is a bit odd is that no Royals were punished. Perhaps some fines or suspensions are coming.

Albert Pujols passes Mark McGwire with 584th career home run

CLEVELAND, OH - AUGUST 11: Albert Pujols #5 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim runs out a double during the ninth inning against the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field on August 11, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio. The Indians defeated the Angels 14-3. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
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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.

Zach Britton allowed an earned run for the first time since April 30

BALTIMORE, MD - AUGUST 22:  Zach Britton #53 of the Baltimore Orioles pitches for his 38th save in the ninth inning during a baseball game against the the Washington Nationals at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on August 22, 2016 in Baltimore, Maryland.  The Oriole won 4-3.  (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)
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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.