Josh Hamilton stole the show from the Yu Darvish-C.J. Wilson matchup on Friday, hitting two more homers as part of the Rangers’ 10-3 win over the Angels. He now has 17 homers on the season.
Thanks in part to a lengthy rain delay in the first, the much anticipated pitching showdown was largely a dud. Facing his former team for the first time, Wilson didn’t come back after the delay and was charged with four runs in one-third of an inning. Both of Hamilton’s homers were hit off Jerome Williams. Darvish gave up three runs in 5 1/3 innings in his fifth victory.
Hamilton, who has actually missed three games this season, is just the third player ever to hit 17 homers in his team’s first 33 games. Cy Williams of the 1923 Phillies and Frank Howard of the 1968 Senators also had 17.
Hamilton is also the sixth player to hit as many as eight homers in a five-game span, according to ESPN stats. Shawn Green had nine homers in five games in 2002.
Hamilton finished the night 3-for-4 after barely getting thrown out on his bid for an infield single in his last at-bat. He’s hitting .406 and has 40 RBI in 118 at-bats. He’s currently just eight homers away from matching his 2011 total of 25 in 487 at-bats.
The opposing No. 3 hitter hasn’t been so hot. Albert Pujols went 0-for-4 tonight to drop his average back to .192. With one homer on the season, he’s 36 away from matching his 2011 total.
Blue Jays’ outfielder Anthony Alford will miss at least 4-6 weeks after undergoing surgery on his left wrist, the team announced on Saturday. Alford was placed on the 10-day disabled list earlier in the week after sustaining a left hamate fracture on a foul pitch, and could miss significant time in what looks to be a lengthy rehab process. MLB.com’s Gregor Chisholm reports that the procedure has been scheduled for next week and will be performed by Dr. Donald Sheridan in Arizona.
Alford, 22, was called up to the majors from Double-A New Hampshire last Friday. He went hitless in his first three outings, finally catching a break against the Brewers on Tuesday when he pinch-hit a leadoff double in the seventh. The injury occurred two innings later when Alford fouled off a pitch in the ninth inning, fracturing his wrist in the process.
Alford will join eight other players on the Blue Jays’ disabled list, including outfielders Steve Pearce (calf strain), Dalton Pompey (concussion) and Darrell Cecillani (partial shoulder dislocation). He’s expected to be replaced by 24-year-old outfield prospect Dwight Smith Jr.
Good luck getting a hit against the Nationals this weekend. Stephen Strasburg followed Max Scherzer‘s 13-strikeout performance on Friday with a dazzling outing of his own on Saturday afternoon. The right-hander whiffed a career-best 15 batters in seven innings, allowing just three hits and a walk in the Nats’ 3-0 win.
It took Strasburg several innings to get into a groove after pitching into (and out of) a jam in the first inning. The Padres loaded the bases with Allen Cordoba‘s leadoff single, a throwing error by Ryan Zimmerman and a four-pitch walk to Cory Spangenberg. By the third, Strasburg was cruising, striking out the side on 18 pitches and keeping the Padres off the basepaths until the sixth. He recorded his 15th and final strikeout in the seventh inning, catching Padres’ prospect Franchy Cordero swinging on a 1-2 pitch to effectively end his outing.
While 15 strikeouts set a new career record for the Nationals’ ace, he came close to reaching the mark twice before. The first time, he struck out 14 of 24 batters during his major league debut against the 2010 Pirates, though the 5-2 win did little more than keep the Nationals neck-and-neck with the Marlins at the bottom of the NL East. Five years later, he tied his 14-strikeout record against the 2015 Phillies, tossing a one-hitter in eight innings to cement his ninth victory of the season.
The only one who doesn’t seem overly enthused by the new record? Strasburg himself, who told MLB.com’s Jamal Collier and AJ Cassavell: “It’s pretty cool, but there’s another game five, six days from now. I’ll enjoy it tonight, but back to work tomorrow.”