R.A. Dickey’s incredible stretch of success continued tonight, as he carved up the Orioles for his second straight one-hitter as part of a 5-0 victory.
There was no controversy over the lone hit tonight, as Wilson Betemit ripped a clean single to right-center field with two outs in the top of the fifth inning. Still, he was nothing short of sensational, striking out a career-high 13 while walking just two.
Dickey is the first pitcher to throw back-to-back one-hitters since Dave Steib with the Blue Jays in 1988. The 37-year-old knuckleballer is the first National League hurler to do it since Jim Tobin of the Boston Braves back in 1944.
Over Dickey’s last six starts, he has allowed just two runs (one earned) while striking out 63 and walking five over 48 2/3 innings. He now leads the majors with 11 wins and finds himself tied for the major league lead in both ERA (2.00 ERA, tied with Brandon Beachy) and strikeouts (103 strikeouts, tied with Justin Verlander). Simply remarkable.
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.