After missing the past three months and 85 games with a hamstring injury Evan Longoria will be back in the Rays’ lineup for tomorrow night’s game.
In preparation for his long-awaited return the Rays optioned Will Rhymes to Triple-A, clearing a roster spot for Longoria to come off the disabled list.
Tampa Bay was 15-8 when Longoria went down on April 30, but has gone just 41-44 since then while using seven different players at third base.
Longoria previously tried to come back in June, but experienced a setback while rehabbing in the minors and had to be shut down again. This time around he played eight games at Triple-A, going 5-for-25 (.200) with seven walks and zero extra-base hits. He also admitted to feeling hamstring soreness as recently as two days ago, so the Rays will definitely have to keep a close eye on Longoria down the stretch.
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.