Tim Lincecum appeared to find himself while pitching in the bullpen this postseason, but that success hasn’t translated in his start tonight in Game 4 of the NLCS against the Cardinals.
Pitching exclusively out of the stretch, Lincecum allowed a single to Jon Jay and a walk to Matt Carpenter to begin the game before Matt Holliday delivered an RBI single. Angel Pagan made a nice running catch on a sinking liner off the bat of Allen Craig for the first out, but Carpenter scored on the play to make it 2-0.
The Cardinals had the chance for more in the bottom of the first, but Lincecum got Yadier Molina to fly out for the second out and worked around a single by David Freese to get Daniel Descalso to strike out swinging.
Coming into tonight’s start, Lincecum had allowed just one run on three hits over 6 1/3 relief innings this postseason to go along with nine strikeouts and one walk.
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.