Craig Kimbrel is the most dominant pitcher in baseball and he’s also apparently a pretty good golfer. Or at least good enough to sink a hole-in-one at the Chipper Jones/Tim Hudson charity tournament yesterday:
Mark Bowman of MLB.com has the details:
Kimbrel … used his four-iron to make quick work of the par-3 No. 2 hole on the National Course, striking the ball 203 yards into the wind and directly into the hole for his first-ever ace.
“I didn’t even know it was a hole-in-one at first,” a beaming Kimbrel said. “I thought it came up short and went into the sand.” …
His prize for this closest of “closest to the pin” measurements? “A box of golf balls,” he said proudly.
Once in junior high I was golfing with a few friends and we conspired to convince one of the guys in our group that he’d hit a hole-in-one, specifically so he would start bragging about it and then, months later, we could collectively tell him it was all fake. It turned out more sad than funny, really, but then again if we hadn’t done it what would I be writing at the end of this post right now? Everything happens for a reason!
Mostly, though, congratulations to Kimbrel on the box of golf balls.
Lost in the nifty base running by Dustin Pedroia that won Sunday’s game against the Rays, the Red Sox set a new major league record by striking out 11 batters in a row, per Peter Abraham of The Boston Globe. Starter Eduardo Rodriguez struck out the final seven Rays he faced and reliever Heath Hembree struck out five Rays in a row after that. Tom Seaver had the previous consecutive strikeout streak of 10, set on April 22, 1970 against the Padres.
The Red Sox also set a team record with 23 strikeouts in total: 13 by Rodriguez, five by Hembree, one by Matt Barnes, and four by Joe Kelly. Per Abraham, that’s the most strikeouts in a 10-inning game since at least 1913 and the most in a game of any length since 2004.
For Rodriguez, Sunday marked the first double-digit strikeout game of his career. He has pitched quite well since returning to the rotation at the start of the second half. Over 13 starts, the lefty has a 3.10 ERA with a 70/23 K/BB ratio in 72 2/3 innings.
Dodgers second baseman Charlie Culberson delivered a walk-off solo home run in the bottom of the 10th inning, clinching the NL West for the Dodgers on Sunday afternoon. What a way to celebrate Vin Scully’s final home game behind the microphone.
The Dodgers were trailing 2-1 in the seventh inning, but shortstop Corey Seager tripled in a run to tie the game. Rockies outfielder David Dahl untied the game in the top of the ninth with a two-out solo home run off of Kenley Jansen. But Seager once again rose to the occasion, blasting a game-tying solo shot in the bottom half of the ninth against Adam Ottavino. That would set the stage for Culberson in the next frame.
Culberson, a former Rockie, came into the afternoon with a .591 OPS and zero home runs in 53 plate appearances. He finished the afternoon 3-for-5 with the homer.
It’s the fourth consecutive season in which the Dodgers have won the NL West. The Cubs have clinched the best record, which means they’ll play the winner of the Wild Card game. The Dodgers will play the Nationals in the NLDS. The Nationals have a 1.5-game lead over the Dodgers for home-field advantage, so both teams are still playing for something of importance in the regular season’s final week.