Justin Upton went 4-for-4 and homered yet again while Paul Maholm pitched one-hit ball for seven innings in the Braves’ 2-0 defeat of the Marlins on Monday.
Upton leads the majors six homers, one more than Seattle’s Mike Morse, and he also chipped in with his second double tonight. He scored both runs for the 6-1 Braves.
Maholm, meanwhile, was Upton’s equivalent on the mound, pitching shutout ball for his second straight start. He struck out seven Marlins tonight, giving him 13 K’s in 12 2/3 innings on the season. Since arriving in Atlanta in a trade with the Cubs last summer, he’s struck out 72 batters in 81 1/3 innings, a rate that dwarfs anything he did previously with the Pirates. Before joining the Braves, he averaged 5.6 K/9 IP. Since, he’s at 8.0.
In all, the Braves allowed just two hits tonight, singles from Placido Polanco and Rob Brantly. Giancarlo Stanton walked three times and struck out once in his four plate appearances. He’s hitting .174 and has yet to drive in a run this season.
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.