It’s been an awful week by just about any measure. The Astros are going to help honor those who were lost, injured or affected by the awfulness that went down, however:
The Astros will honor the victims of Boston and West, Texas with a moment of silence at the beginning of tonight’s game.
In addition, the Houston Astros are encouraging fans attending games during this homestand against Cleveland and Seattle (April 19-24) to please bring donation items to assist with the relief efforts in the aftermath of the devastation caused by the explosion at the fertilizer plant this week in West, Texas.
If you’re going to the game, or if you’re in the area, the items the Astros are collecting include the following:
- gift cards for grocery stores or home supply stores;
- travel size toiletries;
- powdered sports drinks;
- toilet paper;
- hand sanitizer;
- non-perishable canned or boxed food items;
- clean sheets and towels (new or gently used); and
- unopened boxed or bagged dog and cat food.
Cash donations will also be accepted and will be directed to the ongoing relief efforts.
The Red Sox can thank the Orioles for not having to fight to clinch the division on Thursday or later. The Orioles came from behind to defeat the Blue Jays 3-2 on Wednesday evening, clinching the AL East for the Red Sox.
A few minutes after that game went final, the Red Sox squandered a 3-0 lead taken in the eighth inning, culminating in a walk-off grand slam by Mark Teixeira in the bottom of the ninth inning. Closer Craig Kimbrel started the ninth, but didn’t have control over any of his pitches. He allowed a leadoff single followed by three consecutive walks to force in a run. Joe Kelly relieved Kimbrel and seemed to be close to wriggling out of the jam, getting Starlin Castro to strike out looking and Didi Gregorius to pop up. But after starting Teixeira with a first-pitch curve ball for a strike, Teixera clobbered a 99 MPH fastball, sending it over the fence in right-center to end the game.
For the Yankees, the come-from-behind victory was crucial as it staved off Wild Card elimination for one more day.
This is the first time the Red Sox have clinched the AL East since 2013, also the last year they won the World Series.
Pirates first baseman John Jaso hit for the cycle on Wednesday night against the Cubs, becoming the first Pirate to do so since Daryl Ward against the Cardinals on May 26, 2004. Jaso’s cycle is the first to be hit at PNC Park. It’s also the third cycle of the 2016 season, as Jaso joins Freddie Freeman and Rajai Davis.
Jaso singled in the second inning for his first hit. He smashed a three-run homer in the fourth inning to break a 1-1 tie. He hit an RBI double in the fifth to push the Cubs’ lead to 5-1. Then, in the seventh, Jaso hit an RBI triple to make it an 8-4 game.
Coming into Wednesday night, Jaso was hitting an adequate .259/.342/.384 with six home runs and 35 RBI in 416 plate appearances. He’s been limited mostly to right-handed pitching as the Pirates have used David Freese and Josh Bell at the position as well.