The Home Run Derby created some unexpected drama when Mets third baseman David Wright picked childhood friend Michael Cuddyer over Pirates third baseman Pedro Alvarez. This caught the ire of Pirates fans, who felt that Alvarez was much more deserving of a selection. On Thursday, Cuddyer’s teammate and fellow Derby participant Carlos Gonzalez bowed out due to a sprained right middle finger. Alvarez took his spot, at long last.
On Friday, the Mets opened up a three-game series in Pittsburgh against the Pirates to wrap up the first half. Though Alvarez was in the Derby, Pirates fans jeered Wright with varying degrees of enthusiasm throughout the weekend. This upset Mets manager Terry Collins, who insists Pirates fans “better reevaluate what’s going on”.
Via Rob Biertempfel:
“When you start booing David Wright, you better re-evaluate what’s going on,” Collins said after the Mets’ 4-2 win. “Because there’s nobody who plays the game any harder or who epitomizes what you want a major league player to be than David Wright, for heaven’s sakes.”
Collins is making a mountain out of a molehill here, as Wright never really had a full cascade of heckling the way Robinson Cano did last year from Kansas City fans. Cano had passed over Butler last year as the captain of the AL Derby squad. As the host of the All-Star Game festivities were held at Kaufmann Stadium, Butler’s home ballpark, Cano was lustily booed before he took his cuts in last year’s Derby, in which he went homerless. Wright has heard much, much worse from fans in Philadelphia and in the Bronx.
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.