Are we in for another second-half Pirates collapse?
A.J. Burnett allowed five runs — two earned — on 10 hits and two walks over 5 2/3 innings Saturday as the Bucs fell 5-4 to the Reds, dropping a second straight game at Cincinnati’s Great American Ball Park. Pittsburgh is now 0-2 since the All-Star break and 5-9 since the 81-game mark. It’ll be Jeff Locke vs. Homer Bailey in the series finale on Sunday.
The Pirates were in first place in the National League Central on July 25, 2011 before finishing 72-90. They were in first place on July 18, 2012 and then wound up 79-83. Right now they trail the Cardinals by two games and counting.
Your Saturday box scores and recaps:
Rays 4, Blue Jays 3
Phillies 4, Mets 5
Yankees 5, Red Sox 2
Braves 6, White Sox 10
Pirates 4, Reds 5
Tigers 5, Royals 6
Marlins 0, Brewers 6
Indians 2, Twins 3
Mariners 4, Astros 2
Padres 5, Cardinals 3
Dodgers 3, Nationals 1
Cubs 3, Rockies 9
Orioles 7, Rangers 4
Athletics 0, Angels 2
Diamondbacks 3, Giants 4
Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas belted his 37th home run on Wednesday evening, setting a new club record for homers in a single season. Moustakas had been tied with Steve Balboni, who hit 36 home runs in 1985.
The home run came on a 2-0, 82 MPH slider from Blue Jays reliever Carlos Ramirez, boosting the Royals’ lead to 13-0 in the top of the sixth inning.
Moustakas, 29, entered the night batting .271/.313/.523 with 82 RBI and 71 runs scored in 560 plate appearances.
Red Sox starter Chris Sale recorded his 300th strikeout of the 2017 season on Wednesday night against the Orioles. The momentous occasion occurred with two outs in the eighth inning. Facing Ryan Flaherty, Sale threw a slider that caught the strike zone low and inside for called strike three.
Sale and Clayton Kershaw (2015) are the only pitchers to strikeout 300-plus batters in a season in the last 15 years. Curt Schilling and Randy Johnson accomplished the feat in 2002, and Johnson also did it in 2001 and 2000. Pedro Martinez had been the only other Red Sox pitcher to have a 300-strikeout season.
Through eight scoreless innings, Sale limited the Orioles to four hits with no walks and 13 strikeouts. The Red Sox offense gave him plenty of run support. Mookie Betts and Devin Marrero each hit two-run home runs in the fourth. Hanley Ramirez added a two-run double in the sixth and Dustin Pedroia hit a two-run double of his own in the eighth to make it 8-0.