Clutching to a 4-3 lead in the top of the eighth inning on Friday night against the Phillies, Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson brought in lefty Oliver Perez as the Phillies were leading off with two lefties of their own in Chase Utley and Ryan Howard. Perez retired Utley on a weak fly ball to shallow left-center. Before Howard could settle into the batter’s box, Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg strode towards home plate umpire Mark Wegner to start a conversation. As Steve Berthiaume noted on the D-Backs’ TV broadcast, the conversation was about the slits in Perez’s undershirt, which may have been a distraction.
The umpires then grouped up and conferred. Wegner approached Perez on the mound and informed him that he would have to change or remove the undershirt before he could continue pitching. Annoyed, Perez stomped off of the field and yanked his button-up uniform over his head before heading into the dugout to meet the dress code.
Perez came back out and threw a warm-up pitch with the fire of a thousand angry gods, it appeared, before resuming play against Howard. If Sandberg’s concern was a tactical ploy, it worked, because Howard singled off of Perez, prompting Gibson to bring in the right-handed Brad Ziegler to face Marlon Byrd. Byrd singled to put runners on first and second, but Ziegler induced both Domonic Brown and Carlos Ruiz into grounding out to end the threat. The D-Backs would go on to win 5-4.
The whole incident involving Perez was fascinating. You can watch it below:
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.