Mark Buehrle’s magical season continued on Sunday as the 35-year-old lefty fired eight shutout innings against the Royals, limiting them to six hits and a walk while striking out three. The outing bumped up Buehrle’s record to 10-1, making him the first pitcher in baseball to reach the ten-win plateau this season. He also owns a 2.10 ERA, a 1.19 WHIP, and a 46/20 K/BB ratio in 81 1/3 innings.
Buehrle has been at least one of the three best pitchers in the American League thus far, with Masahiro Tanaka (8-1, 2.06) and Yu Darvish (5-2, 2.08) representing his stiffest competition.
If the season were to end today, Buehrle would be the first starting pitcher to reach double digit wins with an adjusted ERA (also known as ERA+) of 150 or better while striking out 15 percent or fewer of batters faced since Greg Maddux and Derek Lowe in 2002, according to Baseball Reference.
Meanwhile, the Blue Jays improve to 34-24, their best start since going 35-23 in 1993, according to ESPN Stats & Info. They are enjoying a 3.5-game first place lead over the Yankees in the AL East.
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.