This wasn’t quite in the Bob Boone/Pete Rose echelon of deflected pop-up catches, but Angels reliever Mike Morin made a good one nonetheless on Sunday afternoon against the Astros. With a runner on first base and two outs in the top of the eighth inning, Jonathan Singleton popped up a 3-1 fastball.
Catcher Hank Conger and first baseman C.J. Cron both came in to attempt to catch the ball a few feet in front of the pitchers mound, but they bumped into each other. The ball deflected off of Hank Conger’s mitt and a crouching Morin sprang to his side to make the catch before the ball hit the ground.
The Angels went on to win 6-1, polishing off a four-game series sweep of the Astros. At 51-36, the Angels have the second-best record in the American League. The best team happens to play in the AL West as well, however, as the Athletics lead by 3.5 games with a 55-33 record.
The Astros’ bullpen did yeoman’s work in place of the injured Dallas Keuchel on Monday against the Tigers. Keuchel is temporarily sidelined with a pinched nerve in his neck.
Brad Peacock made the spot start, limiting the Tigers to one hit and two walks with eight strikeouts over 4 1/3 innings. Chris Devenski took over with one out in the fifth, finishing out that inning as well as the sixth and seventh, facing the minimum. Will Harris pitched a perfect eighth and Ken Giles closed out the 1-0 victory in the ninth. Devenski, Harris, and Giles each had two strikeouts.
The Astros scored their only run in the bottom of the first inning as George Springer drew a leadoff walk, then scored on Jose Altuve‘s one-out double. Tigers starter Brad Fulmer pitched well enough to win on most days, giving up the lone run in seven frames.
After Monday’s win, the Astros became the first team to reach 30 wins, sitting on a 30-15 record. With a +55 run differential, even their expected record matches up with their actual record.
Braves second baseman Brandon Phillips became the 337th player in baseball history to hit 200 career home runs, driving a solo home run to left-center field during Monday night’s home game against the Pirates. Phillips is the 14th second baseman (who played a min. of 75 percent of his career games at the position) to rack up at least 200 career home runs.
Phillips, 35, entered Monday’s action batting .290/.345/.405 with two home runs and 12 RBI in 142 plate appearances. If he’s anything, he’s consistent, as he finished with an adjusted OPS between 90-99 (100 is average) every year between 2012-16 and it was sitting at 97 coming into Monday.