Mariners call up Justin Smoak, place Michael Saunders on the disabled list

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Mariners outfielder Michael Saunders is headed back to the disabled list. Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune reports that Saunders has been diagnosed with an oblique injury, which he suffered on a check-swing in the eighth inning of Thursday’s game against the Twins. Saunders was previously on the disabled list between June 11-27 due to inflammation of the A/C joint in his right shoulder.

Greg Johns of MLB.com reports that it’s a Grade 2 oblique strain. According to manager Lloyd McClendon, “it’s going to be a while” before Saunders can get back on the field. Saunders had been performing well for the Mariners prior to his bout with the injury bug. In 219 plate appearances, he slashed .276/.327/.434 with six home runs and 28 RBI.

In a related move, the Mariners have called up Justin Smoak from Triple-A Tacoma. Smoak went on the disabled list on June 10 with a strained left quad and was optioned to Tacoma on July 4 after having rehabbed for two weeks there. In 19 games at Triple-A, Smoak hit three home runs with an .824 OPS in 74 plate appearances.

Smoak struggled at the big league level, slashing .208/.282/.361 with seven home runs and 28 RBI over 241 plate appearances.

Kenley Jansen’s consecutive saves streak ends at 34

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Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen gave up three runs in the top of the ninth inning during Sunday’s game against the Braves, blowing his first save since August 26 last season. He had converted 34 consecutive saves.

Jansen yielded back-to-back singles to lead off the ninth inning, staked to a 4-1 lead. After getting two outs, Matt Adams hit a three-run home run down the right field line to knot the game at four apiece.

After Sunday’s lackluster performance, Jansen is now 24-for-25 in save chances this season with a 1.49 ERA and a 62/2 K/BB ratio in 42 1/3 innings.

Zach Britton sets American League record with 55th consecutive save

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Orioles closer Zach Britton finished Sunday’s 9-7 victory over the Astros with a scoreless ninth inning, earning his sixth save of the season. He has now earned the save in 55 consecutive opportunities dating back to September 2015, setting a new American League record. Tom Gordon previously held the record with 54 consecutive saves. Eric Gagne holds the major league record at 84.

Britton’s last blown save came on September 20, 2015, then converted two more saves before the end of the regular season. He went 47-for-47 in save chances last season and is six-for-six so far this year.

Along with his six saves, Britton has a 2.65 ERA and a 13/8 K/BB ratio in 17 innings this season. The lefty came off the disabled list earlier this month after missing two months with a strained left forearm.