Kris Bryant’s incredible season continued last night, as the Cubs prospect hit his minors-leading 40th home run and it was a 12th-inning walk-off bomb on “Kris Bryant jersey t-shirt night” at Triple-A Iowa.
Bryant joins Rangers prospect Joey Gallo last season as the only minor leaguers to reach 40 homers during the past five seasons and between Double-A and Triple-A the 22-year-old third baseman is now hitting .336 with 40 homers, 33 doubles, 74 walks, 15 steals, and a 1.126 OPS in 122 games.
That includes .313 with 18 homers and 13 doubles in 54 games since a midseason promotion to Triple-A, which is good for a 1.083 OPS that would lead the entire Pacific Coast League if he had enough games to qualify.
And here’s the video of his walk-off homer, via MiLB.com:
The Red Sox can thank the Orioles for not having to fight to clinch the division on Thursday or later. The Orioles came from behind to defeat the Blue Jays 3-2 on Wednesday evening, clinching the AL East for the Red Sox.
A few minutes after that game went final, the Red Sox squandered a 3-0 lead taken in the eighth inning, culminating in a walk-off grand slam by Mark Teixeira in the bottom of the ninth inning. Closer Craig Kimbrel started the ninth, but didn’t have control over any of his pitches. He allowed a leadoff single followed by three consecutive walks to force in a run. Joe Kelly relieved Kimbrel and seemed to be close to wriggling out of the jam, getting Starlin Castro to strike out looking and Didi Gregorius to pop up. But after starting Teixeira with a first-pitch curve ball for a strike, Teixera clobbered a 99 MPH fastball, sending it over the fence in right-center to end the game.
For the Yankees, the come-from-behind victory was crucial as it staved off Wild Card elimination for one more day.
This is the first time the Red Sox have clinched the AL East since 2013, also the last year they won the World Series.
Pirates first baseman John Jaso hit for the cycle on Wednesday night against the Cubs, becoming the first Pirate to do so since Daryl Ward against the Cardinals on May 26, 2004. Jaso’s cycle is the first to be hit at PNC Park. It’s also the third cycle of the 2016 season, as Jaso joins Freddie Freeman and Rajai Davis.
Jaso singled in the second inning for his first hit. He smashed a three-run homer in the fourth inning to break a 1-1 tie. He hit an RBI double in the fifth to push the Cubs’ lead to 5-1. Then, in the seventh, Jaso hit an RBI triple to make it an 8-4 game.
Coming into Wednesday night, Jaso was hitting an adequate .259/.342/.384 with six home runs and 35 RBI in 416 plate appearances. He’s been limited mostly to right-handed pitching as the Pirates have used David Freese and Josh Bell at the position as well.