On Sunday, new Athletics slugger Adam Dunn told reporters that the 2014 season “was probably going to be it“. He had yet to play in a game with his new team. Dunn homered in his first at-bat as an Athletic, finishing 2-for-4 with three runs scored on Monday. On Tuesday, he singled in a run as a pinch-hitter.
According to John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle, Dunn has apparently had a change of heart:
Dunn homered again in a losing effort against Mariners ace and AL Cy Young candidate Felix Hernandez this afternoon. He is now 38 home runs shy of 500 for his career, a milestone only 26 players in baseball history have achieved. If he can hit another 4-5 home runs, he can make it achievable in 2015 with a strong season, or chip enough of it away that he can play in 2016 and achieve it. But who knows how important that is to him.
This season, the 34-year-old has 21 home runs, 57 RBI, and a .226/.345/.444 slash line. Though a veteran of 14 seasons, Dunn has never played in a post-season game.
Lost in the nifty base running by Dustin Pedroia that won Sunday’s game against the Rays, the Red Sox set a new major league record by striking out 11 batters in a row, per Peter Abraham of The Boston Globe. Starter Eduardo Rodriguez struck out the final six Rays he faced and reliever Heath Hembree struck out five Rays in a row after that. Tom Seaver had the previous consecutive strikeout streak of 10, set on April 22, 1970 against the Padres.
The Red Sox also set a team record with 23 strikeouts in total: 13 by Rodriguez, five by Hembree, one by Matt Barnes, and four by Joe Kelly. Per Abraham, that’s the most strikeouts in a 10-inning game since at least 1913 and the most in a game of any length since 2004.
For Rodriguez, Sunday marked the first double-digit strikeout game of his career. He has pitched quite well since returning to the rotation at the start of the second half. Over 13 starts, the lefty has a 3.10 ERA with a 70/23 K/BB ratio in 72 2/3 innings.
Dodgers second baseman Charlie Culberson delivered a walk-off solo home run in the bottom of the 10th inning, clinching the NL West for the Dodgers on Sunday afternoon. What a way to celebrate Vin Scully’s final home game behind the microphone.
The Dodgers were trailing 2-1 in the seventh inning, but shortstop Corey Seager tripled in a run to tie the game. Rockies outfielder David Dahl untied the game in the top of the ninth with a two-out solo home run off of Kenley Jansen. But Seager once again rose to the occasion, blasting a game-tying solo shot in the bottom half of the ninth against Adam Ottavino. That would set the stage for Culberson in the next frame.
Culberson, a former Rockie, came into the afternoon with a .591 OPS and zero home runs in 53 plate appearances. He finished the afternoon 3-for-5 with the homer.
It’s the fourth consecutive season in which the Dodgers have won the NL West. The Cubs have clinched the best record, which means they’ll play the winner of the Wild Card game. The Dodgers will play the Nationals in the NLDS. The Nationals have a 1.5-game lead over the Dodgers for home-field advantage, so both teams are still playing for something of importance in the regular season’s final week.