Albert Pujols kicked things off for the Angels in dramatic fashion on Friday night, cranking a two-RBI home run off of the Orioles’ Jeremy Hellickson to give the club an early lead in the first inning. The 350-footer was his 18th home run of the year and No. 609 in his 17-season career, tying Sammy Sosa on the all-time home run list for eighth overall and most home runs hit by a player born outside of the United States.
With the home run, Pujols sits just three homers shy of tying Jim Thome’s 612-home run record for seventh on the all-time list. That figures to be the last major milestone still ahead of the designated hitter this season, with Ken Griffey Jr.’s 630-home run mark still a distant 21 blasts away.
The Angels, meanwhile, ran with Pujols’ lead, collecting home runs from Kole Calhoun, C.J. Cron, Kaleb Cowart and Mike Trout. It wasn’t quite enough to quash the Orioles, however, who surged to a 9-7 finale after Manny Machado went 3-for-5 with three home runs and struck a walk-off grand slam in the bottom of the ninth.
Braves 5, Dodgers 3: Tyler Flowers hit a tiebreaking, pinch-hit, two-run home run in the eighth inning to give the Braves the victory. The Dodgers have lost only three games since the All-Star break. All three have come against the Braves, strangely enough. L.A. lead this one 3-2 in the fifth but still lost. That’s not a shocking thing based on the score alone — a lot of teams lost games when they had one-run leads at one point — but it is the first time in 54 games that the Dodgers lost a game that, at one point or another, they had once led. That was an all-time record.
Rangers 5, Mariners 1: For the second straight night Joey Gallo hit a crazy-long homer to center in Arlington. Gallo’s take on these monster dongs: “I just feel like I’m getting a pitch to hit and not missing it.” Thanks for the insight, Joey. Delino DeShields and Elvis Andrus also homered. Presumably they too were just looking for a pitch to hit. Seriously, though, just once would I like to hear a baseball player say “Man, I knocked the living crap outta that ball! Just DESTROYED that bad boy! New it as soon as I swung too. Hot damn!”
Diamondbacks 3, Cubs 0: Six shutout innings from Dbacks starter Zack Godley. I’d like him to throw a no-hitter one day so I can use the headline “More like Zack GodMODE, amirite?” Jake Lamb drove in all three of the Snakes’ runs.
Cardinals 5, Brewers 4: Molina hit two solo home runs. He also doubled. After the game, Kolten Wong said this about Molina:
“He is our captain, he is our leader, he is the St. Louis Cardinals. We are going to hop on his back whenever he is going. He is our man. When he goes, we go.”
It’s hard, based on the couple of Instagram incidents of the past week in which Molina has undercut Mike Matheny, to not hear stuff like that as players taking a side.
Twins 5, Padres 2: Ervin Santana tossed a complete game — his fifth on the year — while allowing two runs on four hits and striking out nine. His five complete games lead all of baseball. Right now two guys, Max Scherzer and Ivan Nova, are tied for the NL lead with two. Never in baseball history has a league leader in CGs had fewer than four. On five occasions in baseball history has a league leader in complete games had exactly four: NL and AL 2015; AL 2013; NL 2009 and NL 2007. Which means that, yeah, the NL leader this year may have the lowest number complete games for a league leader in baseball history.
Tigers 2, Yankees 0: Jordan Zimmermann tosses seven shutout innings and — after a three hour rain delay — Bruce Rondon and Shane Greene handle the final two innings to complete the job. I guess the Tigers should’ve just traded away their best reliever in April if they wanted to stabilize their bullpen. Justin Upton and James McCann drove in the Tigers runs.
Orioles 6, Royals 0: Jeremy Hellickson shuts the Royals out for seven and Mychal Givens and Darren O'Day handle the rest of it. I wonder if the Tigers pitching staff plans to sue the Orioles’ pitching staff for copyright infringement over all of this. Tim Beckham doubled in one run and tripled in another. Nice day for the O’s new pickups.
Reds 5, Pirates 2: A Jesse Winker solo homer broke a 2-2 tie in the seventh and an Adam Duvall two-run homer in the ninth gave the Redlegs some insurance. Winker’s homer came off of Joaquin Benoit. Not a nice day for the Pirates’ new pickup. Not a nice couple weeks or so for the Pirates as a team, really. They had a six-game winning streak that got some people raising their eyebrows a while back and since then they’ve lost eight of ten.
Blue Jays 5, White Sox 1: J.A. Happ struck out ten dudes in seven innings. Steve Pearce and Josh Donaldson hit homers and Justin Smoak reached base three times. The Jays have won three of four. The Blue Jays now get their first day off since the All-Star break. They have to spend it in Houston, but I guess it’ll still be OK.
Rays 3, Astros 0: Austin Pruitt and three relievers combined to shut out the Astros. It’s the second time in a week that the Astros — who lead all of baseball in scoring — have been shut out in a week. Everyone goes through stretches like this. Houston would obviously rather have it happen in early August with a 15-game division lead than in early October in a best-of-five series.
Mets 10, Rockies 5: The Rockies had a 5-0 lead heading into the fourth. Then they watched the Mets plate ten runs over the next three innings while they themselves would not score again. Curtis Granderson hit a tiebreaking, three-run homer in the sixth, Jay Bruce homered and Asdrubal Cabrera had three hits.
Angels 7, Phillies 0: All seven Angels runs came in the third inning with five of them coming via three longballs. Mike Trout and C.J. Cron hit two-run shots and Kaleb Cowart hit a solo shot. JC Ramirez tossed eight shutout innings, scattering six hits.