Matthew Pouliot

Billy Butler

Billy Butler goes 5-for-5, gets removed for pinch-runner

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When Billy Butler led off the bottom of the ninth with a single Thursday in a tie game against the Mariners, it gave him his third career five-hit game. It was also the end of his day; the Royals pulled him in favor of Pedro Ciriaco.

The switch didn’t work out — Ciriaco was left stranded at second — but it also didn’t cost the Royals, as they went on to win on a Mike Moustakas homer in the bottom of the 13th.

Had Butler remained in, he would have had a chance to go for the first six-hit day for a Royal since Joe Randa had one in 2004. They’re have been two six-hit games in the majors this season; Jean Segura went 6-for-7 for the Brewers on May 28 and Alex Rios went 6-for-6 for the White Sox on July 9. There hadn’t been a single six-hit game in any of the previous three seasons.

For Butler, it was the 29th time this season that he’s been removed early from a game. It happened less when Jarrod Dyson — manager Ned Yost’s favorite pinch-runner — was on the DL and when he was playing more regularly in the outfield, but now that rosters have expanded, Butler will probably get resume getting pulled for pinch-runners more frequently.

Felix Hernandez’s next start delayed by back issues

Felix Hernandez
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Felix Hernandez won’t pitch again until next Wednesday after leaving Monday’s game with what was called a lower back cramp, MLB.com reports.

“He feels good and wants to start on Sunday, but we’re going to be cautious with him,” manager Eric Wedge said. “We want him to get some flat ground work, get another bullpen in. He understands. It’s really not going to affect how many starts he gets.”

Hernandez’s slim Cy Young chances have already died after four straight losses, including one Aug. 28 against the Rangers that ranks as one of the two or three worst starts of his career (9 R, 8 ER in 3 IP). His ERA has jumped from a American League-leading 2.44 to 3.01.

The Mariners are going with a six-man rotation this month, so they won’t need a replacement for Hernandez on Sunday.

Red Sox hit eight homers, destroy Tigers 20-4

David Ortiz
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The Red Sox overshadowed David Ortiz’s 2,000th career hit Wednesday, tying their franchise record with eight homers in a 20-4 drubbing of the Tigers.

Ortiz was a big part of the barrage, hitting two of the homers. His 2,000th hit, sandwiched in between the homers, was a double.

Ortiz became the 275th player, at least according to Baseball-reference’s leaderboard, to reach 2,000 hits. There are five designated hitters (guys who started at DH at least half of the time) ahead of him: Harold Baines (2,866), Frank Thomas (2,468), Edgar Martinez (2,247), Don Baylor (2,135) and Hal McRae (2,091).

Stephen Drew, Jacoby Ellsbury, Will Middlebrooks, Daniel Nava, Ryan Lavarnway and Mike Napoli also homered for the Red Sox tonight. It was the second eight-homer game in franchise history. The other came on July 4, 1977 against the Blue Jays. Among the players to homer in that one were Carl Yastrzemski, Fred Lynn (twice) and Jim Rice.

The Red Sox were the first team in three years to hit eight homers in a game. The last to do it was the Blue Jays on Aug. 7, 2010. Before that, the Yankees did it on July 31, 2007.