Billy Wagner earns save No. 400

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Edwin Jackson’s no-hitter overshadowed another significant accomplishment on Friday night, as Billy Wagner notched his 400th career save, striking out the side in a 3-1 win over the Tigers.

Wagner is just the fifth player in baseball history to eclipse the 400-save plateau. The 38-year-old is now 24 saves behind John Franco for the most saves ever by a left-handed pitcher. 

Here’s what Wagner told David O’Brien of the Atlanta-Journal Constitution.

“When you go out there and pitch for 14 years, you start to put some
numbers together. This is just a credit to the hard work and all the
people behind me that always made the plays and made me look good.”

Wagner has announced his intention to retire after 2010, despite a $6.5 million vesting option for 2011 if he finishes 50 games this season. He has already finished 30 games and it’s not even July. After Friday’s game, Braves skipper Bobby Cox jokingly suggested that Wags should think about sticking around.  

“He’s been dominating all season long, and maybe
we can talk him out of retirement.”

Wagner, who underwent Tommy John surgery in September of 2008, is currently averaging 95.8 mph on his fastball, his highest velocity since the 2006 season. The southpaw has a 1.19 ERA, 15 saves and a 46/12 K/BB ratio over his first 30 1/3 innings, just the latest addition to a resume that is completely underrated in the scope of baseball history. He’s just as dominant as ever. 

Astros clinch postseason berth with 11-3 win over Angels

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No surprise here: The Astros are headed back to the postseason to defend their title following a landslide 11-3 win over the Angels on Friday. This figures to be their third playoff run since 2015, though they have yet to wrap up the AL West with a division title.

First baseman Yuli Gurriel led the charge on Friday, smashing a grand slam in the first inning and tacking on a two-run homer in the second and RBI single in the fifth to help the Astros to a seven-run lead. The Angels eventually returned fire, first with Mike Trout‘s 418-foot homer in the sixth, then with an RBI hit from Francisco Arcia in the seventh, but they couldn’t close the gap in time to overtake the Astros.

On the mound, right-hander Gerrit Cole clinched his 15th win of the year after holding the Angels to seven innings of three-run, 12-strikeout ball. His sixth strikeout of the night — delivered on an 83.1-MPH knuckle curveball to Kaleb Cowart — also marked the 1,000th strikeout of his career to date. He was backed by flawless performances by lefty reliever Tony Sipp and rookie right-hander Dean Deetz, both of whom turned in scoreless innings as the offense barreled toward an 11-3 finish with Jake Marisnick‘s sac bunt and George Springer‘s three-run shot in the eighth.

Despite having qualified for the playoffs, the Astros still carry a magic number of 6 as they look to clinch a third straight division title. They’re currently up against the Athletics, who entered Friday’s contest against the Twins just four games back of first place in the AL West.