Astros’ Fernando Rodriguez takes eighth relief loss of season

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Fernando Rodriguez might make a name for himself after all, just not in a good way.

The Astros right-hander took his eighth relief loss after giving up two runs in the 10th inning Sunday against the Brewers. His ERA jumped to 6.61.

Rodriguez has 34 strikeouts in 32 2/3 innings this season, but his poor pitching could get him demoted anyway. If so, he might avoid becoming just the eighth reliever since 2000 and first since 2008 to lose to 10 games:

Luis Ayala – 12 losses – 2004 Expos
Scot Shields – 11 losses – 2005 Angels
Luis Ayala – 10 losses – 2008 Nationals/Mets
Yhency Brazoban – 10 losses – 2005 Dodgers
Jose Jimenez – 10 losses – 2002 Rockies
Al Levine – 10 losses – 2001 Angels
Derek Lowe – 10 losses – 2001 Red Sox

Ayala (2.69) and Shields (2.75) both had great ERAs in the seasons in which they top the list, and Shields actually had 10 wins to go against his 11 losses. Ayala’s second 10-loss season was closer to what one might expect; he had a 5.71 ERA that year.

The major league record for relief losses in a season belongs to the Braves’ Gene Garber. He lost 16 games while throwing 106 innings in 1979. All of the 23 relievers to lose at least 12 games in a season did so while throwing at least 90 innings. In general, one has to be pretty good to get that much work in close games.

That doesn’t explain Rodriguez, though.

Video: J.D. Martinez hits league-tying 23rd home run

Seattle Mariners v Boston Red Sox
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The Red Sox and Mariners left nothing on the table Friday night, going head-to-head in a series opener that eventually ended 14-10 in the Sox’ favor. Led by Steven Wright and Wade LeBlanc — neither of whom made it past the fifth inning — the teams combined for 34 hits and four home runs, including two moonshots from Seattle’s Nelson Cruz and a five-run rally that gave Boston the edge in the seventh.

In the sixth inning, however, the Red Sox were still scrambling to make up a four-run deficit. Left fielder J.D. Martinez cut it in half with one swing, pouncing on an 89.5-mph fastball from Seattle right-hander Nick Vincent and posting it to dead center field for a two-run shot.

The 427-foot blast was Martinez’s 23rd of the season, tying Mike Trout for the most home runs in the league this year. While he still has a ways to go before eclipsing the career-best 45-HR mark he set in 2017, he’s off to a strong start this season: Entering Friday’s game, the 30-year-old slugger was batting .315/.386/.623 with a 1.009 OPS and AL-leading 55 RBI in 308 PA. He finished Friday’s game 4-for-5 with five RBI, just one triple shy of hitting for the cycle.

Heading into the All-Star Break, both Martinez and Trout still have some competition for the home run title. Jose Ramirez is sitting at 22 homers, while Nelson Cruz and Khris Davis are tied at 20 apiece.