A.J. Griffin exits start against Blue Jays with tight shoulder, MRI shows no damage

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UPDATE: Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle says Griffin’s MRI turned up clean.

4:57 PM: Lee reports that Griffin exited due to right shoulder tightness.

4:46 PM: According to Jane Lee of MLB.com, Athletics right-hander A.J. Griffin left his start against the Blue Jays this afternoon in the top of the second inning with an apparent injury.

No word yet on the exact nature of the injury, but Griffin’s velocity took a pretty big dip over his final couple of pitches. He was visited on the mound by Athletics manager Bob Melvin and team trainer Nick Paparesta before being replaced by Jordan Norberto. Not what you want after last night’s 15-inning marathon.

Griffin has been a nice surprise for the A’s since making his major league debut on June 24, posting a 2.42 ERA and 35/10 K/BB ratio in 44 2/3 innings. Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle notes that Brandon McCarthy is slated to make his latest minor league rehab start with Triple-A Sacramento tonight, so he would be on his regular turn if needed. McCarthy has been sidelined since June 19 with a right shoulder strain.

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.