Chris Davis joins the 50-homer club

24 Comments

Orioles first baseman Chris Davis became the first Major Leaguer to hit 50 home runs in a single season since Jose Bautista hit 54 in 2010. With the game tied 3-3 in the top of the eighth, Davis drove a Steve Delabar 2-2 change-up to left-center for his milestone home run, putting the Orioles ahead 4-3.

Davis moves into a tie with Brady Anderson for the Orioles single-season team record. Davis will have 15 more games to become the sole leader.

The list of players to hit 50-plus since 2005:

Player Year HR Age Tm Lg
Jose Bautista 2010 54 29 TOR AL
Prince Fielder 2007 50 23 MIL NL
Alex Rodriguez 2007 54 31 NYY AL
Ryan Howard 2006 58 26 PHI NL
David Ortiz 2006 54 30 BOS AL
Andruw Jones 2005 51 28 ATL NL
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 9/13/2013.

Umpire Cory Blaser made two atrocious calls in the top of the 11th inning

Alex Trautwig/MLB Photos via Getty Images
19 Comments

The Astros walked off 3-2 winners in the bottom of the 11th inning of ALCS Game 2 against the Yankees. Carlos Correa struck the winning blow, sending a first-pitch fastball from J.A. Happ over the fence in right field at Minute Maid Park, ending nearly five hours of baseball on Sunday night.

Correa’s heroics were precipitated by two highly questionable calls by home plate umpire Cory Blaser in the top half of the 11th.

Astros reliever Joe Smith walked Edwin Encarnación with two outs, prompting manager A.J. Hinch to bring in Ryan Pressly. Pressly, however, served up a single to left field to Brett Gardner, putting runners on first and second with two outs. Hinch again came out to the mound, this time bringing Josh James to face power-hitting catcher Gary Sánchez.

James and Sánchez had an epic battle. Sánchez fell behind 0-2 on a couple of foul balls, proceeded to foul off five of the next six pitches. On the ninth pitch of the at-bat, Sánchez appeared to swing and miss at an 87 MPH slider in the dirt for strike three and the final out of the inning. However, Blaser ruled that Sánchez tipped the ball, extending the at-bat. Replays showed clearly that Sánchez did not make contact at all with the pitch. James then threw a 99 MPH fastball several inches off the plate outside that Blaser called for strike three. Sánchez, who shouldn’t have seen a 10th pitch, was upset at what appeared to be a make-up call.

The rest, as they say, is history. One pitch later, the Astros evened up the ALCS at one game apiece. Obviously, Blaser’s mistakes in a way cancel each other out, and neither of them caused Happ to throw a poorly located fastball to Correa. It is postseason baseball, however, and umpires are as much under the microscope as the players and managers. Those were two particularly atrocious judgments by Blaser.