Victor Martinez just struck out looking for the first time in a year

16 Comments

Here’s a true rarity: Tigers designated hitter Victor Martinez struck out looking against Astros right-hander Jarred Cosart to end the first inning of Monday’s game.

It was his first strikeout looking since Matt Albers, then of the Indians, got him on May 21, 2013.

Martinez had struck out 42 times since that date, but all were of the swinging variety. He had gone 579 plate appearances without striking out looking.

While Martinez has never been a big strikeout guy — his career high is 78, established in 2006 and matched a year later — he’s taken things to a new level this year. Monday’s strikeout was just his fourth in 96 at-bats and 110 plate appearances.

Red Sox beat Yankees 11-6 to clinch AL East for third consecutive season

Jim McIsaac/Getty Images
2 Comments

The Red Sox have clinched the AL East for a third consecutive season, beating the Yankees 11-6 in the Bronx on Thursday night. It’s the third consecutive season in which the Red Sox have won the division, the first time that’s ever been done in club history. In fact, the only other times the Red Sox won the division in back-to-back years were 1903-04 and 1915-16.

AL MVP candidate Mookie Betts went 4-for-5 with a two-run single in the second inning off of Masahiro Tanaka and a three-run homer in the eighth against Aroldis Chapman to put the game out of reach. Jackie Bradley and Brock Holt also hit homers. Red Sox starter Eduardo Rodriguez was on the hook for five runs in 3 2/3 innings, but three of them scored when Heath Hembree inherited a bases-loaded situation, then served up a grand slam to Giancarlo Stanton in the fourth. The rest of the bullpen combined to fire five scoreless innings. Steven Wright had three of them followed by zeroes from Ryan Brasier and Craig Kimbrel.

With the loss, the Yankees’ lead over the Athletics for the first Wild Card slot shrinks to 1.5 games. Meanwhile, the Red Sox will try to clinch home field advantage throughout the playoffs. With a 104-49 record, their closest competitor is the 95-57 Astros. With nine games remaining in the regular season for the Red Sox, they would have to lose every game remaining in the regular season and the Astros would have to win their 10 remaining games in order to fail to claim home field advantage.