Felix Hernandez was no match for Joe Blanton

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Here’s a perfect example of how baseball is simultaneously amazing and bizarre: Monday night Mariners right-hander Felix Hernandez, a former Cy Young winner with the most wins in the league this season, matched up against Royals right-hander Joe Blanton, who briefly retired last year and has a 5.00 ERA since 2000.

Blanton out-dueled Hernandez, tossing six innings of one-run ball with seven strikeouts and zero walks. Last time Blanton allowed one run or fewer with at least seven strikeouts and zero walks in a start? June of 2012. And before that it was August of 2010. And before that it was never, because Monday was just the third time in his 11-season, 250-start career Blanton has had such an outing.

Hernandez wasn’t exactly terrible, allowing four runs in 6.1 innings, but he continued a pattern of alternating great starts with bad starts that dates back to late May.

May 27: Complete-game shutout

June 1: Seven runs in 4.2 innings

June 6: Seven innings of one-run ball

June 12: Eight runs on 0.1 innings

June 17: Eight shutout innings

June 22: Four runs in 6.2 innings

Blanton, meanwhile, has a nifty 1.73 ERA and 24/3 K/BB ratio in 26 innings for Kansas City and the Royals somehow keeping chugging right along in first place with a patchwork starting rotation.

Pujols hits 701st career home run, connects for Cardinals

albert pujols
Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images
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ST. LOUIS — Cardinals slugger Albert Pujols hit his 701st home run, connecting Friday night against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Pujols launched a slider from former teammate Johan Oviedo over the Big Mac Land sign in left field at Busch Stadium. The solo drive in the fourth inning made it 1-all.

Pujols faced Oviedo for the first time and made the 24-year-old righty the 456th different pitcher he’s homered against.

The St. Louis star hadn’t homered in a week since hitting No. 699 and 700 at Dodger Stadium last Friday. Pujols had gone 10 at-bats without a home run after two starts and one pinch-hit appearance.

The Busch Stadium crowd gave the 42-year-old Pujols a long standing ovation before he came out of the Cardinals dugout to tip his cap for a curtain call.

Pujols hit his 22nd home run this season for the NL Central champion Cardinals.

Pujols is fourth on the career home run list behind Barry Bonds (762), Hank Aaron (755) and Babe Ruth (714).