Good news on two fronts for the Cardinals this evening, as second baseman Kolten Wong has been cleared to return and outfielder Matt Holliday could be activated from the disabled list as soon as tomorrow.
Wong showed signs of a concussion after he made a leaping catch during Tuesday’s doubleheader against the Cubs, but Cardinals manager Mike Matheny told John McGonigal of MLB.com this afternoon that he was cleared by doctors. He’s available off the bench tonight and the expectation is that he’ll be back in the starting lineup Friday.
Holliday has been out for a month with a Grade 2 strain of his right quad. He’s not ready to play in the outfield quite yet, but Matheny said that he could be an option off the bench this weekend during an important NL Central battle against the Pirates. Of course, Holliday was elected by the fans to start for the National League in next week’s All-Star Game and still hopes to play.
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.