Albert Pujols kicked things off for the Angels in dramatic fashion on Friday night, cranking a two-RBI home run off of the Orioles’ Jeremy Hellickson to give the club an early lead in the first inning. The 350-footer was his 18th home run of the year and No. 609 in his 17-season career, tying Sammy Sosa on the all-time home run list for eighth overall and most home runs hit by a player born outside of the United States.
With the home run, Pujols sits just three homers shy of tying Jim Thome’s 612-home run record for seventh on the all-time list. That figures to be the last major milestone still ahead of the designated hitter this season, with Ken Griffey Jr.’s 630-home run mark still a distant 21 blasts away.
The Angels, meanwhile, ran with Pujols’ lead, collecting home runs from Kole Calhoun, C.J. Cron, Kaleb Cowart and Mike Trout. It wasn’t quite enough to quash the Orioles, however, who surged to a 9-7 finale after Manny Machado went 3-for-5 with three home runs and struck a walk-off grand slam in the bottom of the ninth.
The Yankees placed Nestor Cortes on the 15-day injured list with a left rotator cuff strain that will sideline the left-hander for at least two starts.
The move is retroactive to Monday and Cortes will be shut down for at least 15 days.
After Tuesday’s game, Cortes said the shoulder has been bothering him between starts and more so after he pitched five innings May 30 in Seattle.
“I took two days off and when I got to LA and threw that first day, I didn’t feel right,” Cortes said Tuesday. “But it was first day coming back from pitching so I knew it was going to be nagging a little bit. So I waited a little bit.
“That second day in LA was when I said something because it felt like I had pitched yesterday. So I wasn’t recovering in time.”
Cortes is 5-2 with a 5.16 ERA in 11 starts and has particularly struggled later in outings. Opponents are hitting .447 when facing him for the third time in a game.
Last year, Cortes was an All-Star and went 12-4 with a 2.44 ERA in 28 starts.
Randy Vásquez was recalled from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes Barre to take Cortes’ spot in the rotation and will make his second career start in Thursday’s doubleheader. Vásquez made his major league debut May 26 against San Diego when the Yankees needed a starter because Domingo Germán was serving a 10-game suspension for using sticky substances.