Royals’ slugger Mike Moustakas belted home run No. 36 on Friday night, hitting a franchise record for most single-season homers since 28-year-old first baseman Steve Balboni reached the mark in 1985.
The record-tying dinger arrived in the third inning of Friday’s 7-6 squeaker over the Twins, beefing up the Royal’s five-run spread and giving them a two-run advantage Minnesota couldn’t quite shake. With two outs and two on, Moustakas muscled a 2-2 pitch from Dillon Gee, sending it an estimated 368 feet to right field, where it ricocheted off the railing and bounced back onto the field.
It’s been a banner year for the 28-year-old, who earned his second All-Star distinction and touted a .275/.313/.542 batting line and 35 home runs heading into Friday’s win. He went 1-for-4 against the Twins, putting up three RBI and collecting one strikeout in addition to his historic homer. The rest of the Royals, meanwhile, combined for another four runs, giving them just enough of an edge while Kelvin Herrera and Scott Alexander worked to shut down the Twins’ last-minute rally in the ninth.
Blue Jays starter Marcus Stroman strugged in Sunday afternoon’s start against the Red Sox, yielding four runs (three earned) over five innings. He fell to 2-7 with a 5.86 ERA. The Jays dropped three of four games to the Sox in the series and now sit with a 43-52 record heading into the All-Star break.
Steve Buffery of the Toronto Sun reports that while Stroman was initially cool, calm, and collected when speaking to the media after the game, he eventually snapped. Stroman was asked by a reporter about breaking into professional baseball with short-season Single-A Vancouver in 2012. Stroman yelled at the reporter, noting that his team had just lost to the Red Sox, and called his team “f– terrible.” Keegan Matheson’s account of the situation lines up with Buffery’s as well.
Prior to the outburst, Stroman had just praised his teammates, saying, “My team picks me up a ton. They pick me up all year. I should be able to pitch better in times like that when my team doesn’t have my back. Because they’ve had my back a ton of times. So, love my guys on my team and like I said, I would go to war with them any day.”
Stroman will have off until Friday, so hopefully the time off helps him clear his mind. It has understandably been a frustrating season in Toronto.