Orioles slugger Manny Machado collected his 13th home run of the season on Saturday, tying the Red Sox’ Mookie Betts for most in the league. The league-leading knock came in the third inning, when Machado pounced on a first-pitch fastball from Rays right-hander Chris Archer and lifted it to center field to take a one-run lead.
The 407-footer was Machado’s fourth home run in three games. He belted a two-run shot off of Ian Kennedy on Thursday and collected another two dingers (including his first grand slam of the year) from Ryne Stanek and Jake Faria on Friday. Not surprisingly, he entered Saturday’s game with an AL-leading .354 average and league-best 35 RBI.
Following Machado’s blast, the Orioles improved on their one-run lead with a solo shot from Jonathan Schoop in the third and a run-scoring wild pitch in the sixth. They currently lead the Rays 6-3 in the bottom of the eighth.
Minor League Baseball announced on Wednesday that, for the 14th consecutive season, the league has eclipsed 40 million in total attendance. 20 teams set single-game attendance records and seven teams set franchise records for single-game attendance in their current parks.
ESPN’s Keith Law, who has been covering the minor leagues for quite a while, did the math:
Minor League Baseball president and CEO Pat O’Conner, whose most prominent stint in the public eye involved him disingenuously justifying the underpaying of his players, said, “Minor League Baseball continues to be the best entertainment value in sports, and these numbers support that. For us to top 40 million fans for the 14th consecutive season despite the weather challenges our teams faced in April and May is a testament to the continued support of our loyal fan bases and the creative promotions and hard work done by all of our teams across the country.”
Major and Minor League Baseball are quite happy to make money hand over fist on the backs of their players, but are too cheap to pay them adequately for their labor.