Mike Trout, Ronald Acuña Jr. among 2019 Silver Slugger Award winners

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Awards season continues with the 2019 Silver Slugger Awards handed out on Thursday evening. Here are your winners:

American League

C: Mitch Garver, Twins (1st)
1B: Carlos Santana, Indians (1st)
2B: DJ LeMahieu (1st)
3B: Alex Bregman, Astros (1st)
SS: Xander Bogaerts, Red Sox (3rd)
OF: George Springer, Astros (2nd)
OF: Mookie Betts, Red Sox (3rd)
OF: Mike Trout, Angels (7th)
DH: Nelson Cruz, Twins (3rd)

Lots of first-time winners here, but Trout sticks out the most, winning his seventh Silver Slugger. He turned 28 years old in August. How big is his trophy case now, and how big will it have to be to hold all of his hardware by the time his career is finished? Along with the Silver Sluggers, he has the 2012 AL Rookie of the Year Award, the 2012 Wilson Overall Defensive Player of the Year Award, and two AL MVP Awards. He could add another next week.

One can definitely make some arguments for some other players being more deserving at certain positions, but by and large, the right players were selected. The closest battle was LeMahieu over
José Altuve, who has five Silver Sluggers to his name. According to FanGraphs, LeMahieu had the narrow edge in wOBA, .375 to .374. Altuve out-homered him, but had fewer run sand RBI, as well as a lower batting average and on-base percentage.

Bregman could have arguably won the Silver Slugger at two positions, as J.D. Martinez did last year in the outfield and as a DH. Due to Carlos Correa missing time with an injury, Bregman played 495 innings as a shortstop as well as 806 1/3 innings at his usual spot at third base.

National League

C: J.T. Realmuto, Phillies (2nd)
1B: Freddie Freeman, Braves (1st)
2B: Ozzie Albies, Braves (1st)
3B: Anthony Rendon, Nationals (2nd)
SS: Trevor Story, Rockies (2nd)
OF: Ronald Acuña Jr., Braves (1st)
OF: Cody Bellinger, Dodgers (1st)
OF: Christian Yelich, Brewers (3rd)
P: Zack Greinke, Diamondbacks (2nd)

No surprise that Greinke took home the Silver Slugger for pitchers despite spending his final two months in the American League. Greinke mashed three homers and eight RBI with a .280 batting average.

One could certainly have made an argument for Yasmani Grandal or Willson Contreras winning over Realmuto behind the dish, as both had higher wOBA. Realmuto, however, scored the most runs and drove in the most runs out of the bunch while also swiping nine bases.

The Braves cleaned up, winning three of the eight Silver Sluggers handed out in the National League. That may be the case again in 2020… and 2021. The Braves have enviable youth.

McCutchen’s sacrifice fly lifts Pirates to 5-4 win, extends Athletics’ road losing streak to 15

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PITTSBURGH – Andrew McCutchen’s tiebreaking sacrifice fly in the eighth inning lifted Pittsburgh to a 5-4 victory over Oakland on Monday night, extending the Pirates’ win streak to six games and sending the Athletics to their record-tying 15th consecutive road loss.

The 15 straight defeats away from home matches the Athletics’ record since they moved from Kansas City in 1968. Oakland set that mark in 1986.

The major league-worst Athletics (12-50) have lost five games in a row overall. They are on pace to finish the season exactly 100 games under .500 at 31-131.

“It’s tough,” Athletics manager Mark Kotsay said. “Tonight’s game, we didn’t play well enough to win the game. I don’t want to say we gave the game away but there were a lot of instances where we had a chance to capitalize on opportunities and didn’t do it.”

McCutchen also singled and drew three walks to go with two RBIs. The 2013 NL MVP now has 1,998 career hits.

With the score tied at 4, Ji Hwan Bae led off the decisive eighth inning with a single off Sam Moll (0-3) and advanced to third on Austin Hedges’ one-out single. McCutchen’s sac fly plated Bae.

“I was just trying to get the job done. I understand the situation there,” McCutchen said. “We just need to get the run. I was trying to bear down against a hard thrower and trying to get that run in as much as I can, and I was able to do it and have a good at-bat.”

Angel Perdomo (1-0) retired both hitters he faced. and Colin Holdeman pitched a scoreless ninth inning for his first career save. It was an eventful inning for Holderman as the first three batters reached base, but he struck out Carlos Perez with runners on the corners to end it.

“I began my career as a starting pitcher in the minor leagues but ever since I was switched to relief, this has been the goal, to get a save in the big leagues,” Holderman said.

Pittsburgh starter Johan Oviedo gave up three runs and four hits with five strikeouts and two walks.

Oakland left-hander JP Sears did not allow a hit until Mark Mathias’ leadoff single in the fifth but was unable to make it through the inning. Sears was charged with one run in 4 2/3 innings while allowing two hits, walking five and striking out six.

Sears has not allowed more than two runs in five consecutive starts. His nine no-decisions are the most in the major leagues.

Ryan Noda and Brent Rooker had two hits each for the Athletics.

The Athletics tied the score at 4-4 in the eighth inning on pinch-hitter Aledmys Diaz’s run-scoring double. Oakland left the bases loaded, though, when Nick Allen hit an inning-ending flyout.

Consecutive bases-loaded walks keyed a three-run sixth inning that put the Pirates 4-3. McCutchen and Bryan Reynolds each worked bases on balls off Shintaro Fujinami to tie the score at 3-all and pinch-hitter Jack Suwinski followed with a sacrifice fly.

The Athletics opened the scoring in the first inning when rookie Esteury Ruiz reached on catcher’s interference, stole his MLB-leading 30th base of the season and scored on Noda’s single. Seth Brown doubled in a run in the third and came home on Perez’s sacrifice fly to push Oakland’s lead to 3-0.

Connor Joe hit an RBI double for the Pirates in the fifth.

The Pirates drew 10 walks, their most in a game in nearly two years.

“We had a bunch of opportunities that we didn’t capitalize (on), but the thing I think I was most proud of is we got down and we didn’t rush to get back,” Pittsburgh manager Derek Shelton said. “We were still patient.”

TRAINER’S ROOM

Athletics: LHP Kirby Snead (strained shoulder) is expected to pitch in the Arizona Complex League on Tuesday, which will be his first game action since spring training. … RHP Freddy Tarnok (strained shoulder) will throw a bullpen on Tuesday.

TOP PICK PROMOTED

Pirates catching prospect Henry Davis was promoted to Triple-A Indianapolis from Double-A Altoona. In 41 games at Double-A this season, the 23-year-old hit .284 with 10 home runs and seven stolen bases.

“He was performing offensively at a level where we felt like he was more than ready to meet the challenges,” Pirates general manager Ben Cherington said. “He improved as an offensive player even since spring training, focusing on the things we were challenging him on. Defensively, he’s made strides too.”

Davis was the first overall selection in the 2021 amateur draft from the University of Louisville.

UP NEXT

Athletics RHP James Kaprielian (0-6, 8.12 ERA) will make his first start in June after taking the loss in all four starts in May and face RHP Mitch Keller (7-1, 3.25). Keller has eight or more strikeouts in seven consecutive starts, the longest streak by a Pirates pitcher in the modern era (since 1901).