It was a weekend of highs and lows for several of the boys.
Kevin Pillar experienced both: He hit into a triple play in the sixth inning of Friday’s game for the Toronto Blue Jays (66-77) in a 5-4 loss to the visiting Detroit Tigers (60-82). He was o-for-4 in that one. But baseball is said to be a game of redemption: Kinsler was 4-for-4 on Saturday with home run #15 as Jays turned the tables with a 5-4 victory of their own. On Sunday, Pillar had two more hits and another RBI in another Toronto win, this time by a more comfortable margin of 8-2.
Ian Kinsler was in the middle of that triple play, making the throw to first to nip Pillar. His home run in that one proved to be the difference. His 17th provided all the runs for the Tigers yesterday and was the first time all season that he went deep with a runner on base.
Also on the ups: Ryan Braun, who cracked career home run #300 in the first inning on Friday, providing all the runs the Milwaukee Brewers would get in their 2-0 shutout over the host Chicago Cubs. The Brewers (75-69) swept their three-game set to move two games behind the first place Cubbies. Braun was 0-for-3 on Saturday and 1-for-4 on Sunday with stolen base #10 for the year and 191 for his career which, combined with the 300 HRs, puts him in some sort of exclusive 300/180 club to hear the announcers in the clip talk. (I probably should have led with Braun’s milestone, but I had the early shift at work and I’m too tired and lazy to rearrange.)
Max Fried did not fare too well in his second start for the Atlanta Braves (64-78). He allowed four runs (three earned) in 3.2 innings against the visiting Miami Marlins, giving up six hits — including Giancarlo Stanton’s 54th home rune — and walking one while striking out three. The Braves won on a walk-off walk so Fried was not saddled with a loss. By the way, the Braves won the next night on a three-run walk-off home run, which allowed the Washington Nationals to clinch the NL East title.
Ryan Sherriff picked up the first hold off his career on Friday, giving up a hit and striking out one in two-thirds of an inning as the St. Louis Cardinals (75-68, tied with the Brewers) beat the visiting Pittsburgh Pirates, 4-1. It was his only outing of the weekend.
Richard Bleier pitched twice for the Baltimore Orioles (71-72), who got caught in the Cleveland Indians rip saw. The Tribe (87-56) has won 18 in a row, including this weekend’s sweep of the visiting O’s. Bleier totaled 1.2 scoreless innings, giving up a hit and striking out one. Craig Breslow picked up his first hold of the year, retiring the only batter he faced in the middle game of the series.
As well as the Indians have been playing, the LA Dodgers (91-52) have been that bad. They lost their tenth straight and fifteenth out of the last 16 by dropping their series to the visiting Colorado Rockies. Joc Pederson started two consecutive games for the first time in a while, but he was 0-for-7 with a two walks (including one as a pinch-hitter yesterday). It’s only because of the huge success they had early on that the Dodgers still have the best record in the Majors.
The Houston Astros (86-57) have also struggled over the past several weeks, but not to the Dodgers’ extent. They dropped their four-game series (including a Saturday double-header) to the Oakland As with Alex Bregman sitting out Friday’s contest as he nursed a hamstring injury which some thought would mean the end of his season. But he came back for the next three, going 3-for-11 with a double, a walk, a run scored, and two RBIs.
Danny Valencia appeared in only the middle game of the Seattle Mariners’ meetings with the visiting LA Angels. He was 0-for-3 with a walk. The Mariners (71-72) took two of the three games.