Making a rare start with an opposing southpaw on the mound, David Ortiz blasted his way into the history books in Saturday's victory over the Rays. He became just the 27th player in Major League Baseball history to reach 500 career home runs.
The 39-year-old slugger blasted a Matt Moore offering into the right field seats in the first inning, pulling him to within one blast of the illustrious mark and giving the Red Sox an early 3-0 lead. With the stage set, he blasted a towering 432-foot moonshot to right field in the fifth inning, joining only Alex Rodriguez and Albert Pujols as active players in the exclusive 500-homer club.
The Rays’ fans certainly appreciated and understood the importance of the situation, giving Ortiz a standing ovation that wound up halting the game for several minutes. It was a very touching and memorable moment in what has been an extremely disappointing season for the Red Sox.
It has really been a tale of two seasons for Ortiz, who was slashing just .219/.297/.372 with six homers and 21 RBI on June 9, 52 games into the season. Many fantasy owners cut bait with the aging slugger, believing that his outstanding career was nearing its end. Since that point, all he has done is hit a robust .314 (87-for-277) with 28 home runs and 74 RBI in his next 78 games.
As well as he's swinging the bat, the prevailing wisdom is that the Red Sox would gladly exercise their $11 million club option for next season, provided Ortiz wishes to return for a 20th big league season.
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Say it ain't so, Tulo!
The Blue Jays were dealt a potentially devastating blow on Saturday as Troy Tulowitzki sustained a fractured scapula in a collision with outfielder Kevin Pillar. The All-Star shortstop also suffered bruises to his upper back in the incident.
Tulowitzki was backpedaling on a pop up that he caught in shallow center field before crashing into teammate Kevin Pillar who was coming in and calling the ball for himself. He fell to the ground awkwardly and remained down for several minutes before he was able to walk off the field under his own power.
While initial X-rays came back negative, an MRI Saturday evening revealed the small crack in his left shoulder blade. The Blue Jays will monitor his status over the next week or so before determining a course of action and potential timeline for his return, but he could be looking at a lengthy absence.
Tulowitzki has been a spark plug for the Blue Jays since being acquired from the Rockies at the trade deadline, as the team has gone an unbelievable 32-9 since that date, going from being a fringe contender for the Wild Card to having a 4 1/2 game lead over the Yankees in the American League East after sweeping Saturday's twin bill.
With Tulo sidelined, the Blue Jays will be forced to rely upon a middle infield of Ryan Goins and Cliff Pennington for the foreseeable future. Pennington could be worth a look in AL-only formats for those chasing stolen bases or looking for everyday at-bats.
Bumgarner flirts with perfection
Madison Bumgarner made a very real bid to capture the first no-hitter and perfect game of his tremendous young career on Saturday. He retired the first 23 hitters that he faced against the Padres before pinch-hitter Melvin Upton Jr. singled up the middle with two outs in the eighth inning. Bumgarner then set the next four hitters down in order, wrapping up the masterful performance as a one-hit shutout.
The All-Star southpaw punched out nine on the evening, needing only 111 pitches to complete the ballgame. It was the fifth career shutout for Bumgarner, and second of the season. He's in the midst of another tremendous season, registering an 18-7 record to go along with a 2.91 ERA, 1.01 WHIP and 212/32 K/BB ratio over 197 2/3 innings.
As well as he's pitched though, he has only been arguably the fourth best pitcher in the National League this season, with Clayton Kershaw, Jake Arrieta and Zack Greinke all having outstanding seasons in their own right.
American League Quick Hits: Mike Moustakas blasted a pair of home runs and drove home a franchise-record nine runs as the Royals walloped the Orioles on Saturday... Edwin Encarnacion left the second game of Saturday's doubleheader after aggravating his finger injury. He's considered day-to-day. ... Brett Gardner belted a pair of three-run homers in a losing effort against the Blue Jays... Marcus Stroman (knee) picked up a victory in his long-awaited season debut. ... Rains washed out the Tigers and Indians for the second straight day. ... Carlos Correa launched his 18th home run of the season in a losing effort. ... Nelson Cruz launched his career-best 41st home run in a win over the Rockies. ... Sean Nolin was victorious in his first start with the A's, allowing just one run on five hits over 5 2/3 frames. ... Robinson Chirinos is expected to miss a week with soreness in his biceps. ... Billy Burns (hamstring) is expected to miss the rest of the weekend... Jose Bautista clubbed two home runs, powering the Blue Jays to a victory in Game 1 of Saturday's doubleheader against the Yankees. ... Alex Rodriguez swatted his 31st home run of the year in a loss to the Jays, his highest home run total since 2008. ... The White Sox will skip Carlo Rodon's next start in an effort to limit his innings total.
National League Quick Hits: Corey Seager went 4-for-4, stole a base and blasted his first Major League home run in a victory over the Diamondbacks. ... Yoenis Cespedes homered for the 16th time in 39 games with the Mets, and is becoming a possible MVP candidate. ... Cody Asche belted a walkoff two-run homer to beat the Cubs. ... Noah Syndergaard struck out eight over seven innings of one-run ball in a no-decision against the Braves. ... Kyle Schwarber launched his third home run of the weekend and 16th of the season in a loss to the Phillies. ... Carl Crawford was forced to leave Saturday's contest with right hamstring tightness. ... Jose Fernandez fired five shutout innings in his return from the disabled list, defeating the Nats to improve to 5-0 on the year. ... Yunel Escobar was scratched from Saturday's lineup due to a stomach ailment. ... Drew Storen will miss the remainder of the season after suffering a broken thumb while slamming his locker shut after Wednesday's meltdown against the Mets. ... Jonathan Lucroy has officially been diagnosed with a concussion, and may not return before the end of the season. ... Starling Marte was scratched from the Pirates lineup due to gastroenteritis. ... Cameron Maybin (eye) expects to return to the Braves lineup on Tuesday. ... Cardinals catcher Cody Stanley was handed an 80-game suspension after testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs.