The Weekend Takeaway
On the eve of his 3,000th career hit, Adrian Beltre didn’t know how his teammates would react to the milestone.
“I don’t think [a celebration] is going to happen,” he told reporters following Friday’s two-hit performance against the Orioles. “I don’t know, I can’t control that. I haven’t talked to anybody about it. I’m a rookie in this kind of stuff.”
The feat may have been a personal one, but it didn’t stop the Rangers from going all out. Beltre entered Sunday’s game one hit shy of the 3,000 mark after recording his 2,999th hit on an 0-2 single in the fourth inning of Saturday’s 4-0 loss.
His historic knock arrived one day later, when Wade Miley served up a 3-0 fastball that Beltre roped down the third base line for a double in the fourth inning.
With runners on first and second and one out, the game was temporarily put on hold as Beltre soaked in the moment. The crowd gave him a standing ovation while his family and teammates ran onto the field, trading hugs and applauding the third baseman while the Rangers unfurled a commemorative banner in center field and mounted a plaque along the warning track in right field.
The hit put the Rangers’ infielder in fairly rare company: he’s just the 31st major leaguer to reach 3,000 career hits and only the second active player in the club. Marlins outfielder Ichiro Suzuki sits above him at no. 22 on the list, tied with Hall of Fame infielder Craig Biggio after recording his 3,060th career hit on a pinch-hit double during Friday’s win over the Reds.
When the game finally resumed, Rougned Odor clipped a two-RBI single off of Miley to put the Rangers on the board. He finished the night 3-for-5 with two home runs and five RBI, but that still wasn’t enough to dent the Orioles’ four-run lead.
Beltre, meanwhile, didn’t reach base again after his milestone hit in the fourth. Considering he produced 3,000 of them over the last 20 years, he’s long overdue for a break.
The two walk-off slams tie a major-league record, as Pearce joined Jim Presley and Cy Williams as the only players to record multiple walk-off grand slams in a single season. It was especially momentous for the Blue Jays, who had seen the feat accomplished just twice … in 40 years.
Pearce’s historic homer capped a dazzling six-run comeback as the Blue Jays surged past the Angels for an 11-10 finish in the ninth. With the win, they eluded a three-game sweep and bumped the Angels to 5.5 games back of a Wild Card berth.
The Cardinals dug their heels in against the Diamondbacks hurler in the first inning, leading off the game with three consecutive hits to take an early lead. Greinke settled into a groove by the end of the inning, however, and grazed the bottom of the strike zone with a changeup to catch Kolten Wong swinging and prevent further damage:
The lefty’s 5.38 average run support didn’t hurt, either, especially when Paul Goldschmidt, J.D. Martinez, and Ketel Marte combined for three home runs to pad the D-backs’ six-run lead. While there was some initial confusion over Goldschmidt’s homer, a 371-footer that just tapped the top of the right field wall, it was reviewed and ultimately upheld for his 22nd blast of the season.
For once, neither Aaron Judge nor Giancarlo Stanton was featured during the weekend’s home run reels. Andrew McCutchen decimated San Diego’s pitching staff on Sunday, smashing three home runs in a season-best performance as the Pirates avoided the sweep.
McCutchen wasted no time putting the Pirates on the board, selecting an 89 mph heater from starter Clayton Richard for his 20th home run of the season:
He returned in the eighth to pester reliever Jose Torres with two more home runs, the first a 424-foot blast and the second a ninth-inning, two-out solo shot that dinged the foul pole and ricocheted back into right field:
The outfielder’s standout performance was the cherry on top of a remarkable turnaround season. He entered Sunday slashing .286/.378/.507 and boosted his TAv over .300.
The gulls of the Bay Area have an unspoken understanding with their baseball teams. Baseball players and birds keep to their respective areas of the ballpark during standard nine-inning games, but when the competition stretches into extras, all bets are off.
One daring seagull reminded the Athletics of this agreement on Sunday afternoon, diving in front of a 90.8 mph heater as Khris Davis battled through an eight-pitch at-bat against Tyler Duffey of the Twins:
Luckily, for both man and bird, the game concluded one batter later with a walk-off Yonder Alonso home run, handing the A’s their second win of the weekend and leaving the wildlife casualty count at zero.
Defensive Play of the Weekend
Freddy Galvis made a pair of highlight reel-worthy plays during Sunday’s 2-1 win over the Braves, saving a run with a smooth pick at home plate in the first inning …
Aaron Judge, on the other hand, exhibited defensive maneuvers of a different kind on Saturday after a rowdy 11th-inning walk-off celebration inadvertently caused him to chip his tooth last week:
What to Watch on Monday
The two closest division races have the potential to shift on Monday, when the first-place Indians take on the second-place Red Sox to kick off a three-game series. Both starters present relative unknowns, as Mike Clevinger (3.35 DRA, 99 cFIP) is coming off of an abysmal start against the Angels last week and Doug Fister (7.47 DRA, 112 cFIP) is making his first start in nearly two weeks with David Price back on the disabled list (7:10 ET).
While Monday’s slate favors American League matchups, the NL East will get some exposure with the Braves/Phillies’ series finale and an evening showdown between the Nationals/Marlins. Gio Gonzalez (3.47 DRA, 100 cFIP) will take the mound for Washington, which doesn’t need a boost in the standings but could use some good karma after dropping two of three to the Rockies this weekend (7:10 ET). The Braves, on the other hand, are a full 10.5 games back of a postseason spot and will look for another quality start from ace Mike Foltynewicz (5.50 DRA, 102 cFIP) as they wrap up an 11-game road trip (12:35 ET).