The Angels beat the Nationals 7-2 on Tuesday night. But really, that final score was secondary to what happened on the field – Albert Pujols hit home runs 499 and 500, becoming the third youngest player in MLB history to reach the benchmark and the first since Gary Sheffield back in 2009 with the Mets. What’s next for Pujols? Well, he can slide into the top 20 all-time if he adds another 21 homers to his ledger this season, and there’s a very realistic chance he can slide into the top 15 by the end of next season.
As for who’s next to join Pujols in the hallowed club? Well, it might be awhile – no active player aside from Pujols (and Alex Rodriguez, but…yeah) has as many as 450 career homers, and there are only five active players sitting between 400 and 450 (Adam Dunn, Jason Giambi, David Ortiz, Paul Konerko, Alfonso Soriano). Needless to say, it could be awhile before we see another MLB player do what Pujols did on Tuesday night.
Game of the Night: Rangers 5, Athletics 4. The A’s bullpen has been a mess, and that issue popped up once again on Tuesday. Oakland held a 4-3 lead since the fourth inning, and Luke Gregerson looked to seal the deal in the ninth. He immediately allowed a leadoff double to Mitch Moreland, who was thrown out at the plate after a pair of bunts. With two outs and just a man on first, things looked a little easier for Gregerson, but of course, they weren’t. Leonys Martin stole second, and scored on a double by Josh Wilson. Wilson then scored following a single by Michael Choice, turning a 4-3 lead into a 5-4 deficit in the span of two batters. Joakim Soria set down the side in the ninth, and Texas moved to within a half game of Oakland in the AL West.
Pitching Lines of the Night: The Marlins topped the Braves 1-0, but you can’t blame Alex Wood for the defeat. Jose Fernandez was just freakishly good for Miami, allowing three hits over eight scoreless frames, punching out 14 without a walk. For his part, Wood gave up one run on four hits in eight innings of his own, striking out 11 while walking none. Collin McHugh (of course) had a sterling game for the Astros in their 5-2 victory over the Mariners, giving up three hits over 6 2/3 shutout innings, punching out a dozen without a walk. Johnny Cueto was quietly effective for the Reds in their 4-1 win over the Pirates, allowing one run on three hits in a complete game, walking three and striking out four. David Price spun a complete game for the Rays in their 7-3 win over the Twins, giving up three runs on seven hits in nine innings, walking one and striking out 12.
Hitting Lines of the Night: Tuesday was all about Pujols, who went 2/4 with two homers and five RBI. In the Royals’ 8-2 win over the Indians, Eric Hosmer went 4/5 with three runs, one RBI, and two doubles. Miguel Cabrera snapped out of his funk to lead the Tigers to an 8-6 win over the White Sox, going 3/5 with a double, a homer, and three RBI. In Houston’s win over Seattle, Jason Castro went 2/4 with a homer, two runs, two RBI, and a walk. Jacoby Ellsbury helped his new team to a 9-3 win over his old team, going 2/5 with a double, a triple, two runs, and two RBI.
Other Games: The Blue Jays homered three times in a 9-3 win over the Orioles. The Cardinals and Adam Wainwright shut out the Mets 3-0. The Cubs smashed the Diamondbacks 9-2. The Padres beat the Brewers 2-1 in 12 innings. The Rockies topped the Giants 2-1. The Phillies prevailed over the Dodgers 3-2 in ten innings.
What You Missed: The suspensions were handed out for the Brewers-Pirates fracas. This week’s most exciting walk offs. Diamondbacks GM Kevin Towers has been put on notice. Chris Sale has finally landed on the DL.
Today’s Games: Nate Eovaldi starts for the Marlins in Atlanta against the resurgent Aaron Harang. Wade Miley and Jeff Samardzija will duel at Wrigley. Matt Cain starts for the Giants in Colorado. Martin Perez and Sonny Gray will face off in Oakland. Michael Pineda starts for the Yankees at Fenway. Jered Weaver and Gio Gonzalez will square off in Washington. Justin Masterson and the Indians host the Royals. Chris Tillman starts for the Orioles in Toronto. Alfredo Simon and Charlie Morton will match up in Pittsburgh. Michael Wacha starts for the Cardinals against Jon Niese and the Mets. Tyson Ross starts for the Padres against Kyle Lohse and the Brewers. Cole Hamels makes his season debut for the Phillies in Los Angeles against Zack Greinke and the Dodgers.
National TV: Diamondbacks-Cubs (2 PM, MLB Network), Giants-Rockies (3 PM, MLB Network), Yankees-Red Sox (7 PM, duh, ESPN)
MLB.tv Free Game: Astros-Mariners (3:40 PM)
Enjoy your day of baseball, everyone.