By Ron Kaplan, contributor

Mazel of the Weekend: Kevin Pillar continues to produce in the leadoff spot for the Toronto Blue Jays. Although he was just 3-for-14 this weekend, two of those hits went for his second and third home runs of the year. He drove in three and scored a total of three runs as the Jays (5-13) took two of three from the host LA Angels. Pillar has an 11-game hitting streak going on and, in fact, has a hit in 16 of his 18 games in 2017. And of course, there’s the defense:

Ryan Braun was also in home run mode for the Milwaukee Brewers (9-11). He hit his sixth on Friday, one of his four hits in 12 at-bats in a  three-game sweep at the hands of the visiting St. Louis Cardinals. Braun drove in the first run of yesterday’s game with his third double. He also had a defensive “highlight,” making a great diving catch but then throwing the ball away for an error that allowed a run to score:

Ian Kinsler was 3-for-14 with a run scored, a walk, and two strikeouts as the Detroit Tigers (10-8) took two of three from the host Minnesota Twins (8-10).

Craig Breslow entered Saturday’s game in the sixth inning for the Twins with one on and no out, giving up an RBI double (so that run didn’t go against his record) and in turn had the pitcher who relieved him allow Breslow’s responsibility to score, so that seems fair. Breslow came on in the sixth again in yesterday’s game with two on, two out, and three runs already in for the Tigers and ended the threat with a strikeout. He retired the side in the seventh without incident.

The LA Dodgers inserted Joc Pederson into the leadoff spot on Friday. He responded by singling, doubling, and scoring twice in four at bats in Friday’s 13-5 loss to the host Arizona Diamondbacks. The next day he was hitless in four at-bats (three strikeouts) from the sixth spot in the lineup in an 11-4 loss. Sunday he was back on top, with a double and run scored (plus a walk) as the Dodgers (9-10) avoided the sweep with a 6-2 win. Pederson came out of the game after his at-bat in the sixth inning with some upper leg tightness.

Alex Bregman was 3-for-11 with two strikeouts and two walks as the Houston Astros (an AL-best 13-5) took two of three from the host Tampa Bay Rays. He has a five-game hitting streak (what’s the minimum number to start noting streaks these days?).

Danny Valencia was 0-for-4 on Friday and 0-for-3 on Saturday for the Seattle Mariners (8-12) in two losses to the Oakland As. He did not appear in Sunday’s game, an 11-1 Mariners win. Valencia is having the toughest time of all the MOTs, batting just .145, and he might be squandering his opportunity with the Mariners.

Scott Feldman did not appear for the Cincinnati Reds (10-9), who lost two of three to the visiting Chicago Cubs. His next start comes tomorrow against Braun’s Brewers.

Ron Kaplan (@RonKaplanNJ) hosts Kaplan’s Korner, a blog about Jews and sports. He is the author of three books, including The Jewish Olympics: The History of the Maccabiah Games and the forthcoming Hank Greenberg in 1938: Hatred and Home Runs in the Shadow of War.

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