By Ron Kaplan, contributor

MOT of the Weekend honors go to Alex Bregman. The Houston Astros’ All-Star was 4-for-11 with two doubles (putting him at 40, good for a first-place tie in the American League). He walked three times, scored four runs, and drove in one as the ‘Stros (80-50, first in AL West) swept the visiting LA Angels. Weird fact: yesterday, “A-Berg” (remember the players were wearing the nicknames on their uniforms this weekend) extended his road on-base streak to 45 games. The things they keep track of…

Ryan Braun was 2-for-7 on Friday as the Milwaukee Brewers (73-59, third in NL Central) beat the visiting Pittsburgh Pirates 7-6 in 15 innings. Pittsburgh took a 6-4 lead in the top of the 15th, but the homeys scored three in the bottom of the frame for the “W.” Braun didn’t play on Saturday but was 1-for-4 with a run scored and an RBI in Sunday’s 7-4 win. There’s a new expose about the dark underbelly of baseball. In a Sports Illustrated excerpt from Baseball Cop: The Dark Side of America’s National Pastime, we learn “why Braun got caught using PEDs.”

Joc Pederson did not appear in Friday’s game for the LA Dodgers (70-61, third in NL West) against the visiting San Diego Padres (50-83, fifth in NL West), and he grounded out as a pinch-hitter on Saturday. On Sunday, Pederson walked and scored a run, again as a pinch-hitter, as the Dodgers completed the three-game sweep. His playing time was evidently reduced further due to a knee contusion he suffered from a foul ball.

Robert Stock appeared in all three games. On Friday, he threw one shutout inning (one walk, two strikeouts). Saturday’s contest was truly bizarre. Stock took the mound in the bottom of the 12th inning of a 4-4 tie. He walked the first batter. That was followed by a sacrifice to move the runner to second. With the score tied at 4-4 in the 12th inning, the lights went out for 21 minutes. When play resumed, Stock returned to the hill (kind of surprising to me, but what do I know?) and induced Justin Turner to hit a pop up on the first pitch that fell into the Bermuda Triangle between first, second and right field for the unlikely game-winning hit. So Stock’s line was 1/3 of an inning, one hit, one run, and his first Major league loss. Oh, and he pitched another shutout inning the next day, allowing one hit. It is the first time he has pitched on three consecutive days.

Ian Kinsler was 2-for-10 as the Boston Red Sox (90-42, first place AL East) were swept in their three-game series by the host Tampa Bay Rays.

Kevin Pillar, whose future in Toronto’s outfield is said to be secure (see article), was 1-for-12 with a run scored as the Blue Jays (60-70, fourth in AL East) took two of three from Gabe Kaplers Philadelphia Phillies (70-60, second in NL East). Pillar moved up in the lineup each day: sixth on Friday, fifth on Saturday (when he got his sole hit), and clean-up yesterday.

The St. Louis Cardinals (73-58, second in NL Central) have released pitcher Ryan Sherriff, currently on the disabled list. Didn’t even know you could do that. Seems especially cold-hearted, but, hey, it’s a business. From

Sherriff underwent Tommy John surgery in early June, but the Cardinals needed to create space on the 40-man roster for the return of Dominic Leone (biceps) from the 60-day disabled list, prompting the move. Sherriff will be unable to pitch at least through the first half of the 2019 season as he enters free agency at an unfortunate juncture.

And this, from

Atlanta Braves (73-57, first in NL East) starting pitcher Max Fried (groin) was activated from the 10-day disabled list on Monday and was then optioned to Triple-A Gwinnett. Fried has been good for the Braves this year, going 1-4 with a 3.14 ERA, 1.36 WHIP and 36 strikeouts in 28 2/3 innings over 10 appearances (five starts). He’ll be an option for spot starts next month and can be utilized in deeper leagues as a streamer if the matchup is right.

Danny Valencia, designated for assignment by the Baltimore Orioles, is still available.

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 Hank Greenberg in 1938: Hatred and Home Runs in the Shadow of War.

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