By Ron Kaplan, contributor

Alex Bregman hit his second home run of the season yesterday, his only hit in four at-bats and the only run for the Houston Astros (21-15, second in AL West) in a 3-1 loss to the host Arizona Diamondbacks. He also made his fifth error of the season when he was called for obstruction on this play. At first I thought it was a bit unfair to rule it that way, but at the end you can see Bregman stick out his leg. For the rest of the weekend, he was 2-for-7 with a double (#9) and two walks. The Astros — 4-6 in their last 10 games — lost two of three to the D’backs.

Kevin Pillar — one of the “hottest players in baseball” — was 3-for-12 with two more doubles (#15), both coming in yesterdays’ 2-1 win over the host Tampa Bay Rays in which he scored the eventual winning run on a wild pitch. The Jays (19-16, third in AL East) had lost the first two games of the series.

Ryan Braun struck out as a pinch-hitter in the seventh inning of Saturday’s game for the Milwaukee Brewers (20-15, second place NL Central), but he redeemed himself the next inning when his two-run double proved to be the winner in a 5-3 decision over the visiting Pittsburgh Pirates (see below). The hit came with two out and a 2-2 count. Braun — still hampered with nagging injuries — struck out as a pinch hitter in a 6-4 loss Friday and fanned three times in four at-bats in yesterday’s 9-0 shutout defeat.

Ian Kinsler managed just one single in 16 at-bats for the LA Angels over the weekend . He also walked once and scored twice. His batting average has dropped to .198, but the Angels are in first place in the AL West with a record of 21-13 after taking two of three from the host Seattle Mariners. Mazel tov to Albert Pujols, who got his 3,000th hit on Friday in the Angels’ 5-0 win. He becomes just the fourth player to amass 3,000 hits and 600 home runs, joining Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, and Alex Rodriguez in a very exclusive club.

Joc Pederson entered Friday’s game for the LA Dodgers (15-19, fourth in NL West) against the host San Diego Padres as a pinch-hitter (strikeout) in the sixth. He remained in the game, playing left and center (not at the same time, of course) as four LA hurlers combined for a no-hitter. Pederson was hitless in a subsequent at-bat. He started the next day, playing center and batting sixth, and went 2-for-4 with his fourth double and a run scored in a 7-4 loss. He singled as a pinch hitter yesterday in a 3-0 loss. That run on Saturday came on an unusual play:

Richard Bleier‘s only appearance for the Baltimore Orioles came on Friday in a 6-4 loss to the host Oakland A’s. He allowed one hit and struck out a batter to end the eighth inning, lowering his ERA to 0.46. Danny Valencia started that game, playing third and batting seventh. He was 1-for-3 with a walk and an RBI. He struck out the next day as a pinch-hitter in the 11th inning of a 2-0 loss. He did not appear yesterday. The Orioles — who were swept by the A’s — are 8-26, tied with the Cincinnati Reds for the worst record in the Majors.

Ryan Sherriff — recalled on Friday — tossed two innings on Saturday for the St. Louis Cardinals (20-12, first place NL Central) in their 8-6, 10-inning, walk-off win over the visiting Chicago Cubs. He allowed one run (coming on a homer), one of two hits he gave up. He also struck out a batter. It was his only appearance on the weekend, during which the Cards swept their rivals.

The Atlanta Braves (19-14, first place NL East) — who lost their three-game series to the visiting San Francisco Giants — optioned pitcher Max Fried to the minors on Saturday. He was 0-2 with an ERA of 6.00 in four appearances since his April 24 season debut.

Gabe Kapler‘s Philadelphia Phillies lost two of three to the host Washington Nationals but maintained second place in the NL East with a record of 18-15.

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.

# # #

Get your Jewish Baseball News updates via e-mail