By Ron Kaplan, contributor

Ian Kinsler hit home run #18, but the Detroit Tigers (60-86) nevertheless lost to the visiting Chicago White Sox, 17-7. Kinsler, who served as DH in this one, clubbed his shot in the ninth inning for his only hit in five at-bats. Prior to the game, Kinsler was presented with the 2017 Heart and Hustle Award by former Tigers favorite Willie Horton. I remember Horton from when I was a kid and was amazed to see how small he looked next to Kinsler. I don’t know if I’m just sensitive when it comes to JMLs, but it seems Kinsler is the target of more than his share of antagonism within the local sports media.

In their previous game, the Tigers saw their catcher and manager ejected for arguing balls and strikes by Home plate umpire Quinn Walcott. Shortly thereafter, Walcott was hit by a pitched ball when the replacement backstop, John Hicks, failed to catch the throw. There was some speculation by sports pundits — including those on ESPN’s Pardon the Interruption — that it was a deliberate play. This reminded me of a scene in Philip Roth‘s underrated baseball book, The Great American Novel, in which Mike “The Mouth” Masterson, a home plate umpire, was intentionally hit in the throat by a fastball thrown by vindictive pitcher Gil Gamesh, thus ending the careers of both men. As Casey Stengel used to say, “You can look it up.” Needless to say, Brad Ausmus denies the accusations.

Getting back to yesterday, Kevin Pillar singled and doubled (#35), but the Toronto Blue Jays (68-79) fell to the host Minnesota Twins in 10 innings, 3-2.

Alex Bregman also notched his 35th two-bagger. It was his only hit in five at-bats as the Houston Astros (88-58) beat the host LA Angels, 5-2. Bregman also scored a run and drove one in.

The Cleveland Indians (91-56) set a new record for consecutive wins when they beat the visiting KC Royals, also 3-2 in 10. Craig Breslow did not appear for the Tribe.

Ryan Sherriff did not appear for the St. Louis Cardinals (77-69) in their 5-3 win over the visiting Cincinnati Reds.

Max Fried did not appear for the Atlanta Braves (66-79) in their 5-2 loss to the host Washington Nationals.

Richard Bleier did not appear for the Baltimore Orioles (72-75) in their 13-5 loss to the host NY Yankees. Danny Valencia did not appear for the Seattle Mariners (74-73), who beat the host Texas Rangers, 10-4.

Ryan Braun and the Milwaukee Brewers had the day off, as did Joc Pederson and the LA Dodgers.

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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