On Father’s Day, Shed Long Jr. had his first home run of the season, a grand slam to lift the Seattle Mariners to a dramatic fashion.
A WALK-OFF GRAND SLAM FOR SHED LONG JR. TO COMPLETE A FOUR-GAME SWEEP pic.twitter.com/AV7iW7jVCu
— Jared Carrabis (@Jared_Carrabis) June 20, 2021
Daz Cameron also had a hot Father’s Day stick, to the delight of his former MLBbro Dad Mike.
— Bally Sports Detroit (@BallySportsDET) June 20, 2021
It was the culmination of a Father’s Day weekend that saw MLBbros take center stage, show up and show out.
It was poetic that so many Black and brown players had big games this weekend, especially on Saturday.
2021 marks the first year that America has officially designated Juneteenth as a federal holiday.
As with so many things that intersect with the Black experience in this country, there is both pride and sorrow in the holiday.
Black players have been integral to the longevity and appeal of baseball, and yet part of the reason that this very website exists is to shine a light on those who have been overlooked or undervalued throughout the history of the sport.
No one got overshadowed this weekend.
The Black Knights of Major League Baseball were swinging their swords with ferocity and leading their teams to victories.
From the National League to the American League, from newbies to vets, the crack of the bats could be heard across the country.
I don’t envy the job that my colleague Malik Wright will have in compiling his weekly High 5 of the best players of the week. There are enough stats from just the past couple of days that could have three times as many players getting some serious consideration.
Hopefully, this is a sign of things to come, with some balance being restored between offense and defense on the diamond.
Here’s a recap of some of the biggest plays and moments; in case you missed them.
Semien vs Mullins
Marcus Semien and Cedric Mullins put on a show at Camden Yards. The two combined to go 4-for-9 with five runs, five RBI, and four home runs between them. It was a night that was as good as it gets for two certain All-Stars.
Entering Sunday’s games, Mullins, who still doesn’t rank among the top-3 vote-getters among AL outfielders, has been having an amazing month of June. In 15 games, he’s batted .424, slugging .881 with an OPS of 1.389.
He ranks first in the American League in slugging and OPS this month while sitting second in both batting average and hits (25), and fourth in runs scored (15) and home runs (7).
Semien meanwhile has been the steady presence in the Toronto Blue Jays lineup. His five home runs in June have already surpassed his total from May, and he’s equaled his April output.
Two players in top form, showing up and showing out. What more could you ask?
Semien didn’t waste any time in getting the party started in Baltimore, leading off the game with a towering 405-foot blast to left field.
Marcus Semien – Toronto Blue Jays (17) Solo. pic.twitter.com/gQvocwnqE6
— MLB HR Tracker (@hr_mlb) June 19, 2021
Down 2-1 in the third, Mullins answered with a solo shot of his own into the right field stands.
— MLB (@MLB) June 19, 2021
Baltimore was leading 6-3 in the seventh inning, when Mullins cranked his second shot of the day, giving him four in the series’ first two games, and the O’s a 7-3 advantage.
Cedric Mullins keeps. launching. bombs. pic.twitter.com/UDC1FV7OjF
— Ben Palmer (@benjpalmer) June 19, 2021
Semien answered in the top of the eighth; leading of the inning with a second home run of his own, and cutting the deficit back to three runs.
— Lunch Break Baseball (@LunchBreakBB) June 19, 2021
Ultimately, Semien and the Jays were able to come from behind and take a 10-7 victory over Mullins’ Orioles, but no matter which side you were on, it was something to behold.
Don’t look now, but the New York Yankees have won five of their last six games. Of course, Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton have been in the middle of the resurgence.
In taking the second game of their three-game series with the Oakland A’s 7-5, Judge and Stanton didn’t have to go deep to have their impact felt.
Judge went 2-5, scoring twice and driving in one.
Aaron Judge picks up an RBI and makes it a 1 run game
— Yankees Videos (@snyyankees) June 19, 2021
Meanwhile, Stanton was 2-2, with a pair of walks and an oppo single that scored Judge, and tied the game at four.
Giancarlo Stanton ties the game in the 7th! pic.twitter.com/Cr9neu5BEg
— Around The Diamond (@_AroundDiamond) June 19, 2021
After finishing the series with a 2-1 win on Sunday, the Yankees sit 4.5 games behind the Boston Red Sox in the AL East with plenty of games left to play.
Houston’s Hit Machine
Michael Brantley is on fire.
In 11 games in the month of June (he was out from May 24-June 7 with injury), he’s had seven multi-hit games, and an AL-best .475 batting average. His average has jumped 36 points, from .305 to .341 over that span, putting him in a three-way tie for tops in all of baseball.
Saturday night he delivered more of the same, going 2-4 with two RBI, and a run scored as Houston beat the Chicago White Sox 7-3.
— Houston Astros (@astros) June 20, 2021
The Grand Finale
J.P. Crawford is growing up right before our eyes. Now in his fifth season, he’s establishing himself as the Seattle Mariners’ leadoff man and shortstop for years to come.
Crawford had just one hit Saturday night, but he made it count. It was his first career Grand Salami.
— Seattle Mariners (@Mariners) June 20, 2021
In the bottom of the 10th, it was Crawford standing on second as the designated runner to open the inning. One pitch into the inning, Mitch Haniger’s single brought Crawford home, giving Seattle their 16th come-from-behind win, and their seventh win in eight extra-inning games.
Mitch Haniger Walks it off on the Fiest Pitch of the Bottom of the 10th for the Seattle Steelheads (Mariners) with a Walk Off single to bring home JP Crawford and beat the Rays in Extras pic.twitter.com/as7M1mtcHq
— MLB Walk Offs & Game Winning Plays (@MLBWalk_Offs) June 20, 2021
What made it doubly special was that Seattle was wearing the uniforms of the Negro League Seattle Steelheads. For Crawford, it was a moment he’ll never forget.
“It hit me a little differently today with everything going on with Juneteenth and wearing those jerseys,” said Crawford. “It was just so special to me.”
It was a special weekend across MLB for so many players, both on the field and in their hearts. With the level of talented brothers doing their thing on a daily basis, there’s definitely a lot of content for MLBbro.com to cover and deliver straight to your computer, tablet, or smartphone.