I’ve added a few more games to the top of this post, above the solid line.
Brewers 5, @Twins 3: Just when it seemed the Crew would waste a leadoff double in the 9th and perhaps skid to a 4th straight loss against weak AL Central foes, Martin Maldonado‘s 2-out, 2-and-2, 2-run HR gave them a lead, and John Axford (working a 3rd straight day) converted his first 1-2-3 save since May 23.
- Maldonado, called up when Jonathan Lucroy was hurt in late May (and hitting .198 in the PCL at the time), has a .902 OPS, 4 HRs and 12 RBI in 49 ABs, including 3 big-impact blows in the last 8 days; he has 3 of the 24 WPA marks of .35 or better that have been achieved in MLB in that time. In high-leverage situations, he’s 5 for 11 with 3 HRs, 10 RBI and a 1.727 OPS. Brewer catchers have a combined .300/.388/.521 slash line.
- All Milwaukee’s runs came on two swings, including Ryan Braun‘s 3-run HR. He has hit in 10 straight games.
- Minny’s Trevor Plouffe (2 solo shots) is on a home run binge: 13 HRs in 88 PAs over 22 games. But his 14 HRs this year have plated just 16 runs.
- DH Ryan Doumit struck out in all 4 trips, thrice with a man aboard.
Diamondbacks 5, @Angels 0: Just like the old days, Trevor Cahill mastered the Halos on 3 hits over 7 IP, and won a 3rd straight start for the first time in over a year. Aaron Hill redeemed his earlier ABs (flyout with RISP and GIDP) with a 2-out, 3-run HR in the 6th, after an IBB to Miguel Montero. Nos. 1-5 in Anaheim…’s order went 0 for 19 with a walk, and only 2 Angels got as far as 2nd base, both with 2 outs, as they were blanked for the 9th time this year.
- Reliever Brad Ziegler induced a GIDP for the 8th time in 27 chances, a 30% rate (MLB rate 11%). The DPs are tied for 12th in the majors, and among those with at least 5 DPs, only Cliff Lee has a higher DP%.
- Arizona, 7-3 in interleague games, has won 9 of 12 and slithered into hailing distance of the wild-card discussion. The Angels are 1-2 with 4 total runs since some bloggart predicted they would win the AL West.
@Blue Jays 3, Phillies 0: Toronto starter Drew Hutchison left in the 1st, their 3rd SP in 5 days lost to an in-game injury. But former starter Carlos Villanueva stepped up with 4 scoreless innings, Brett Lawrie had 2 doubles (including the game’s first RBI), and the Jays scored 2 unearned runs after a Mike Fontenot throwing error in the 4th, sending the Phils to their 10th loss in 13 games.
- Cliff Lee isn’t the only Philly pitcher getting stiffed by the offense. They’ve scored 1 run total in Vance Worley‘s 3 losses. Worley and Lee have a combined mark of 3-6, 3.01 in 20 starts.
- Toronto leads 19-18 in the all-time series between the current and former Blue Jays (see sidebar).
Royals 3, @Cardinals 2: If there’s such a thing as a walk-off win on the road, this was it. KC won their 4th straight, each by the slimmest of margins. The Cards are 6-11 in one-run games, and 5 games below their Pythagorean record.
- Vin Mazzaro, perhaps best remembered for this epic adventure, delivered a half-dozen goose eggs for the 2nd time in 3 June outings.
- Alex Gordon hit his 20th double, out of 61 total hits (32.8%). Only 6 qualified batters have ever had a full-season 2B rate that high. The runaway leader in that regard is Eric Hinske, with 45 two-baggers out of 109 hits in 2003 (41.3%). Gordon is just 6th among current qualifiers in 2B rate, a group led by Joey Votto (28 of 78); Votto is on pace for a record 72 doubles.
- Milestone moment marred: Carlos Beltran bagged his 300th steal to become the 8th member of the 300 HR/300 SB fraternity (with a nifty 87% career success rate), reaching 2nd base as the tying run with 2 out — and then got picked off to end the inning.
- Matt Holliday (0-4) has 1 RBI in 11 games this month and is hitting .200 with RISP this year.
- St. Loo leads the all-time series, 38-29 … or 41-33, if you want to ruffle some feathers.
@Rangers 6, Astros 2: Throwing 69% strikes, a personal best, Yu Darvish notched 11 Ks against the Astros’ porous bats, including 8 of his last 9 outs in a solid 8 innings. He walked 2, including a leadoff in the 3rd that came around for the game’s first run, but none after that. The big 5th inning had none of the expected Texas thunder: After an error and a HBP, 5 runs were scored on 5 straight singles.
- Despite some hiccups, Darvish has matched the Rangers’ record with 8 wins in his first 13 games, set by Matt Harrison in 2008. His countryman Kazuhisa Ishii has the best career-opening run this century, winning his first 6 starts and 10 of his first 12 in 2002.
- Josh Hamilton got a rest after snapping his 8-game “vitamin” hit streak the day before. The AL’s Player of the Month for April & May is hitting .196 in June, with a HR, 5 RBI and 3 runs in 13 games (Rangers 6-7).
- Houston’s 146 Ks in 13 June games are 23 more than any other NL club.
- Texas has dominated this series 17-5 since 2007, and leads 40-30 all-time.
@Indians 2, Pirates 0: Justin Masterson worked out of a 7th-inning jam, retiring Alex Presley with 2 out and the go-ahead run on 2nd, to earn his 3rd win. Pittsburgh had just 5 hits and 9 baserunners, and went 0-6 with RISP. Carlos Santana‘s 2-out, full-count double tallied the only run off James McDonald, who didn’t have his best control — 54 strikes in 101 pitches, though just 2 walks.
- Win, lose or draw, McDonald’s numbers look the same. In 3 losses, he has a 2.29 ERA and 1.02 WHIP; in 5 no-decisions, 2.57 and 0.96; in 5 wins, 2.14 and 0.89.
- Git ‘er done: Nothing about Chris Perez yells “star!” except the bottom line: MLB-best 21 saves, none blown since Opening Day. And maybe this: Perez and Craig Kimbrel are the only full-time closers who have not allowed a home run.
- Andrew McCutchen was 0 for 3 with a walk, and moved the tying runner to 3rd with 1 out in the 6th; his WPA was slightly negative at -0.055. The Pirates, who still have no other hitters with OPS+ of at least 100, are 4-12 when his WPA is -0.05 or lower.
- The Bucs have scored a run or less 19 times, tops in MLB.
- Dempster won his 3rd straight start, evening his record at 3-3 and trimming his ERA to 2.11 in 81 IP. That would tie the lowest qualifying mark by a Cub since 1933, when Lon Warneke had a 2.00 ERA. The other 2.11 was by Dick Ellsworth in 1963. Since then, their only sub-2.40 was by Greg Maddux in 1992, his first of 4 straight Cy Young seasons (and last year with Chicago).
- Not enough? Dempster, an .097 hitter (56-579) — 4th-worst among actives with 300 PAs — went 2 for 2 (half the Cubs’ hit total) and legged out his 2nd career triple.
- The Cubs’ last 3-start scoreless streak in one season was by (I kid you not) Ken Holtzman, in 1969, when he tossed 6 shutouts, including a no-hitter (not in the streak). Holtzman also had a 3-shutout streak in ’68. And that’s it for the Cubs in the expansion era.
- If Vogelsong and Matt Cain (2.18) keep this up, they’ll be the first Giants teammates with ERA+ of at least 150 since Christy Mathewson and Jeff Tesreau exactly 100 years ago, and the first with ERA of 2.30 or lower since Carl Hubbell and Prince Hal Schumacher in 1933.
- Not to be outdone, Melky Cabrera (4-1-2-2, HR, .365 BA) would be the only Giant besides Barry Bonds to bat .360+ since Bill Terry and Freddie Lindstrom both did it in 1930.
@Athletics 10, Padres 2 (9th): Brandon Moss homered for the 4th straight game, which no A’s hitter had done since Jack Cust in 2007. The franchise record since 1918 (covering all 3 cities) is 6 games by Frank Thomas in 2006. Only 3 others have done 5: Matt Stairs (1998), Dave Kingman (1986) and George Alusik (1962). Alusik, bought from Detroit in May of that year, would hit just 13 more HRs after that streak, finishing with 23 in his 5-year career.
@Dodgers 7, White Sox 6: Sailing along with a 5-1 lead and a 5-start win streak, Chris Sale opened a porthole in the 6th by walking the leadoff man, destiny’s darlings swamped him for 5 runs. The Sox tied it up again, but then … um … aw, hell, I don’t know what to make of this play-by-play line:
“J Loney scored, E Herrera to second on fielder’s indifference, E Herrera to third on wild pitch by M Thornton.”
- Say again? Maybe this will help.
- Adam Dunn seized the MLB lead outright with his 23rd HR. Yes, yes, relax — he also walked and whiffed. But the game ended with Dunn on deck.
Yankees 7, @Nationals 2: About time someone stuck up for the AL East! With both teams riding 6-game win streaks against their Eastern opposites, New York pulled away with a big 7th inning against Brad Lidge, and assailed some of their own demons with a couple of bases-loaded hits and an over-all 4 for 8 with RISP,
- With 2 outs and 2 strikes in the 9th, New York was in danger of winning without a home run for the first time this year, but Curtis Granderson drilled his 20th HR and became the first player with 20+ HRs in each of the past 6 years. Washington’s winning streak ended at 6
Rockies 12, @Tigers 4: How do you snap an 8-game losing streak? How about 8 runs in the 10th? Colorado had the biggest eruption in the 9th or later this year, and the biggest in extra innings since 2009-08-16, when the Angels dropped 9 on Baltimore. Jose Valverde, whose error helped trigger the onslaught, was charged with 6 runs, tying the worst game of his career.
- First Rox road game scoring more than 8 runs and the 2nd with more than 6. They began the night with an average of 3.5 R/G away, 6.3 at home.
Reds 7, @Mets 3: Jay Bruce ran out the second inside-the-park home run in Citi Field history, after Pistol Pete Bay wiped out in a valiant effort to catch or corral a deep drive and accidentally slid head-first into the LF wall. Bay wobbled off the field and may have another concussion. The previous Citi ITPHR was hit in 2009 by Angel Pagan against Pedro Martinez, in his first game in the new park after calling Shea home for 4 seasons.
- Brandon Phillips homered in his 3rd straight game, a new personal best. His 40 RBI are 1 behind Dan Uggla among all second basemen.
- Kirk Nieuwenhuis homered for the 2nd straight game, after sitting out for the first time since he was called up for the 2nd game of the year. He has appeared in 63 of their 65 games. The franchise record for a first-year player is 151 games by Rey Ordonez in 1996.
- Ike Davis hit in his 6th straight game. The 9-for-16 barrage has raised his BA from .158 to .191 — a season high.
I’m too tired to organize these, so….
Three hitters began Friday’s games with 3-game HR streaks: Trevor Plouffe of the Twins, Oakland’s Brandon Moss (who hit 4 HRs in a Coors series), and Brandon Belt, the first Giant in almost 3 years to do it at home. Belt hadn’t hit a HR all year, 141 PAs, and began the series with as many or more career HRs in Coors Field (3 in 6 games) and the Marlins’ old park (2 in 1 game) as he had on his home ground (2 in 55 games). Those 3 in Denver also were in consecutive games. So Belt, with 12 career HRs in 114 games, has two 3-game HR streaks, each within a single series.
Carlos Pena walked and scored in his 2 PAs against Carlos Zambrano Friday — just as he did in his only prior encounter with Big Z, last Saturday. Four career PAs, 4 walks, 4 runs. For good measure, Pena walked and scored in his third trip Friday, against Chad Gaudin. Three “disaster starts” in his last 5 outings have multiplied Big Z’s ERA from 1.96 to 3.92. Pena has 4 hits in 37 ABs this month, no HRs — but he’s still scored 9 runs in 13 games, thanks to 14 walks.
James McDonald (1 R in 6 IP) has not allowed more than 3 runs in any of his 13 starts, the longest streak this year. He’s 3 shy of the Pirates’ live-ball record, set by Vern Law in 1959 (the year before he won the CYA).