@Reds 12, Indians 7: Joey Votto reversed a 2-0 deficit with a 3-run bomb, Brandon Phillips had a second straight big game, and Cincinnati went on to complete just the 2nd sweep in 26 series against their upstate rivals.
- Shin-Soo Choo located his missing power stroke, joining Nieuwenhuis in hitting 2 HRs from the leadoff spot, including a gargantuan clout to start the game. But he whiffed in his other 3 trips, twice in RBI spots, as the Tribe went 0-for-10 with RISP.
- Streaking, but slowly: After grounding out to 2B in his first 3 trips, Michael Brantley doubled to extend his hitting streak to 21 games. It was his 4th straight 1-hit game and 14th during the streak, which has no games of 3+ hits. It’s the longest streak of that peculiar nature since 2009, when Victor Martinez had a 25-game hitting streak all with 1 or 2 hits. Brantley’s next-longest hitting streak, 19 games, also had no more than 2 hits in a game.
Mets 9, @Rays 6: In consecutive games, the Mets faced the junior loop’s nos. 3 and 5 in ERA — David Price (2.40) and Jeremy Hellickson (2.65) — and gave each the worst beating of his career, at least by earned runs. Hellickson had never yielded more than 5 runs in his 45 career starts, but New York tallied 8 earnies on 9 hits and 3 HRs in 3.2 IP, scoring in each of his 4 innings and bumping his ERA all the way to 3.45.
- Kirk Nieuwenhuis hit the Mets’ first leadoff HR in almost 2 calendar years, then drilled a 2-run shot in the 4th — oppo, on a 1-2 pitch — when the Mets erupted for 4 runs starting with 2 out and none on. The Mets have scored 48.5% of their runs with 2 outs.
- The Mets’ last 3-game streak scoring 9+ runs ending exactly 6 years ago. The Rays last allowed 9+ in 3 straight games a year before that, June 2005. The Amazin’s swung so well in this series, they even nicked Fernando Rodney for just his 4th earned run this year, pushing his ERA over 1.
- And there was even a redemptive moment for Jon Rauch, who cleaned up Johan’s bases-loaded, no-out mess in the 6th with 3 straight outs, starting with 2 Ks — just his second appearance this year with that many whiffs.
- Break out the cheap-win champagne, Johan! A 41 Game Score was his 2nd-lowest ever in a winning effort.
Tigers 5, @Cubs 3: Justin Verlander gave back a 2-0 lead in the 2nd, but gave the Cubs just 3 singles over his last 6 frames, and after wasting many chances to retake the lead (3 DPs), the bats finally broke through in the 7th on a 2-out hit by Austin Jackson following Verlander’s sacrifice.
- Jackson (4-2-3-3, HR, double, walk) went 2-for-2 with RISP, the rest of the Tigers 1-for-9; they began the day with the AL’s best RISP average. Jackson’s 2-run shot in the 9th gave a welcome cushion for Jose Valverde, who allowed a run while converting his 13th save in 16 tries. Besides cutting his over-all K rate, Jackson has made his best contact in RBI chances, just 5 whiffs in 36 PAs with RISP (14%) — less than half his prior career rate. He’s jacked his OPS to .957, which ranks 14th at this writing among players with 150 PAs.
- Through 14 starts, the reigning MVP is 6-4, 2.66, with an 0.97 WHIP and 103 Ks in 102 IP. Last year at this point he was 7-3, 2.89, with an 0.94 WHIP and 93 Ks in 103 IP.
@Royals 4, Brewers 3: More misery for Milwaukee. John Axford blew a save for the 2nd night in a row, and once again wildness of all stripes was the culprit. Leading off the 9th, Mitch Maier struck out on 3 pitches, but the last one got away and Maier got on. He moved up on a groundout, and stayed there as Alcides Escobar, Wednesday’s 9th-inning hero, went down swinging for what should have been the final out. Up stepped CF Jarrod Dyson, batting .233 for his career, .250 this year with 4 RBI in 141 ABs — the worst ribby rate in the majors, other than opposing CF Nyjer Morgan. Axford threw him a strike, and then 4 straight balls, putting the winning run on base.
- And then, this happened (try to count the mental and physical errors on the play), giving KC their first 3-game home winning streak — all by 1 run, all won in the 8th or later. These last two walk-off wins are their only ones this year.
- It’s the 2nd time this year that multiple runs scored off Axford as a direct consequence of a batter reaching on a SO/WP.
Astros 6, Giants 3: It took just 2 pitches to assure no repeat of Wednesday’s historics, and J.D. Martinez hit his first-ever grand slam, leading Houston to just their 5th win in 18 games and 9th in 31 road tries.
- Martinez was hitting .226 and slugging .357, both last among 16 qualified LFs. But he’s hitting .295 with RISP (18 for 61), and .167 with the bases empty (18 for 108).
- Just 4 Ks by the Astros, ending an 8-game streak with 9 or more, the longest such streak this year by a margin of 3 games. (H/T to Evan for this observation.)
- Anyone looking for another SF no-hitter was barking up the wrong Z. Barry Zito has never had a 9-inning CG with less than 4 hits, nor an 8-inning CG with less than 3.
Athletics 8, @Rockies 2: Bouncing back from a bad beat, Jarrod Parker stoned the Rox for 7 IP (3 singles 1 walk), Brandon Moss homered for the 3rd straight day, and Oakland finished off the sweep.
- It’s the 3rd time in his last 4 starts that Parker went 6+ scoreless stanzas. He’s allowed 2 runs or less in 8 of his 10 starts this year, and 9 of 11 in his career, with at least 5 IP in all 9. That 9-of-11 matches the best career-opening run since at least 1918, shared by 4 others.
- On arrival in Denver, Moss was 2 for 13 in 5 games this year, with a HR and 1 RBI. He went 6 for 13 in the series — 4 HRs, 2 doubles — with 8 RBI, 5 runs … and 6 strikeouts.
- The A’s have been shut out 11 times, more than any other team, and 2 or less in 26 games (tied with 2 NL teams) — but they scored 8+ in all 3 games in Coors, their first such streak since 2009.
Diamondbacks 11, @Rangers 3: Eighth win in 11 games for the Snakes. Texas scored first, but by the time they scratched again it was 9-1 in the 7th.
- Scott Feldman has lost 6 consecutive starts, tying Ervin Santana for the longest streak this year. He’s 1-11 in his last 16 starts dating to 2010, with just 2 QS. Three pitchers are winless through at least 7 starts this year: Feldman, 6.50 ERA; Chris Volstad, 7.46 ERA; and (of course) Cliff Lee, 3.18 ERA.
- He hasn’t been able to play often, but Lyle Overbay (5-2-3-3) has a 1.010 OPS in 80 PAs.
- Texas has scored 9+ runs 11 times (tied for the most in MLB), winning them all by a combined score of 131-40. But they haven’t matched any of those outbursts to the 7 games in which they’ve allowed 8+ runs, all losses, by a combined score of 81-31.
@Cardinals 5, White Sox: Beltran on the bench and Holliday hitless? No problem: Allen Craig (.354/1.085) doubled twice and David Freese drove him in twice with a double and HR, leading the Redbirds to victory and ending a 5-game span of 2 runs or less.
- For the first time in ages, Josh Hamilton has company atop the home run chart. Adam Dunn‘s 3-run HR was his 4th in 5 games, tying him with Hamilton at 22 for the year.
- Be True to your school: Dunn also collected his 49th walk and his 99th strikeout, reaching that SO mark in game #63 — the fastest pace ever, in case that wasn’t self-evident. At his present pace, Dunn would finish with 56 HRs, 126 walks, and a record 254 strikeouts in 699 PAs — with just 263 balls in the field of play. If you can find a qualified hitter with more strikeouts than balls in play, you win my Buck O’Neill Kansas City Monarchs tee-shirt. (Yeah, I already checked Mark Reynolds — not even close.) By the way, he’s also on track for 128 RBI, a mark reached by just 5 White Sox a total of 7 times (none since 2002), and 100 Runs. Whatever the cost of those strikeouts, there aren’t many others this year on pace for those production levels.
@Cardinals 1, White Sox 0 / Padres 1, @Mariners 0: The first two games this year in which a solo HR was the only run, hit by Carlos Beltran and Yonder Alonso, respectively. That’s 2 HRs in sixteen 1-0 games this year. From 1993-2008, HRs accounted for 31% of all 1-0 games (164/529).
- With Texas also winning 1-0, it’s the 5th date since 1990 with at least three 1-0 games. There were four on 2001-09-02, and three on 2010-09-11, 2009-07-01 and 2004-06-08.
No matter whom you like in the NL Cy Young race, he’s going to face some tough competition. There are currently eleven qualified NL pitchers with an ERA+ of 150 or better (see table below). The most in a full season, since 1901: 7 in 1969, 5 in 2003 and 1919.
And lurking in the shadows, a few more former CYA winners and strong contenders: Zack Greinke, 7-2, 10.1 SO/9; Cole Hamels, 9-3, 4.8 SO/BB; Clayton Kershaw, 5-3, 2.65 ERA.
Team Scoring, by Number of Outs
The following table breaks down team scoring by the percentage of their total runs that have scored with 0, 1 or 2 outs, along with some other basic offensive stats:
[table id=55 /]