Orioles 4, @Mariners 2: In his season debut, Chris Tillman didn’t allow a man past 1st base until his last batter, with 1 out in the 9th.

  • Adam Jones is on pace for exactly 40 HRs, but he doesn’t need that many to make a bit of history. Only one Orioles/Browns CF has ever hit at least 27 HRs in a season (Brady Anderson, 50 in 1996). We’re talking about an original AL franchise, folks. There have been 136 seasons of 30+ HRs by CFs, including 3 (by 2 different players) for a team that was born in 1998.
  • First time in 37 career starts that Tillman has gone 8+ IP with no earned runs. Actually, it’s the first time he’s gone 8+ IP, period. He’s the 5th pitcher this year (and the first since April 9) to go at least 8.1 IP in his first outing.
  • 14th game this year that Seattle had 4 hits or less, 2 more than any other team.
  • There aren’t many negatives for Jim Johnson this year, but he has let in all 4 inherited runners. The known record for letting in all inherited runners is 9, last done by Mark Thompson in 1995. Johnson has yielded just 3 hits with RISP this year, and 2 of them came with inherited RISP.
  • At his present rate of losses (11 in 17 starts), Hector Noesi needs just 14 more starts to become the first 20-game loser in Mariners history.

@Nationals 9, Giants 4:

  • Madison Bumgarner fanned 7 in 5 IP, but a trio of 2-strike counts in the 4th and 5th led to HRs, and he failed to go 6+ IP for the first time since his season debut.
  • At this pace, Bumgarner will easily become the first pitcher with two seasons of 200+ IP by age 22 since (hide your eyes, SF fans) Steve Avery in 1991-92. He would also be the first age 22 or under to lead the league in IP since Dwight Gooden in 1985. One more: He would be the first ever with 2 qualifying seasons of 4+ SO/BB by age 22; only 4 pitchers have even 1 such year.
  • Not easy to build a hitting streak as a backup catcher, but Washington’s Jhonatan Solano has hit in 7 straight games out of 8 starts this year, never starting more than once in a 3-day span. He’s 11 for 28 thus far, 2 HRs, 3 doubles. There is nothing in his charts to suggest that he’s a good hitter.
  • Solano had the 7th catcher-game this year with both a HR and a SB, by 7 different guys. There were just 4 such games all last year, 6 in 2010.
  • There are 28 relievers with 25+ IP and a sub-2 ERA. The Nats have 4, the Orioles 3, five teams have 2, eleven have 1, and twelve have none.
  • Sure, I think David Wright should have been the starting All-Star 3B. But it’s no travesty to pick a guy who’s having a fine year and leads Wright in WAR since 2009.
  • Mark DeRosa has 5 hits in 44 ABs … and 10 walks, none intentional.

Padres 8, @Diamondbacks 6: That’s 5 straight wins for San Diego (and 13 of their last 22), who hadn’t won more than 3 in a row through June. Their last 6-game win streak was in April 2010.

  • Chris Denorfia (5-3-4-0) has two of the seven 4-hit games by a Padre this year, and he leads the team in BA (.306), OPS and OPS+ (128) while playing errorless defense — all for a salary of just over $1 million.
  • In 5 starts since Stephen Drew‘s return, displaced SS Willie Bloomquist is 9 for 23 with 6 Runs.
  • Huston Street has converted all 13 save chances, and has a 0.64 WHIP and 1.23 ERA in 22 IP. The Padres got him at a net salary cost of $7 million for 1 year, to replace Heath Bell, who signed with Miami for 3 years at $9 million. Street is 6 years younger, has better career rate stats than Bell across the board, and had a higher K rate last year. Guess who’s winning the swap so far?
  • In a very strong year for CFs, Chris Young stands out in a bad way. His 87 OPS+ ranks 23rd among the 34 CFs with at least 150 PAs.

@Blue Jays 4, Royals 1: Toronto advanced 6 bases on flyball outs, including 3 sac flies. Casey Janssen has converted all 11 of his 9th-inning save chances without allowing a run.

  • Could a team stay within a 6-game range of the .500 mark for a whole season? The Jays are halfway there; they haven’t been lower than 1 game under .500, nor higher than 5 games over (and the last time they got to +5, they lost 5 straight).
  • Last 40 games for Colby Rasmus: .302/.956, 35 RBI, 31 Runs.
  • 14th multi-hit game for Jose Bautista this year, just the 3rd without a HR.
  • Darren Oliver is one of the best old relievers in history. Out of 40 relievers with 250+ IP from age 37 onward, Oliver’s 177 OPS+ is 2nd only to The Great Mariano. And he’s on track to be just the 2nd with 5 seasons of 50+ IP and an ERA below 3 from age 37 onward; Hoyt Wilhelm had 9 such years, and Oliver, Mariano, and Trevor Hoffman 4 apiece.

Cubs 5, @Braves 1Bryan LaHair broke a tie in the 4th with his first HR in 12 gamesAlfonso Soriano preserved the lead with a great throw, and Jeff “Home Run” Baker hit his 2nd pinch-HR in 10 ABs this year, as Chicago claimed their 7th win in 9 games, allowing 8 runs total in the 7 wins (and 27 in the 2 losses).

  • Hot & cold running starter: In his first 2 starts this year, Paul Maholm allowed 6 runs in 4 IP each time. Then came a 4-game win streak with a 1.07 ERA, an 8-start winless stretch with a 6.43 ERA, and now 2 straight wins allowing 1 total run. The totals: In his 6 wins, 4 runs in 39.2 IP (0.91 ERA). In his 6 losses, 32 runs in 27 IP (10.33 ERA).
  • Anthony Rizzo (10 for 31, 3 HRs) already has more hits in 8 games this year than he did in his last 31 games (20 starts) of 2011, and more HRs in 32 PAs than he hit in 153 PAs last year.
  • LaHair is hitting .341/1.018 with the bases clear, but .167/.573 with RISP.
  • Andrelton Simmons (.311 BA, 121 OPS+) has reached safely in 19 of his 22 games with 4+ PA, and (please hold your fire!) his dWAR rating is off the charts — 1.7 dWAR, 4th among all shortstops in less than half the games of the other contenders. His range factor and DP rate are oustanding.

____________________

@White Sox 5, Rangers 4 (10): One day after swatting his first HR in his new stockings, Kevin Youkilis got his first game-winning hit in almost 2 years. Mike Adams had 6 chances to get strike 3 on Alejandro De Aza leading off, but walked him, and 7 tries for strike 3 on Youk, whose single was decisive after De Aza stole second.

  • In his 2nd and 3rd career games, A.J. Griffin has held the AL’s top 2 offenses to totals of 2 runs (1 ER) on 5 hits over 12 innings. Griffin and teammate Jarrod Parker are the only pitchers in 2011-12 to start their careers with 3 straight games of 6+ IP and 2 runs or less. But Griffin has yet to get a decision.
  • I’s a good year so far for the A.J. battery. There are 5 active players known by those initials; besides Griffin, A.J. Burnett is 9-2, C A.J. Ellis has a .400 OBP and 125 OPS+, and C A.J. Pierzynski is having his best offensive year ever, slugging .524. Only A.J. Pollock has yet to make an impact.
  • Alex Rios has raised his BA to .317 by going 22 for 46 in his last 11 games (3 HRs, 5 doubles), with 13 runs, 10 RBI — and no walks.

Yankees 4, @Rays 3: New York snapped their 9-game Tropicana skid with a big assist from Kyle Farnsworth, who set fire to a 3-1 lead by walking 4 out of 5 man to start the 8th, and from Robinson Cano, who greeted the next reliever with a 2-run single. That bailed out Boone Logan, who had surrendered a lead for the first time this year on Carlos Pena‘s 2-run HR in the 7th, and foiled David Price‘s bid to become the AL’s first 12-game winner (7 IP, nicked only by Mark Teixeira‘s solo HR).

@Pirates 6, Astros 4: Pittsburgh has won 7 of their last 8 games and 10 of their last 12 series. They’ve averaged 5.65 runs since June began. And now they’re alone in first place for the first time this year.

@Cardinals 4, Rockies 1: Who’s hotter than Matt Holliday? In his last 17 games, he’s 33 for 64 with 19 RBI, 16 Runs and a 1.423 OPS.

  • 31-50 is Colorado’s 3rd-worst first half in club history; they’ve been 28-53 twice.
  • 11th Rockies road game this year with no HRs by either side. There’s been just 1 such game in Coors Field.

Phillies 9, @Mets 2: Our long national nightmare is over: Cliff Lee is winless no more.

  • This game captures the dilemma for Terry Collins when Chris Young pitches well through 6 IP (today, 0 R, 2 H, 2 BB) — He must know that Young is a 6-inning pitcher; the 3 instant runs in today’s 7th brought his season marks for that frame to 23.16 ERA, .533 BA and 1.200 SLG, and his career 7th-inning ERA to 5.82. On the other hand, the Mets bullpen remains hideous; today’s 6 runs in 2 IP pushed their season ERA to 5.11.
  • Ty Wigginton has 14 RBI against the Mets (11 for 25, 3 HRs), and 21 RBI vs. everyone else.
  • Juan Pierre is hitting .500 against the Mets (14 for 28), and .296 vs. everyone else.
  • How are the new home field dimensions working for the Mets? In 42 home games, they’ve been out-homered by 41-32. Last year they were out-homered 58-50 in 81 home games.

@Dodgers 4, Reds 1: Aaron Harang and 2 relievers combined on a 3-hitter, as LA won consecutive games for the first time since June 9-10 against Seattle.

  • Cincinnati’s 6-week run atop the division came to an end.

@Tigers 5, Twins 1: Adding to his MLB lead in IP and CG, Justin Verlander went the distance on 4 hits, beating Minnesota for the 6th straight time, and took over the lead in strikeouts.

  • Austin Jackson and Miguel Cabrera reached safely in all 8 trips. They would be the first Tigers teammates since 1961 with OPS at least .940.
  • Cabrera (2 HRs, double) scored 3 runs for just the 2nd time this year; he has a .578 OBP in his last 10 games. Of his 18 HRs, 16 have come against righties, and 13 at home.
  • Jackson’s .957 OPS would be the highest for a Bengal CF since Heinie Manush in 1926.
  • Since 2009, Verlander leads the majors in IP, SO and Wins. He’s the only Tigers SP with an ERA below 4.35 this year.

Marlins 7, @Brewers 6: One strike away from defeat, Gaby Sanchez tied the game with an opposite-field HR off John Axford. Miami went ahead in the 10th with two more 2-out hits. Milwaukee failed in 3 chances with RISP to win or tie in their last 2 innings,

  • Just the 3rd HR in 196 PAs this year for Sanchez, who also raised his BA over .200 for the first time since June 11. He was 2 for 42 in high-leverage situations, and 1 for 15 in the 9th or later.
  • That’s a lotta leverage: 11 of 23 save chances for Heath Bell have started with a 1-run lead (7 saves, 4 blown).

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