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Elias Says: Sept. 21, 2017

Sale joins the 300 strikeout club

Chris Sale struck out 13, the last of which was his 300th strikeout of the season, while pitching eight shutout innings in Boston’s win over Baltimore on Wednesday. It’s the 35th time a pitcher has registered 300 strikeouts in a season in the modern era, but only two of the 34 previous pitchers to do it recorded fewer walks at the time of their 300th strikeout than Sale (41): Curt Schilling in 2002 (31 walks) and Pedro Martinez in 1999 (37 walks).

It marked the third time Sale recorded 13 or more strikeouts without a walk in his career. The only other active pitchers with at least three such games are Clayton Kershaw (6) and Yu Darvish (3).

Indians keep on rolling

The Indians rolled on, taking a 6-5 decision from the Angels in Anaheim, lifting their record to 95-57 and pulling to within one game of the team with the best record in the majors, the Dodgers (96-56). The victory was Cleveland’s 26th in its last 27 games, tying the major-league record shared by three other teams for victories over a 27-game span. The other teams that won 26 out of 27 did so more than 100 years ago: the 1884 Providence Grays (who went on to win 28 of 29), the 1906 Cubs and the 1916 Giants (who went on to win 27 of 28).

Judge produces a 100-100 season

Aaron Judge homered and drove in three runs in the Yankees’ 11-3 win over the Twins on Wednesday. Judge now has 101 RBIs to go along with his 119 runs scored this season. He is the ninth player to produce 100 RBIs and 100 runs scored in his rookie season since RBIs became an official statistic in 1920, joining Dale Alexander (1929), Hal Trosky (1934), Joe DiMaggio (1936), Ted Williams (1939), Walt Dropo (1950), Fred Lynn (1975), Carlos Beltran (1999) and Albert Pujols (2001).

Yankees continue their dominance over the Twins

The Yankees completed a three-game sweep of the Twins with an 11-3 victory on Wednesday. The Bronx Bombers are 78-31 (.716) against Minnesota since the start of the 2002 season. That is by far the highest winning percentage one team has against a particular opponent, with a minimum of at least 25 games, over the last 16 seasons, ahead of Boston’s .681 mark (32-15) against Philadelphia.

Weaver is making it look easy

Luke Weaver allowed two runs in five innings and earned the victory in the Cardinals’ win over the Reds on Wednesday. Weaver has now won each of his last seven starts while allowing two or fewer runs in each start. Over the last 70 years, only five other rookie pitchers won seven or more consecutive starts while allowing two or fewer runs in each victory: Fernando Valenzuela (eight straight in 1981), Cal Eldred (1992), Jered Weaver (2006) and Steven Matz (2016).

Martinez hits his 25th home run since joining D’Backs

J.D. Martinez stroked a game-tying two-run home run in the sixth inning in a game the Diamondbacks would go on to win, 13-7, over the Padres on Wednesday night. Martinez’s blast was his 25th since joining Arizona on July 19. He is the ninth player in major-league history to hit 25 or more homers for a team after playing for another team earlier in the season, and the first to do so since 1999, when Tony Batista blasted 26 longballs for the Blue Jays after he was acquired from the Diamondbacks on July 18 of that year.

Odor comes through with the bases loaded

Rougned Odor hit a grand-slam home run in the Rangers’ seven-run fourth inning on Wednesday night. Odor had just four hits – none for extra bases – in 26 at bats with the bags full since the start of the 2015 season prior to Wednesday. His .154 slugging percentage with the bases loaded was the third lowest among the 151 players with at least 25 at bats in that situation over the last three seasons entering Wednesday’s action, ahead of Hernan Perez (.147) and Leonys Martin (.148).

Odor’s blast was his 30th longball of the season to go along with his .209 batting average. Only three players in major-league history have hit 30 or more homers while posting a batting average below .210 in a season: Dave Kingman in 1982 (37 HR, .204 BA), Mark Reynolds in 2010 (32 HR, .198 BA) and Adam Dunn in 2012 (41 HR, .204 BA).

Moore finally tames Rockies

Matt Moore pitched six shutout innings and the bullpen finished it off with three scoreless innings in the Giants’ 4-0 victory over the Rockies on Wednesday. Moore entered the contest with a 9.64 career ERA against the Rockies. That was the fourth highest ERA any active pitcher had against any team (minimum: 6 starts), behind Bud Norris (12.51 against the Diamondbacks), Tom Koehler (11.75 against the Brewers) and Nathan Eovaldi (10.86 against the Giants).

Stanton continues to haunt Mets

Giancarlo Stanton homered and drove in three runs helping the Marlins complete a three-game sweep of the Mets with a 9-2 win on Wednesday. Stanton finished the season with eight homers and 20 RBIs against the Mets. Over the last 50 years, only three other players had at least eight home runs and 20 RBIs against the Mets in a single season: Dick Allen in 1968 (10 homers, 25 RBIs), Dave Kingman in 1979 (nine homers, 20 RBIs) and Ryan Howard in 2006 (eight homers, 21 RBIs).

Moustakas is the Royals’ new home run king

Mike Moustakas set the Royals’ single season record with his 37th home run in Kansas City’s 15-5 win over the Blue Jays on Wednesday. Three other active players hold their current franchise’s single-season home run record: Baltimore’s Chris Davis (53 in 2013), Miami’s Giancarlo Stanton (56 this season) and Toronto’s Jose Bautista (54 in 2010).

Mengden posts his second straight strong performance

Daniel Mengden hurled seven shutout innings and did not allow a walk in the A’s victory over the Tigers. Mengden has pitched at least seven innings without allowing a run or a walk in each of his last two starts. The only other pitchers in A’s history to do that were Chief Bender (1911), Catfish Hunter (1974), Bartolo Colon (2013) and Sean Manaea (2016). Two other major-league pitchers did not allow a run or walk while pitching at least seven innings in consecutive starts this season: Corey Kluber and Robbie Ray.

Souza uses his speed and power to help Rays beat Cubs

Steve Souza Jr. homered and stole two bases in the Rays’ 8-1 win over the Cubs on Wednesday. It marked the second time Souza Jr. had a homer and multiple steals in the same game this season, having also done that on August 25. He is the first player in Rays’ history with multiple games of that kind in a single season and only one other major league player has had two such games in a season since 2013: Philadelphia’s Odubel Herrera in 2016.

Frazier delivers a walk-off homer for the Pirates

Leadoff hitter Adam Frazier delivered a two-out, two-run, game-ending home run in the bottom of the ninth inning in the Pirates’ win over the Brewers on Wednesday. Over the last 40 years, only three other Pirates’ leadoff hitters have produced a walkoff home run: Barry Bonds (1986), Orlando Merced (1991) and Andrew McCutchen (2009).

Frazier has a .549 slugging percentage in 102 at bats with two outs this season. In 279 at bats with fewer than two outs, Frazier’s slugging percentage is just .357.

Nats take advantage of a wild Vizcaino

The Braves led the Nationals by a score of 2-1 until Arodys Vizcaino entered with bases loaded in the eighth inning and promptly walked three consecutive batters before being pulled from the game with Washington leading, 4-2. Vizcaino is the first Braves pitcher to walk three consecutive hitters with the bases loaded in over nine years, since Jair Jurrjens issued three straight free passes with the bags full against the Mets on April 25, 2008. Vizcaino had walked only one of the 18 batters he had faced with the bases loaded in his career prior to Wednesday.

Altherr’s two clutch hits help Phils beat Dodgers again

Aaron Altherr hit a game tying two-run home run in the bottom of the seventh and delivered a go-ahead two-run single in the bottom of the eighth in the Phillies’ 7-5 win over the Dodgers on Wednesday. Altherr’s performance lifted his batting average to .344 in late-inning pressure situations this season, which is good for the third-highest mark in the National League (minimum: 50 at bats), behind Adam Frazier (.414) and Brandon Phillips (.348). Altherr was only 3-for-28 (.107) in late-game pressure situations in 2016.