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Elias Says: August 18, 2017

Tribe’s K-fest continues at Minnesota

Carlos Carrasco struck out nine batters over five innings and Cleveland’s bullpen struck out 10 more in the Indians’ 9–3 victory at Minnesota. That tied the team record for strikeouts in a nine-inning game, set in 2015 and tied earlier this season.

That extended Cleveland’s streak of games with at least 10 strikeouts to 13, which is the longest streak in MLB history. The previous mark of nine consecutive 10-strikeout games was set earlier this season by the Diamondbacks and matched by the Yankees. The Indians more than doubled the former record of six straight games that was set by the Mets in 1990 and which stood until five years ago.

The streak ended when Cleveland pitchers struck out only nine Twins batters in the second game of the doubleheader.

Another Twins starting pitcher makes his MLB debut

Aaron Slegers made his major-league debut as the Twins’ starting pitcher in the second game of their doubleheader against the Indians. This is the first time since the team moved to Minnesota in 1961 that four Twins players made their major-league debuts as starting pitchers in one season. The others were Nik Turley, Felix Jorge, and Dietrich Enns.

The last time that four pitchers did so for the Washington Senators, the Twins’ predecessors, was in 1950. The fourth of those pitchers to debut was Carlos Pascual, whose 1–1 career record was overshadowed by that of his brother Camilo, who debuted for the Nats in 1954 and ranks fifth in franchise history with a total of 145 wins.

As for Slegers’ performance, a big thumbs-up, as he allowed two runs on two hits over 6.1 innings in Minnesota’s 4–2 win. Over the last four seasons, only three other starting pitchers reached the seventh inning and allowed fewer than three hits in their major-league debuts: Ross Stripling of the Dodgers and Jharel Cotton of the A’s last season and Eric Skoglund of the Royals on May 30.

For second time this summer, Lester gets routed

The Reds scored nine runs off Jon Lester in the second inning, squandered their lead by the bottom of the fifth, but rallied again for a 13–10 victory over the Cubs. Just last month, Lester allowed 10 runs in a loss to the Pirates. By failing to complete even two innings in either of those games, he became the first pitcher in modern major-league history to allow nine or more runs in appearances of less than two innings twice in the same season.

Sanchez drives in five in Yankees’ win

Gary Sanchez went 2-for-4 with a home run and five RBIs in the Yankees’ 7–5 win over the Mets. It was the third time that Sanchez drove in five runs in one game, all as a catcher and including one as a rookie late last season. No other player has had three 5-RBI games as a catcher over the last two seasons.

Mazara is the Rangers’ SuperSoph

Nomar Mazara drove in five runs in the Rangers’ 9–8 victory over the White Sox. Mazara and Gary Sanchez are the only sophomores with two games of five or more RBIs this season. (By sophomores, we mean any players who were rookies in 2016 but not this season.) The only other sophs in Senators/Rangers history with at least two 5-RBI games were Mark Teixeira (3 in 2004) and Josh Hamilton (2 in 2008).

Corbin falls just short of his first shutout

Patrick Corbin blew a chance to pitch the first complete-game shutout of his major-league career when he surrendered a two-out double to Yuri Gurriel in the ninth inning. Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo called for Archie Bradley, who struck out Marwin Gonzalez to seal Arizona’s 4–0 victory at Houston. Corbin was the first pitcher in team history to be pulled from a potential complete-game shutout with a lead of at least four runs and one out remaining. The only other pitcher to suffer that fate this season was Kevin Gausman of the Orioles last month.

Braves’ rookie checks two more boxes

Ozzie Albies, the Braves 20-year-old second baseman, had the first triple and the first stolen base of his 15-game major-league career in Atlanta’s 10–4 win at Colorado. Albies is one of only five active players to have recorded at least one single, double, triple, home run, and steal in his first 15 games at age 20 or younger. The others were Jose Reyes, Elvis Andrus, Starlin Castro, and Giancarlo Stanton. Braves fans might be interested to learn that the last player to do so before turning 20 years old was Andruw Jones.

Josh blasts a rare pair off Archer

Josh Donaldson hit a pair of solo home runs in the Blue Jays’ 5–3 victory over the Rays. Donaldson is only the second player to hit two home runs in the same game off Chris Archer, Tampa Bay’s starter and loser in Thursday’s game. The other was Brad Miller of the Mariners in 2013.

Fowler is the king of treys

Dexter Fowler hit a two-run triple in the seventh inning that proved to be the game-winning hit in the Cardinals’ 11–7 win at Pittsburgh. Fowler is the runaway major-league leader with 78 triples since his rookie season of 2009; the distant runner-up is Michael Bourn with 62. Fowler’s decisive hit on Thursday was the fifth game-winning triple of his career.

Historic matchup of struggling teams

The Giants hosted the Phillies on Thursday night in the opener of a four-game series unlike any of the 2200 previous games between these teams, whose shared history dates back to 1883. It was the first game between the Phillies and Giants for which both teams had a record at least 25 wins below .500. Philadelphia had a 43–75 record heading into the game; the Giants had a 48–74 mark.

The only other previous meeting for which the Phillies and Giants were both more than 20 wins below .500 was played on September 9, 1946, and they put on a good show at Shibe Park in Philadelphia. Giants manager Mel Ott called on 38-year-old Ernie Lombardi, whose Hall of Fame career was winding down, to pinch-hit in the ninth inning. Lombardi hit the first pitch he saw for a towering two-run, game-tying homer, capping New York’s comeback from a 4–0 deficit. But the Phillies scored with two outs in the bottom of the ninth to defeat the Giants.