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Elias Says: July 6, 2017

Wood ties Dodgers record with 10-0 start

Alex Wood struck out 10 and permitted only three hits over seven innings and batterymate Yasmani Grandal drove in the game’s only run with a second-inning double as the Dodgers won for the 22nd time in their last 26 games, 1-0, over the Diamondbacks. Wood has won each of his 10 decisions this season, tying the Dodgers record for consecutive wins to start a season. Wood joined Larry French (1942), Preacher Roe (1951), Don Newcombe (1955) and Ed Roebuck (1962) in that club; each of those four pitchers lost his 11th decision of the season in question.

Judge ties Joe D. in Yankees history, and makes some MLB history

Aaron Judge knocked out his 29th home run of the season on Wednesday afternoon, extending his major-league lead over George Springer and Mike Moustakas, who have 25. More importantly, Judge tied the Yankees record for home runs in a season by a rookie, a mark that had been owned since 1936 by Joltin’ Joe DiMaggio. Joe D. batted .323 as a rookie, and he went up there swinging, finishing the season with only 24 walks and 39 strikeouts. What a difference eight decades make: Judge is batting .331, but he already has amassed 59 walks and 104 strikeouts.

Judge connected for the 20th time in his 39 games at Yankee Stadium this season, setting a major-league record for the fewest games needed to reach 20 homers in home games. The previous record of 40 games was accomplished by Pittsburgh’s Ralph Kiner in 1948, by both Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa during their home-run duel in 1998, and by Toronto’s Carlos Delgado in 2000.

Betances in a rut, throwing the wrong kind of BBs

Dellin Betances faced five batters and walked four of them, forcing in the go-ahead run (which stood up to be the winning run) in the eighth inning as the Blue Jays won at Yankee Stadium, 7-6. Location has been a recent issue for the All-Star right-hander, who has now walked 11 of the 22 batters he has faced (none intentionally) over his last five games. He has been the losing pitcher in three of those five appearances, having allowed seven earned runs over three innings. The last major-league pitcher who issued 11 non-intentional walks over a span of 22 batters faced was the guy who now sits next to Betances in the Yankees bullpen, Aroldis Chapman. Pitching for the Reds in 2011, Chapman, in one stretch, allowed 12 walks over a span of 18 batters faced!

The Blue Jays took the last two games of the three-game series, marking the Yankees’ sixth series loss in their last seven series (the other series resulted in a split). It marks the first time that the Yankees have gone seven straight series without a series win, with at least six series losses, in the managerial administrations of either Joe Torre or Joe Girardi. The last time it happened, the Yankees manager was Buck Showalter, in May and June of 1995.

Marco Estrada started for the Blue Jays and was staked to an early 5-0 lead, but he surrendered that advantage before being knocked out in the fifth. No matter. Even though Estrada did not earn the win personally, the result extended the Jays’ streak of success in his starts in the Bronx. Estrada has made six starts in the Bronx, all for Toronto, and has team has won all of them. No other visiting pitcher has such a streak that long, all while pitching with one team, in the nine-year history of the current Yankee Stadium.

Never mind a wing and a prayer; Angels win on a homer and a steal

Kole Calhoun homered in the first inning and Cameron Maybin stole home as part of a double steal in the sixth to account for the Angels’ runs in their 2-1 victory over Ervin Santana in Minneapolis.

You have to go back 14 years to find the last major-league game won by a team that scored just two runs—one on a homer and the other on a steal. On June 12, 2003, Cincinnati’s Austin Kearns took care of both ends of the equation in a 2-1 victory over the Devil Rays in St. Petersburg: Kearns stole home as part of a double steal in the second inning, then homered in the sixth. Wednesday’s contest was the first in Angels history in which they scored two runs on a game, on a homer and a steal of home.

Santana goes all the way, and loses

Ervin Santana went all the way in a losing effort, throwing 117 pitches in the Twins’ 2-1 loss to the Angels. Santana became only the second big-league pitcher this season to toss a nine-inning, complete-game loss; Marcus Stroman threw 100 pitches in a 2-0 loss to the Brewers on April 12. But it’s nothing new for Santana, who tossed a 97-pitch, nine-inning, complete-game loss against the Braves last July 26. He’s the first major-leaguer to throw nine-inning, complete-game losses in each of two consecutive seasons since James Shields did it for the Rays in 2012 and for the Royals in 2013.

Astros keep on rockin’ to a double-digit tune

The Astros, without Carlos Correa, scored only one run over the first four innings at Atlanta, but they still put together three three-run innings and finished with another double-digit runs total, taking a 10-4 victory to follow up on a 16-4 beatdown of the Braves on Tuesday. Houston has now scored 10-or-more runs in nine different road games this season, the top total in the majors.

Houston reached the season’s 85-game mark with a won-lost record of 58-27 (.682), the best record at that milepost for any big-league team since the Mariners stood at 62-23 in 2001, en route to a major-league-single-season-record-tying total of 116 wins.

A blast from the past: Rajai steals 4

Rajai Davis, at 36 years of age, stole four bases in four tries in the Athletics’ 7-4 victory over the White Sox. Davis joined Trea Turner (twice) and Cameron Maybin as the only major-leaguers to steal four bases in a game this season. Davis became the oldest big-leaguer to swipe four bags in a game since Ichiro did it while playing for the Yankees in 2012, at age 38. Perhaps even more impressively, Davis became the oldest player to produce a four-steals game for the Athletics in the team’s 117-year history—and remember, both Rickey Henderson (1995, 1998) and Ty Cobb (1927-1928), as well as Willie Wilson (1992) and Tim Raines (1999) played for the Athletics when they were older than Davis. Previously, Bert Campaneris had been the oldest Athletics player to swipe four in a game; Campy actually grabbed five bags against the Twins on May 24, 1976, at age 34.

Big day for Jon Gray

Jon Gray opened the scoring with a long, two-run homer—the first of his major-league career, coming on his 67th at-bat—and earned credit for the Rockies’ 5-3 victory over the visiting Reds. Gray became the 100th player to hit his first major-league home run in a Rockies uniform.

Wednesday’s game was the sixth between the teams this season, but a recurring theme of those games has been the power of Colorado’s pitchers at bat. Rockies pitchers have produced four extra-base hits against the Reds this season—Kyle Freeland had doubled and homered on May 21 and Jeff Hoffman had doubled on Monday prior to Gray’s homer. In all, Cincinnati pitchers have allowed a major-league-high eight extra-base hits to opposing pitchers this season.

Moose connects early, Perez late as Royals roll on

Salvador Perez hit a two-run homer in the 10th inning—the first extra-inning homer of his big-league career—as the Royals topped the Mariners, 9-6, and swept their three-game series in Seattle. Perez boosted his career extra-inning batting average to .365, with 19 hits in 52 at-bats.

Earlier, Mike Moustakas popped his 25th home run of the season, becoming the first Royals player ever to reach that nice round number prior to the All-Star break. Moustakas is just 11 homers shy of the Royals’ single-season home run record of 36, held by Steve (Bye Bye) Balboni since 1985. That is the lowest total to stand as a single-season homer record for any of MLB’s 30 current teams.

Dog bites man: Garza beats Birds

Matt Garza tossed his glove onto the pitcher’s mound and that was all she wrote, as the veteran right-hander maintained his career-long mastery of the Orioles. Garza threw the first six and one-third innings on Wednesday night and earned credit for a 4-0 victory in Milwaukee. That lifted Garza’s career won-lost record against Baltimore to 10-1, producing the highest winning percentage (.909) by any pitcher with at least 10 decisions against the Orioles since the franchise relocated from St. Louis to Baltimore in 1954. Over the entire history of the franchise, only one pitcher with 10-or-more decisions had a better record. Urban Shocker, who spent the best years of his career with the Orioles’ predecessors, the St. Louis Browns, from 1918 to 1924, actually compiled a record of 13-1 (.929) against the Browns while pitching for the Yankees before 1918 and again after 1924.

Marlins’ 3-headed monster bashes Cardinals

Giancarlo Stanton blasted a pair of home runs while Marcell Ozuna and Justin Bour also homered in the Marlins’ 9-6 triumph in St. Louis. It was only the second time that those three big sluggers connected in the same game (Wednesday night’s game was the 211th in which all three played), the other coming on April 15 of this year against the Mets.

Stanton and Ozuna have homered in the same game seven times this season, one behind the major-league-leading total of eight games homering as teammates, by Aaron Judge and Starlin Castro.

Cole rolls on the mound and at bat

Gerrit Cole allowed only two runs over six innings and knocked in a pair himself with a bases-loaded single to lead the Pirates to a 5-2 victory at Philadelphia. Cole’s fourth-inning single off Ben Lively ended a streak of 29 consecutive hitless at-bats by Pittsburgh pitchers, who started the night with a collective batting average of .077 (11 hits in 143 at-bats), second-lowest in the National League, and had not driven in a run since May 5. For Cole, it was the second hit in eight bases-loaded at-bats in his major-league career; the first (also a two-run single) came in his first at-bat in his big-league debut on June 11, 2013, against two-time Cy Young Award winner, Tim Lincecum.

Pinch-hitter deluxe Jay comes to Cubs’ rescue

Jon Jay wiped out Tampa Bay’s 3-0 lead with a three-run, pinch-hit homer in the sixth inning and the Cubs went on to take a 7-3 decision at Wrigley Field. It was only the third homer in 120 pinch-hit at-bats in Jay’s big-league career, with the two others coming while with the Cardinals in 2011. But Jay is batting .393 (11 for 28) as a pinch-hitter this season, and only Ichiro Suzuki (12) has more pinch-hits than Jay—though Ichiro has accumulated those hits over 52 pinch-hit at-bats.

Odor 1-3-1-2… Read on and crack the code

Rougned Odor got things going, reaching Doug Fister for a two-run homer in the second inning and later scored after drawing a walk and being hit by a pitch as the Rangers downed the Red Sox, 8-2, terminating the New Englanders’ six-game winning streak. Odor wound up with the old 1-3-1-2 line in the boxscore (at-bats-runs-hits-RBIs), becoming the first major-leaguer this season to put together a boxscore line produced only 26 other times since the major leagues began recording RBIs in 1920. Included among the last of 1-3-1-2 players are six Hall-of-Famers (Ty Cobb, Mel Ott, Mickey Mantle, Luis Aparicio, Reggie Jackson and Jeff Bagwell).

Padres bullpen shines again

For a second consecutive day, the Padres bullpen was a dominant force in a victory in Cleveland. After San Diego relievers held the Indians scoreless over four and two-thirds innings in a 1-0 win on Independence Day, they came back the next night to throw four scoreless innings. Earlier this season (May 28 to May 30), the Padres won three successive games, one at Washington and two against the Cubs, in each of which their bullpen went unscored-on in at least four innings of work. The Padres and Red Sox are the only teams that won three straight games in that manner this year.

Pence did what Pence does

Hunter Pence, who drove in the first run of Wednesday night’s game with a hard-hit comebacker, blasted a two-out, two-run triple in the fourth inning and the Giants held on to win, 5-4, in Detroit. That hit lifted Pence’s season batting average with two outs and runners in scoring position to .381, and it pushed his batting average in that category to .309 since he joined the Giants in 2012.