Kernels: Home runs for the home stretch

Given that the regular season isn't officially over, we're going to wait and recap our favorite nuggets of the season a little later on. As for this past week, the home stretch brought us a bunch of notable home runs.

Will Middlebrooks of the Boston Red Sox had two hits in Wednesday's 15-5 win at Coors Field. They were a grand slam and a three-run homer, giving him 7 RBI for the game. Teammate Shane Victorino had one of the season's other six 7-RBI games back in August, the first time two Red Sox hitters have done it since 1987 (Ellis Burks, Wade Boggs, and Todd Benzinger). And the last Boston hitter with three- and four-run homers in the same game? Carlton Fisk on September 6, 1977.

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Notes from the Week

Brad Miller had a multi-homer game out of the leadoff spot on Saturday, the 15th of the season for the Seattle Mariners who led the majors in that category. It was Miller's third multi-homer game of the year; he's the first Seattle leadoff hitter ever with three in a season.

On Wednesday Mike Zunino had one of their other 14; his was notable because, in the alphabetical rolls of over 18,000 major-leaguers, Zunino is followed by only five other players. Only one of them-- perennial trivia answer Dutch Zwilling-- ever had a multi-homer game, and that was in the short-lived Federal League. That makes Zunino the last player (alphabetically) with a multi-homer game in either American or National League history.

• On Monday, the Tampa Bay Rays' James Loney hit a pinch-hit walk-off against the Baltimore Orioles. It was the Rays' only pinch-hit homer (walk-off or not) of the entire season; meanwhile, the Orioles ended up as the only team to not have one. It was the first pinch-hit walk-off surrendered by the Orioles since May 9, 1995, when Wes Chamberlain of the Red Sox hit one off Armando Benitez.

• On Tuesday it was Jason Giambi's turn to hit one for the Cleveland Indians as they downed the White Sox 5-4. Giambi had three of Cleveland's four pinch-hit homers this year, two of them walk-offs. On July 29 he broke Hank Aaron's mark as the oldest player to hit any walk-off homer.

Well, by September 24 he's just getting older. So at 42 years 259 days, Giambi extended his own record. He now has 11 total pinch-hit homers in his career, more than any other active player (Eric Hinske has nine). And his six pinch-hit walk-off homers are believed to be the most in major-league history; no other active player has more than one!

As for two pinch-hit walk-offs in a season, that hadn't been done since Chris Jones of the Mets in 1995.

• At the other end of the spectrum, Jurickson Profar hit his first walk-off homer for the Texas Rangers on Thursday. At 20 years 218 days, he missed by two weeks becoming the youngest player in the live-ball era to hit a pinch-hit walk-off homer; Hall-of-Famer Jimmie Foxx did it on May 14, 1928 (pinch-hitting for another Hall-of-Famer, Mickey Cochrane).

• The Pittsburgh Pirates clubbed six home runs in Saturday's game against the Reds. That was their most in a game since 2007, and it tied the record for a visiting team at Great American Ball Park. Reds starter Bronson Arroyo allowed the first five, becoming the only pitcher this season to allow five homers in a game. The last hurler to allow that many to the Pirates in one game was Don Sutton, who gave up five solo shots in a 5-4 Dodgers loss on May 7, 1973.

• The Pirates also had a notable home run in Sunday's finale in Cincinnati-- notable because it didn't leave Great American Ball Park. Jordy Mercer hit the season's sixth inside-the-park home run, and the second for Pittsburgh (Pedro Alvarez).

But when Mercer added a triple and a single later in the game, he became the first Pirate since 1985 with three hits including a triple and an inside-the-parker. It was done by Marvell Wynne on June 22 that year against the Astros. The occurrence before that? May 19, 1971, by Roberto Clemente.