Kernels of Wisdom: Week in review

  • Nelson Cruz's seventh-inning grand slam on Friday night capped off an eight-RBI performance as the Rangers downed Toronto 14-3. Or should we say, another eight-RBI performance. Cruz had one last season (July 22, also against Toronto). Combined with Josh Hamilton's four-homer game earlier in the month, the last three eight-RBI performances have all been posted by Rangers.

  • Oakland got one-hit again on Tuesday, this time by the Angels and C.J. Wilson. Last Saturday they had already joined Minnesota and Pittsburgh as the only teams to get no-hit or one-hit twice this season. Not a single team had it happen three times in 2011. The Athletics have done it three times before Memorial Day.

  • The Indians' Shin-Soo Choo led off Thursday night's game against Detroit with a solo home run. It was not just Cleveland's first leadoff homer this season, it was its first home run in the first inning this season. The Indians were the last team to not have a first-inning home run yet in 2012.

  • The focus is always on Stephen Strasburg when he pitches. Last Sunday, however, it was on his hitting. Strasburg not only hit the second home run by a pitcher this season, he also singled and scored another run before being replaced. It had been more than five years since a pitcher had a perfect, multi-hit day at the plate, scored at least twice and chipped in a home run. Kip Wells did it for the Cardinals on April 19, 2007. It was a first in Nationals/Expos franchise history. Mike Leake of the Reds, by the way, hit the third pitcher home run of the year on Monday.

  • Dan Haren threw a complete-game shutout Thursday against the Mariners. It was the latest in a series of impressive strikeout games as Haren racked up 14 of them (including Alex Liddi four times). But perhaps the most impressive part? Haren didn't walk a single batter.

    It's the most strikeouts to be recorded in a zero-walk shutout since Erik Bedard racked up 15 against the Rangers on July 7, 2007. And it's a first (shutout with 14-plus strikeouts and no walks) in Angels franchise history.

  • Giancarlo Stanton’s grand slam on Monday, off Jamie Moyer, left the bat at 133 mph (courtesy ESPN's Home Run Tracker team) and knocked out part of the video board beyond the left-field seats. Stanton joins Brandon Inge as the only players this season with multiple slams.

    It was Stanton's fourth career slam. In 24 seasons in the majors, Moyer has allowed only eight. The last on Aug. 26, 2004, to Abraham Nunez of the Royals.

  • Since the start of 2010, the Marlins now lead the National League in grand slams hit; Monday’s was their 12th (one more than the Cardinals, Reds, and Braves).

  • The Cubs, already having enough trouble scoring runs (28th out of 30 teams), posted 10 hits on Friday against the Pirates. They failed to score a single run. All the hits were singles, and they went 0-for-12 with runners in scoring position.

    They're the only team this year to reach double digits in hits and still get shut out. It happened just once in 2011 (June 18, by the Dodgers). The Cubs have had one other such game in the past 20 years (June 22, 2009, at Atlanta).