Elias Says: June 24, 2017

Tanaka and Darvish produce an historic pitchers’ duel in the Bronx

Masahiro Tanaka pitched eight shutout innings, allowed three hits and struck out nine, matching his counterpart, Yu Darvish, who allowed no runs and two hits while striking out 10 in seven innings of work in the Yankees’ 2-1 extra-inning win over the Rangers on Friday night. Since 1893, the first season with the current mound distance, only one other major-league game featured opposing starting pitchers who each allowed no runs and three or fewer hits while registering at least nine strikeouts. On August 26, 1968, Washington’s Frank Bertaina allowed no runs and two hits with nine strikeouts while pitching 11 innings and Minnesota’s Jim Perry also allowed no runs and two hits with nine strikeouts in nine innings of work in a game the Senators would win 1-0 in 13 innings in the second game of a doubleheader.

Wood is off to an 8-0 start

Alex Wood allowed one run in six innings and ran his record to 8-0 in the Dodgers’ win over the Rockies on Friday. Wood is only the third Dodgers pitcher in the last 40 years to win each of his first eight decisions of a season (he has seven wins as a starter and one as a reliever), joining Fernando Valenzuela (first eight in 1981) and Matt Herges (first eight in 2000).

Another four-hit game for Valencia

Danny Valencia went 4-for-5 and drove in two runs in Seattle’s win over the Astros on Friday. That marked the fourth time Valencia had at least four hits in a game this season, tying him with Mookie Betts and David Peralta for the most such games in the major leagues. It also matches the total number of four-hit games Valencia had in his 656-game career entering the 2017 season. The last Seattle player with at least four four-hit games in a season prior to the All-Star break was Ichiro Suzuki in 2006 (five).

Harper knocks in the game winner

Bryce Harper’s single in the bottom of the tenth inning drove in Trea Turner with the winning run in Washington’s 6-5 victory over Cincinnati on Friday. Harper has three game-ending RBIs this season, with the others coming on ninth-inning home runs on April 16 and May 13. The only other major-league player with three game-ending RBIs this season is Mark Trumbo.

Leiter is stellar in his first big-league start

Mark Leiter Jr., making his first major-league start, hurled six shutout innings in the Phillies’ win over the Diamondbacks on Friday. Leiter is the first Phillies pitcher in over 22 years to pitch at least six shutout innings while allowing three or fewer hits in his first major league start, since Michael Mimbs allowed no runs and one hit in six innings of work on May 6, 1995.

In case you were wondering, Leiter’s father, Mark, and his uncle Al both were victorious in their first big league starts. Mark Leiter allowed four runs in seven and a third inning while beating the Tigers in his first start with the Yankees on July 31, 1990; and Al allowed only one run in six innings in his initial major-league start, also with the Yankees, in a victory over the Brewers on September 15, 1987.

Orioles pitchers pounded again

The Rays pounded the Orioles by a score of 15-5 on Friday night. That marked the fifth time Baltimore allowed 14 or more runs this season. That equals the total number of times the Orioles allowed 14 or more runs in the last four seasons combined (2013-2016). It is also one shy of the most such games in a season by the Orioles since the team began playing in Baltimore in 1954 (six in 2006).

Mets produce six extra-base hits in the second inning

The Mets scored six runs on the strength of six extra-base hits in the second inning in their victory over the Giants on Friday night. That ties the most extra-base hits the Mets had in a single inning in franchise history. The Mets also had six extra-base hits in in the fifth inning against Cincinnati on April 28, 1997 and in the second inning against Montreal on July 22, 1999.

Marlins win with three hits

The Marlins defeated the Cubs by a score of 2-0 despite producing only three hits on Friday night. Prior to losing to the Cubs on Thursday, Miami registered only three hits in its previous win, a 2-1 victory over Washington on Wednesday. It’s the first time in franchise history the Marlins recorded three or fewer hits in consecutive games in which they recorded a victory. The last major-league team to do that was the Cardinals in June of 2014.

Leon’s homer lifts Red Sox to win at Fenway

Sandy Leon homered and drove in four runs in Boston’s 9-4 win over the Angels at Fenway Park on Friday night. Leon entered the game with just three home runs in 238 career at bats at Fenway. That was the fifth worst home run ratio (one every 79.3 AB) among the 34 active players with at least 200 career at bats at Boston’s home ballpark behind Ichiro Suzuki (zero HRs in 250 AB), Christian Vazquez (one HR every 109 AB), Brock Holt (one HR every 106 AB) and Daniel Nava (one HR every 97 AB).

Jaso’s ninth inning home run gives Pirates a win

John Jaso’s two-out home run in the top of the ninth inning snapped a 3-3 tie and gave the Pirates a 4-3 win over the Cardinals on Friday night. It was Jaso’s 50th career home run but only the second of which gave his team the lead in the ninth inning or later. The only other time he did that prior to Friday was on April 14, 2014 when as a member of the A’s he hit a two-run home run off the Angels Ernesto Frieri in the top of the ninth inning turning a 2-1 deficit into a 3-2 Oakland victory.

Royals rally in the ninth to beat Jays

The Royals entered the bottom of the ninth inning trailing the Blue Jays by three runs, but with two outs, Alcides Escobar and Alex Gordon delivered run-scoring singles and Whit Merrifield ended the game with a two-run double giving Kansas City a 5-4 win on Friday. Kansas City entered the contest hitting just .217 as a team with two outs and runners in scoring position this season, with Escobar (.214), Gordon (.185) and Merrifield (.217) each hitting below .220 in that situation.

A’s end shut out streak

Five Oakland pitchers combined to blank the White Sox on Friday. It marked the first time the A’s shut out an opponent since April 10, when they beat the Royals by a score of 2-0. Oakland’s streak of 65 consecutive games without blanking an opponent was its longest in a single season in 10 years, since it had a 67-game streak of that kind from July 20 until the end of the season in 2007.

Phillips’ first inning homer gets Braves off on the right foot

Brandon Phillips’ home run in the first inning got the Braves off on the right foot and the team held on for a 5-4 win over the Brewers on Friday night. Phillips entered the contest not having homered in any of his previous 127 at bats in the first inning, which was the second-longest such streak of his career. Phillips went 153 first-inning at bats without homering spanning the 2010 and 2011 seasons.