Elias Says: June 28, 2017

Ichiro comes through with game-winner

Ichiro Suzuki singled home the go-ahead run for the Marlins in their 6–3 win over the Mets. That was the first game-winning RBI this season for Ichiro, who is the oldest active position player in the majors at 43 years old. The last player to produce a game-winning RBI at age 43 or older was Omar Vizquel, who had two RBIs of that kind in September 2012 for the Blue Jays at age 45.

Ichiro has notched five game-winning RBIs for the Marlins since signing with Miami in 2015. No other player produced that many game-winning RBIs for the Marlins after his 40th birthday. Ichiro had been tied with Luis Gonzalez for the most game-winning RBIs by a Marlins quadragenarian (i.e. a 40-something) entering Tuesday.

New major-league record for leadoff homers in a month

Curtis Granderson opened the top of the first inning with a home run for the Mets at Marlins Park. That was Granderson’s 45th leadoff home run of his major-league career, passing Ian Kinsler for the most among active players. It was also Granderson’s third leadoff homer on New York’s current road trip; he also went deep to start the top of the first inning on June 21 and 22 at Dodger Stadium. No other player in Mets history hit as many as three leadoff home runs on a single road trip before Granderson.

Mere minutes after Granderson’s game-opening solo shot, Billy Hamilton lined a ball into the right-field bleachers to start the bottom of the first inning for the Reds in Cincinnati against the Brewers. Hamilton’s round-tripper marked the 32nd time this month that a team’s leadoff hitter began the first inning with a home run. That is the highest total of leadoff homers in a calendar month in major-league history. The previous record was 31 leadoff home runs, done in May 2016.

Power outage on Tuesday

Despite the fact that an all-time home run record was set on Tuesday (the previously mentioned leadoff-homer total for a calendar month), it was a quiet night for power hitters overall. There were only 25 home runs hit in 15 games on Tuesday, an average of 1.67 per game. That was the lowest homers-per-game average on any of the 87 days this season. Tuesday also marked the first day in over four weeks in which no major-league player homered more than once. The streak of 28 consecutive days with at least one multi-homer game had been the longest such streak in major-league history.

Abreu saves White Sox with walkoff hit

With the White Sox one out away from defeat, Jose Abreu singled off Dellin Betances to drive home the game-tying and game-winning runs in Chicago’s walkoff victory over the Yankees. Prior to Abreu on Tuesday, the last White Sox player to deliver a walkoff RBI with Chicago one out away from a loss was Abreu himself. On April 25, 2014, with two outs in the ninth inning and the White Sox trailing the Rays by a run, Abreu hit a walkoff grand slam to win it for Chicago.

The White Sox had not won a game in which they trailed at the end of eight innings since September 4 of last season at Minnesota. Chicago’s streak of 52 straight losses when trailing at the end of eight innings had been the longest active streak of its kind in the majors. That distinction now belongs to the Tigers, who have lost their last 47 games in which they were behind at the start of the ninth inning.

Beltre climbing home run list

Adrian Beltre’s ninth-inning home run – his 450th homer in the major leagues – gave the Rangers their margin of victory in their 2–1 win over the Indians. Including Tuesday’s game-winning blast, 16 of Beltre’s 450 homers have given his team the lead in the ninth inning or later. The only active player with more home runs of that kind is Albert Pujols, who has 19 such homers.

Verlander victorious after shaky start

Justin Verlander overcame a rough first inning to notch a win in the Tigers’ 5–3 victory over the Royals. Verlander prevailed despite allowing hits to each of Kansas City’s first five batters of the game (he allowed just four hits total over his next six innings). The last pitcher before Verlander to win a start after allowing hits to the first five batters of the game was Edwin Jackson, who allowed six straight hits to begin his outing for the Rays on Sep. 24, 2008 at Baltimore. Tampa Bay overcame a six-run deficit to make Jackson a winner that day, which turned out to be his final start with the team.

Verlander has earned 23 wins against the Royals, all since 2006. That’s the most wins for any pitcher against any team over the last 12 seasons. Verlander had been tied with Felix Hernandez, who has won 22 games against the A’s since 2006.

Bellinger’s amazing run continues

Cody Bellinger’s RBI-single drove home the first run for the Dodgers in their 4–0 victory over the Angels. Bellinger has made the most of his first 60 major-league hits as he has driven in at least one run on 32 of them. The only other active players who had as many run-scoring hits among their first 60 hits in the majors were Miguel Cabrera (33) and Joey Gallo (32).

Goodbye Halos’ perfect Tuesdays (who would hang a loss on you?)

The Dodgers’ victory ended the Angels’ perfect record on Tuesdays this season; the Angels had been 12–0 on that day of the week. With the Angels’ loss, no team is undefeated (or winless for that matter) on any particular day of the week this season.

Turner turns on jets versus Cubs

Trea Turner and the Nationals ran wild in their 6–1 victory over the Cubs at Nationals Park. Turner set the tone early by swiping second base and third base after singling in the first inning, then he repeated the twin theft after drawing a walk in the third inning. Only one other player in Nationals/Expos history produced two multi-steal innings in the same game. On April 21, 1981, Hall-of-Famer Tim Raines stole two bases in the first and sixth innings for Montreal against the Phillies.

Rough night holding runners for Arrieta

The Nationals tied a franchise record by swiping seven bases, and all of them came in the first four innings with Jake Arrieta on the mound. The last time that a Cubs pitcher allowed that many stolen bases in a game occurred more than 10 years prior to the opening of Weeghman Park, which you may know better by its current name, Wrigley Field. On Sep. 26, 1903, the Boston Beaneaters stole seven bases against Cubs starter Carl Lundgren.

Extra-ordinary success for Diamondbacks

The Diamondbacks rallied against the Cardinals bullpen and walked off with a victory after a RBI-single by Chris Herrmann in the 10th inning. Arizona improved to 7–1 in extra-inning games this season, including wins in each of its last six such games. That streak of six consecutive extra-inning wins is tied for the longest in franchise history. The Diamondbacks also won six straight games that required extras in 2001, and they had two separate six-game win streaks of that kind in 2013.

No one is hitting Rodney’s arrows

Fernando Rodney earned his second win of the season after pitching a 1–2–3 10th inning for the Diamondbacks. Rodney has not allowed a hit in any of his last 10 outings for Arizona dating back to May 31. Rodney’s current streak of 10 consecutive hitless innings is the longest of his major-league career, and it’s the longest hitless innings streak by any relief pitcher this season.

Gausman posts first zero by O’s starter in a long time

Kevin Gausman notched his first win of June after throwing 5⅓ scoreless innings for the Orioles in their 3–1 victory over the Blue Jays. Tuesday’s game marked the first of Gausman’s 17 starts this season in which he did not allow a run. Gausman’s scoreless outing also brought to an end a streak of 45 consecutive games in which Baltimore’s starting pitcher allowed a run. The only team with a longer streak of that kind this season is the Phillies, whose starter allowed at least one run in 58 straight contests from April 10 to June 14.

Newcomb looking good out of the gate

Sean Newcomb earned his first major-league win after throwing six scoreless innings for the Braves against the Padres at Petco Park. Newcomb has compiled a 1.48 ERA with 21 strikeouts in his first four starts in the majors. Since 1966, which was the Braves’ first season in Atlanta, the only other Braves pitcher to rack up at least 20 strikeouts in his first four major-league starts while compiling an ERA of 1.50 or lower was Kyle Davies, whose ERA stood at 0.77 after his first four starts in 2005. Davies, like Newcomb, had 21 strikeouts in his first four starts.

Hechavarria enjoying north side of Florida

Adeiny Hechavarria enjoyed a productive Rays debut, driving in two of his team’s four runs in Tampa Bay’s extra-inning win at Pittsburgh. Hechavarria, who produced multiple RBIs in just one of his 20 games with the Marlins earlier this season, became the third player to appear in a game for both of Florida’s major-league teams in a single season. The others were Jay Buente, who pitched in one game for both the Rays and Marlins in 2011, and Oswaldo Arcia, who played for four teams last year including a 21-game stint for Tampa Bay and two games for Miami.