Elias Says: July 4, 2017

Yankees score decisive run on first-inning HBP

The Yankees took an early 1–0 lead when Chase Headley was hit by a pitch from Marcus Stroman with the bases loaded, and New York never looked back in its 6–3 home win over Toronto. The last time a Yankees batter provided a game-winning RBI on a first-inning HBP was in the final game of the 1985 season at Toronto’s Exhibition Stadium. Willie Randolph got credit for driving in the first run when he was plunked by John Cerutti with the bases full. That game is best remembered as Phil Niekro’s 300th major-league win. The 46-year-old knuckleballer threw a four-hit shutout and the Yankees won, 8–0.

Rockies rookies keep racking up wins

Jeff Hoffman improved to 5–1 on the season by allowing three runs in seven innings of the Rockies’ 5–3 home victory over the Reds. Hoffman’s five wins tie German Marquez for third among rookies on his team, behind Antonio Senzatela (9) and Kyle Freeland (8.) Colorado is the first team ever to have four rookies win five games in a season before the All-Star Game.

A rough night for Jeff Locke

Jeff Locke allowed 11 runs, all earned, while recording just eight outs in the Marlins’ 14–6 loss at St. Louis. The only bright side for Locke is that he didn’t allow a home run. No pitcher had surrendered more than 10 earned runs in a game without giving up a homer since the Angels’ Scott Schoeneweis, on May 23, 2001 at Baltimore. No Marlins pitcher had done so prior to Locke.

It was the second time in two seasons that Locke gave up more than 10 runs in one game. He also allowed 11 runs, all earned, on June 9, 2016 for Pittsburgh at Colorado. No other active pitcher has surrendered more than 10 runs in a game more than once in his career.

Benintendi produces second extra-inning GWRBI

Andrew Benintendi’s two-run single in the 11th inning provided the final margin in the Red Sox’ 7–5 win at Texas. It was Benintendi’s second extra-inning game-winning RBI this season – he hit a 12th-inning walkoff single against the Phillies on June 13. The last Boston rookie to have more than one extra-inning game-winning RBI before the end of July was Nomar Garciaparra, who had three in 1997.

Brewers roll a hard eight

Manny Pina’s two-run double in the second inning was the only extra-base hit for the Brewers in their 8–1 home win over the Orioles. Milwaukee, which drew only two walks on Monday, is the first major-league team in either of the last two seasons to score as many as eight runs in a game despite collecting no homers, no more than one extra-base hit, and two-or-fewer walks. The only other such game in franchise history came in the team’s only World Series year, in an 8–5 win over the Mariners at the Kingdome on Aug. 22, 1982.

Taylor finds his power stroke

Michael Taylor’s two-run home run broke up a scoreless tie in the eighth inning of the Nationals’ 3–2 home win over the Mets. Taylor hit four home runs through the end of May, but his eight blasts since the start of June tie Lorenzo Cain for the most by any major-league center fielder over that span.

Granderson, down to his last strike, keeps Mets alive

Curtis Granderson briefly kept the Mets’ hopes alive by belting a two-run home run on an 0–2 count with two outs in the top of the ninth inning and New York trailing, 2–0. Only one other player over the last two years has hit a tying or go-ahead homer on an 0–2 pitch with his team trailing with two outs in the ninth inning or later. That was the Cardinals’ Matt Carpenter, in a win at Pittsburgh on Sept. 6, 2016.

Kepler stars in Minnesota’s cleanup role

Fourth-place batter Max Kepler went 4-for-4 with a home run in the Twins’ 9–5 home win over the Angels. It had been almost exactly eight years since a Minnesota cleanup hitter went 4-for-4 or better, including a home run. On July 4, 2009, Justin Morneau was 4-for-4 with one homer in a 4–3 win over the Tigers at the Metrodome.

Phillies go up 2–0 after two batters

Second-place batter Freddy Galvis followed a Daniel Nava single with a first-inning home run and the Phillies never trailed in their 4–0 home win over the Pirates. It was the sixth time over the last two seasons that Philadelphia scored two runs after just two batters had come to the plate (5 in 2016, 1 in 2017.) That ties the Mets for the most such fast starts in the majors over that span.

Cabrera extends hot streak

Melky Cabrera went 3-for-6 with an RBI in the White Sox’ 7–2 win at Oakland. Cabrera batted .255 through June 7, but his 38 hits (in 106 at-bats) since June 8 rank second in the majors behind Cleveland’s Jose Ramirez (39.)

Gordon’s bat returns from the bottom of the order

Ninth-place batter Alex Gordon was 1-for-3 with a fifth-inning home run in the Royals’ 3–1 win at Seattle. Gordon, who had started in the ninth slot only once in 10 seasons entering 2017, is batting .247 with four home runs and a .438 slugging percentage in 89 at-bats from the bottom of the lineup this season. From all other lineup slots this year, Gordon is hitting .170 and slugging .233 with just one homer in 159 at-bats.