Elias Says: July 31, 2017

Beltre reaches 3,000 hits

The Orioles defeated the Rangers, 10-6, in Texas, but the bigger story was that Adrian Beltre belted a double off Wade Miley in the fourth inning for his 3000th major-league hit. Beltre is the 31st major-leaguer to accomplish the feat, the only other active player in the club being Ichiro Suzuki (3,060 hits). Beltre, born in the Dominican Republic, is the first player born in that country to reach 3,000 hits. Four other players born outside the 50 states are in the club: Ichiro, born in Japan; Rod Carew (3,053), born in Canal Zone current-day Panama; Rafael Palmeiro (3,020), born in Cuba; and Roberto Clemente (3,000), born in Puerto Rico.

Beltre has won five Gold Gloves at third base. The only other member of the 3,000-Hit Club who won at least five Gold Gloves at an infield position is Derek Jeter (five at shortstop).

Kyle Farmer supplants Farmer John as Dodger Stadium favorite

Not even the most ardent Dodgers fan could see this one coming. Trailing the Giants, 2-1, in the 11th inning, pinch-hitter Kyle Farmer, making his major-league debut, delivered a two-run double to send Dodger Stadium into a frenzy. Farmer became the first player in 22 years to supply a walkoff RBI in his first major-league plate appearance. The last guy to do that was Tomas Perez on May 3, 1995. (After entering the game as a pinch-runner, Perez came to the plate for the first time in the 10th inning and stroked a game-winning single off the White Sox’ Roberto Hernandez.) Farmer also became the first Dodgers player to earn a walkoff RBI in his first trip to the plate in the majors since baseball began recording RBIs in 1920.

Farmer’s hit provided an exciting finish to a pitchers’ duel par excellence: starters Madison Bumgarner and Hyun-Jin Ryu threw seven scoreless innings. It was the first Giants-Dodgers game in 11 years in which both starting pitchers did not allow a run, throwing at least seven innings. On Aug. 13, 2006 the Dodgers defeated the Giants, 1-0, in 10 innings at Dodger Stadium, with Dodgers starter Greg Maddux pitching eight scoreless innings, matched by eight scoreless by Jason Schmidt of the Giants. This was the second game in which a Dodgers southpaw and Giants southpaw each threw seven-or-more scoreless innings in a start. It also happened on Sept. 25, 1927, at Ebbets Field in Brooklyn. The game was called at 0-0 after seven innings due to darkness, with the Dodgers’ Jesse Petty and the Giants’ Dutch Henry each going the distance in the shortened game.

The Dodgers’ victory was MLB’s fifth walkoff win of the day, the most on any day since there were five on June 7 of last year.

If hitting walkoff homers were everything, the A’s would be awesome

Yonder Alonso hit a 12th-inning walkoff homer off the Twins’ Tyler Duffey. It was the Athletics’ seventh walkoff home run this season, the most in the majors (the Blue Jays stand second with five, including one on Sunday). That total of seven walkoff homers is the highest prior to the beginning of August by any team in major-league history! Sunday’s walkoff blast came on the heels of Rajai Davis’s walkoff home run Saturday night. It was the second time this season that the A’s have hit walkoff home runs in back-to-back games: they did it on May 7 (Ryon Healy against the Tigers) and May 8 (Jed Lowrie against the Angels). The A’s are the first team in major-league history to have two separate instances of back-to-back games with walkoff home runs in the same season.

Alonso’s blow was the third walkoff homer in the majors on Sunday, the most on one day since there were three on June 7 of last year.

Déjà vu as Pearce hits second walkoff grand slam in 4 days

Steve Pearce capped a dramatic ninth-inning comeback with a walkoff grand slam off Bud Norris as the Blue Jays overcame a 10-4 deficit to earn an 11-10 victory. Déjà vu? Pearce had hit a walkoff grand slam three days earlier in the Jays’ 8-4 win in 10 innings against the Athletics. That is the shortest span between walkoff grand slams by any player in major league history, the previous shortest being 100 days by the Mariners’ Jim Presley in 1986. Pearce, Presley, and Cy Williams for the 1926 Phillies are the only players to have hit two walkoff grand slams in the same season.

The Blue Jays were the second team this season to overcome a six-run deficit in the ninth inning or later, and in so doing they gave the Angels a taste of their own medicine. It was the Angels who overcame a 9-3 deficit in the ninth for a 10-9 win over the Mariners on April 9 in Anaheim. Prior to Sunday, the Blue Jays had never won a game in which they had trailed by six-or-more runs in the ninth inning or later.

56 multi-HR games for King Albert

In the loss, Albert Pujols went 3-for-5 with two home runs, the 56th multi-homer game of Albert’s career. Pujols now stands alone in eighth place for the most multi-homer games; he had entered the day tied with Ken Griffey, Jr. and Jimmie Foxx with 55. Pujols would need six more multi-homer games to match Hank Aaron and Alex Rodriguez, who stand tied for sixth place with 62. (The all-time leader is Babe Ruth, with 72.)

You’ve heard about teams that hit a lot of walkoff homers; this one rarely does

Matt Davidson hit a two-run walkoff homer off the Indians’ Bryan Shaw to lift the White Sox to a 3-1 victory. It was the first White Sox walkoff homer in two years and 22 days, their last coming on an 11th-inning Adam Eaton solo homer off Toronto’s Roberto Osuna on July 8, 2015. Entering today, the only team with a longer drought without a walkoff home run was the Rays, whose last came on May 22, 2014. From July 9, 2015 through yesterday, the Orioles led the majors with 11 walkoff homers. For the Pale Hose, it was their longest drought between walkoff homers since they went 3 years and 307 days between a Robin Ventura walkoff blast in 1991 and one by Dave Martinez in 1995.

Pirate ship, led by McCutchen, leaves San Diego with some booty

Andrew McCutchen went 3-for-3 with three home runs and two walks in the Pirates’ 7-1 rout of the Padres in San Diego. It was McCutchen’s third three-homer game of his career, tying him with Joey Votto for second among active players, behind Albert Pujols, who has four such games. Among Pirates players, McCutchen is now in sole possession of third place, passing Roberto Clemente (two), behind Ralph Kiner and Willie Stargell (four each), all three of whom are Hall of Famers. Cutch became the fourth Pirates player to have a three-homer game in which he reached base safely (via hit, walk, or hit batsman) in all of his plate appearances, with at least five plate appearances. Kiner did it against the Cardinals on August 16, 1947 (3-for-3, 3 HR, 2 BB), Stargell did it at Chicago on May 22, 1968 (5-for-5, 3 HR), and Darnell Coles did it against the Cubs on Sept. 30, 1987 (4-for-4, 3 HR, BB).

This was the last Pirates game in July. In 50 games since June 1, McCutchen has a .367/.470/.678 slashline, producing a 1.148 OPS, the highest for a Pirates player over a 50-game span over the past five seasons. It’s also the third-highest OPS over the months of June and July, with a minimum of 150 plate appearances, for any active player: Mike Trout had an OPS of 1.185 in June-July 2015 and McCutchen himself generated a higher OPS in June-July 2012 (1.167).

James Paxton, Cy Young contender

James Paxton defeated the Mets to improve to 11-3 (.786), pitching six scoreless innings in which he allowed six hits (all singles), walked none, and fanned eight batters. Paxton lowered his ERA to 2.68 and became an ERA qualifier with the six innings; he now has the fourth-lowest ERA in the majors, trailing only Clayton Kershaw (2.04), Max Scherzer (2.23), and Chris Sale (2.37). Paxton went 6-0 with a 1.37 ERA in July; the six wins are the most in a calendar month for any pitcher in Mariners’ history. Three other active pitchers have had a 6-0 month with a sub-1.50 ERA: Justin Verlander in June 2011 (6-0, 0.92), Clayton Kershaw in June 2014 (6-0, 0.82), and Jake Arrieta in August 2015 (6-0, 0.43). All three went on to win Cy Young Awards in those respective seasons.

Lynn’s great month

Lance Lynn and the Cardinals defeated the D-Backs, 3-2, in St. Louis. Lynn allowed two runs in six innings to improve to 9-6 and lower his ERA to 3.20. In six starts this month, Lynn is 3-1 with a 1.47 ERA. Lynn has had 23 months with at least five starts in the majors, and this was his lowest ERA in any month, beating out his 1.71 mark in July 2014. For his career, Lynn owns a 2.75 ERA in July, which excluding October is his lowest ERA in any month and is the fifth-lowest July ERA among active pitchers with at least 25 July starts. In that category, he trails only Clayton Kershaw (1.69), Adam Wainwright (2.43), Corey Kluber (2.52), and Chris Sale (2.66).

Tigers maul Astros with help from Verlander and Upton

Houston entered the rubber game of a three-game series in Detroit with a record of 68-35 (.660), but it was the Tigers who won the game in a rout, 13-1. It was the first time in franchise history that the Tigers had defeated a team with a winning percentage of .650 or higher at least 80 games into a season by a double-digit margin. In fact, no major-league team had done that since the Rangers defeated the Mariners, 14-2, on July 5, 2001; Seattle had entered the game at 61-22 (.735).

Justin Verlander threw six shutout innings, improving to 5-0 with a 2.55 ERA in nine starts against Houston. Two other active pitchers were without a loss in their first nine starts against the Astros: Ubaldo Jimenez, who first lost in his 12th start against the Astros, and Edinson Volquez, who first lost in his 10th start against them.

Justin Upton went 4-for-5 with a grand slam and double. He is the second Tigers player in the last 20 seasons (since 1998) to produce four hits and a grand slam in the same game. Nicholas Castellanos did it at Wrigley Field on August 19, 2015.

Gordon’s 8th-inning triple wins it for Royals

The Royals got back on the winning track with a 5-3 comeback win at Fenway Park. In the top of the eighth, Alcides Escobar tied the game with a two-run single and Alex Gordon hit a two-run triple that broke the tie and provided the game’s final scoring. Gordon is the first visiting player since June 1, 2000 to hit a game-winning triple in the eighth inning or later at Fenway; in that game, Dave McCarty, also on the Royals, hit a game-winning triple in the eighth inning off Derek Lowe in a 13-11 Royals’ win.

Young Devers showing some pop

Rafael Devers of the Red Sox, 20 years 279 days old, hit his second home run in his fifth major-league game. One other Red Sox player younger than 21 hit two homers in his first five major-league games: Tony Conigliaro hit two in his first fuve games at age 19 in 1964. The only other Red Sox player to hit multiple homers in his first five major-league games before turning 22 was Tony’s brother, Billy Conigliaro, who hit three in his first five games at age 21 in 1969.

Arenado reaches 30 RBIs in July

Nolan Arenado went 3-for-3 with a triple, two walks, and two RBIs in the Rockies’ 10-6 win in the early game in Washington. Arenado, who leads the majors in RBIs this season (91) and this month (30), reached 30 RBIs in a month for the fourth time in his major-league career, third-most among active players behind Miguel Cabrera (six) and Albert Pujols (five). Arenado also set a Rockies record for most 30 RBI months. Matt Holliday, Dante Bichette, and Andres Galarraga all had three such months with Colorado.

Another rough Washington starting debut

Erick Fedde had a rough major-league debut for the Nationals, allowing seven runs (five earned) on 10 hits and two walks in four innings and taking a loss. No Nationals pitcher has won his major-league debut as a starter since Stephen Strasburg on June 8, 2010. Since that night, nine Nats pitchers debuted as starting pitchers, going a combined 0-5 with a 7.17 ERA, and none of them pitched more than five innings.

Edwin Jackson improved to 2-1 with the Nationals this season as Washington took the late game against Colorado, 3-1. Jackson allowed one run on four hits and two walks in seven innings, striking out six. Jackson had entered the game 1-4 with a 10.80 ERA in 14 games (11 starts) against the Rockies, and it wasn’t all Coors Field’s fault: in seven previous home games (five starts) against the Rockies, Jackson was 1-1 with a 8.31 ERA.

Caratini’s first major-league home run is a big one

Victor Caratini hit his first major-league home run today off the Brewers’ Zach Davies and it was a big one, breaking a 2-2 tie in the top of the seventh inning to give the Cubs a 3-2 lead. After Kris Bryant’s solo shot in the eighth inning, Chicago won, 4-2. Three other players who debuted with the Cubs in the last 50 seasons (since 1968) hit their first major-league homer with the team, with that homer providing a game-winning RBI in the seventh inning or later. The players: Jose Arcia on July 7, 1968, a walkoff home run against the Pirates; Roosevelt Brown on Oct. 2, 1999, at St. Louis; and Javier Baez on August 5, 2014, at Colorado.

Another 2-strike hit for Dickerson gives Rays’ lead for good

Corey Dickerson hit a two-run single off of a 1-2 pitch from the Yankees’ Jordan Montgomery in the third inning that gave the Rays a 3-2 lead, a lead that they would never relinquish in what proved to be a 5-3 victory. Dickerson now has 60 two-strike hits this season, the most in the majors. Xander Bogaerts has the next-most (58).

Galvis wins it with walkoff single

Freddy Galvis’s bases-loaded single in the bottom of the ninth game the Phillies a 2-1 win over the Braves, the fifth walkoff RBI of his major-league career. Prior to the at-bat, Galvis was hitless in his last eight at-bats with the bases loaded dating back to last season, with four sacrifice flies.

Castillo handles Marlins

Young fireballer Luis Castillo defeated the Marlins in his eighth major-league start, allowing just one run on three hits and a walk over eight innings, striking out six. Castillo held the Marlins’ left-handed batters hitless in their 12 at-bats against him, and held Miami hitless in its only two at-bats against him with runners in scoring position. Through eight starts, the young right-hander has limited lefty batters to a .189 batting average, while he has limited all comers to a .152 batting average with runners in scoring position.