Elias Says: August 8, 2017

Trout reaches a milestone on his birthday

Mike Trout celebrated his 26th birthday with his 1000th and 1001st hits—he doubled and scored in the fourth and homered in the sixth—on Monday night against Baltimore’s Dylan Bundy. Trout’s double was the 421st extra-base hit among his first 1000 hits, and it lifted his career batting average to .309. Only three other players whose major-league careers began after World War II had both as many extra-base hits and as high a batting average at the time of their 1000th hit. Those players: Manny Ramirez (440 extra-base hits and .309 average at the time of his 1000th hit in 2000), Todd Helton (446 XBH and .333 average when he got his 1000th hit in 2003) and Trout’s current teammate Albert Pujols (452 and .333 when he reached 1000 hits in 2006).

It was the fourth time that Trout has homered on his birthday, the second highest total among active major-leaguers, behind Mark Reynolds, who delivered his sixth birthday homer on Thursday. Only two other major-leaguers who made their big-league debut over the last 100 years earned their 1000th, 2000th, 3000th or 4000th hit on their birthday. Charlie Moore collected his 1000th hit on his 33rd birthday, in 1986 and Hal Morris reached 1000 on his 33rd birthday, in 1998.

Machado’s slam spoils Trout’s party

Manny Machado’s grand-slam homer snapped a 2-2 tie in the seventh inning and the Orioles finished off a 6-2 victory over the Angels in Anaheim. It was the fifth grand-slam homer of Machado’s big-league career, and his fourth in 20 bases-loaded at-bats since the start of last season. Machado was batting only .215 through July 6—and that was after playing in 80 games. But from July 7 to August 7, Machado has batted .376 (41 for 109) with 24 RBIs in 27 games. The Orioles have ridden the wave, and Monday night’s win lifted their record to 56-56, their first time at .500 since a loss on the last day of June dropped them below the break-even mark.

Harper and Trout, linked again

Bryce Harper connected for his 150th career home run—teaser: it made for an absolutely stunning coincidence—and pinch-hitter deluxe Adam Lind knocked in the go-ahead run in the eighth inning allowing the Nationals to nip the Marlins, 3-2. Check it out: Harper reached the 150-HR milestone at the age of 24 years, 295 days, which happens to be exactly the age (9061 days, if you wish) at which Mike Trout produced his 150th homer on May 28 of last year! Only two active big-leaguers connected 150 times at a younger age: Albert Pujols (24 years, 212 days) and Giancarlo Stanton (24 years, 290 days).

Lind’s go-ahead single produced his 10th pinch-hit RBI this season, second in the majors behind Pat Valaika, who has 11. Lind is batting .394 (13 for 33) when appearing as an emergency swinger.

Votto stars and unleashes a torrent of notes

Joey Votto singled in the game’s first run in the opening inning and belted a two-run homer in the third, while Adam Duvall and Zack Cozart added homers and Patrick Kivlehan hit an eighth-inning grand-slam in the Reds’ 11-3 win over the Padres. Seems like a simple enough overview, but there’s a lot of context, so let’s get to it.

Votto’s single produced his 29th first-inning RBI this season, the highest total for any major-league player in any inning. (Nelson Cruz stands second, with 26 first-inning RBIs). Moreover, the hit lifted Votto’s career batting average in the first inning to .331, surpassing Rod Carew (.330) for the highest first-inning batting average among all major-leaguers (minimum: 500 plate appearances in the opening inning) who have debuted in the majors since Carew made his big-league debut 50 years ago.

Sorry, but not done yet. Votto’s home run off Jhoulys Chacin was his 30th of the season, the second time that he has reached that mark in his 10 full seasons in the majors. Votto hit 37 in 2010, and then finished with 29 homers in 2011, 2015 and 2016; Votto shares with Reggie Jackson the major-league record of three seasons with exactly 29 homers—a record that Votto will not break, at least this season. It was also Votto’s 136th home run at Great American Ballpark, breaking the stadium record previously held by Jay Bruce.

In addition, Monday’s game was the 15th over the last two seasons in which both Votto and Duvall have homered. That ties the highest such total for any teammates in the majors since the beginning of last season. Two different pairs of Orioles have also gone deep in the same game 15 times: Manny Machado and Mark Trumbo, and Chris Davis and Adam Jones.

Finally, Kivlehan’s jackpot blast was the ninth four-run home run allowed by Padres pitchers this season, the highest total in the majors this season. Padres opponents are batting a major-league-high .383 with the bases full this season (36 hits in 94 at-bats).

An inside job by Baez

Javier Baez’s deep drive toward “triples alley” ricocheted past Giants right fielder Carlos Moncrief and Baez circled the bases with a two-run inside-the-park homer that launched the Cubs toward a 5-3 victory in San Francisco. It was only the ninth in-park homer in regular-season play in the 18 years that the Giants have played at AT&T Park, formerly Pac Bell Park and SBC Park. (Ichiro Suzuki also had one in the 2007 All-Star Game.) Baez’s blow was only the third inside-the-parker hit there against the Giants; the others were generated by the Cardinals’ Fernando Vina in 2000 and by the Rockies’ Brandon Barnes in 2014.

For the Cubs, it was the 11th consecutive road game in which they have permitted no more than three runs. That’s the longest streak of that kind by any major-league team this season.

Carpenter king at Kauffman

Matt Carpenter, Kolten Wong and Paul DeJong all homered as the Cardinals won, 11-3, in Kansas City, reaching the .500 mark, at 56-56, for the first time since they stood at 26-26 through the game of June 2. Carpenter set the tone with his three-run homer that capped a six-run fourth inning after his leadoff double had gone a-wastin’ in the first. In 13 games at Kauffman Stadium over the years, Carpenter is batting .451 (23 for 51) with 12 extra-base hits, including four homers, and 14 RBIs.

Williams and friends hold Tigers to 1 hit

Trevor Williams and two relievers tossed a one-hitter (James McCann’s single in the third inning) in the Pirates’ 3-0 victory over the visiting Tigers. It was the first one-hitter for the Pirates since June 4, 2014, when the Padres produced only one hit against Francisco Liriano and three relievers but wound up defeating the Bucs, 3-2. Of course, the Pirates haven’t enjoyed a complete-game no-hitter in more than 40 years, since John Candelaria blanked the Dodgers at Three Rivers Stadium in 1976. Going farther back into the team’s history, no pitcher ever threw a no-hit game at Forbes Field, the Pirates’ home from 1909 to 1970.

Twins top Brewers on balk

Eddie Rosario scored the go-ahead run in the seventh inning on a two-out balk by Oliver Drake, and Ryan Pressly and Matt Belisle kept the Brewers off the board as the Twins took a 5-4 decision in Minneapolis. This was the first time since the franchise moved from Washington to Minnesota in 1961 that the Twins won a game with the go-ahead and final run coming home on a balk in the seventh inning or later. The last such win by any major-league team came on July 16 of last year, when the Padres won, 7-6, in 10 innings on a walkoff balk by Giants reliever Santiago Casilla.