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Kernels: Baseball's version of fireworks for the fourth

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In this week of brightly-colored displays in the night sky, it's appropriate that this week a lot of teams had big offensive explosions while some others just fizzled out. Our weekly MLB roundup features a few of each (and even a Canada Day stat!).

The Big Bang

• The Mets offense has been struggling lately, but it broke through on Sunday to again support rookie starting pitcher Steven Matz. Sundays have been the one day in which the Mets offense has hit and hit well. The last four times that the Mets have scored at least six runs in a game, it's been on a Sunday.

Though Matz couldn't match the 3-for-3, four-RBI game he had a week ago, he did drive in another run with a ground out.

Matz became the first pitcher to drive in a run in each of the first two games of his career (regardless of whether he batted or not) since Elmer Dessens in 1996.

He's the first pitcher in Mets history to do so and the 10th pitcher to accomplish the feat since RBIs became an official stat in 1920.

• Also on Sunday, the Phillies and Braves played nine innings without scoring a run. So naturally the Phillies scored four in the 10th, enough to hold up for a 4-0 win. It's the largest extra-inning shutout by the Phillies since a 6-0, 11-inning win at the Dodgers in 1967, a game in which Don Drysdale pitched 10 2/3 innings for Los Angeles.

The Braves hadn't lost an extra-inning shutout by four runs since 1950 at home to the Pirates. That game was long enough ago that the Braves were in Boston and both starters went the full 12 innings

• The Brewers closed Sunday on an eight-game win streak, thanks in part to four games this week with at least 16 hits. That includes the franchise's first-ever streak of 16 hits in three straight games; it was last done by the Cardinals in April 2011.

Jonathan Lucroy had four hits on Monday, the Brewers' first catcher to do that while batting either first or second since B.J. Surhoff in May 1988. On Wednesday Aaron Harang gave up 14 of their 17 hits, including a triple and two doubles by Scooter Gennett. Gennett became the first Brewer with those hits and two runs scored since Jose Valentin in 1999. And even pitcher Kyle Lohse got involved, recording three hits and two runs on offense Wednesday, something only one other Brewers pitcher had done-- Brad Woodall at Wrigley Field on June 16, 1998.

• The Phillies had 16 hits of their own in Thursday's game; it was the first time four of their players each had three hits in a loss since June 1, 1958, when Richie Ashburn and teammates dropped a 12-11 game to the Reds.

• The Pittsburgh Pirates erupted for 21 hits Wednesday, their most since 2004. Those included 15 off Alfredo Simon, the most allowed by a Tigers pitcher since Scott Sanders in April 1998. Thanks to the Pirates swinging freely, Simon also struck out seven batters and didn't walk anyone. The last two pitchers with 15-hit, seven-strikeout, zero-walk games are both in the Hall of Fame. One is a Tiger-- Hal Newhouser on July 30, 1944. The more recent game was by Warren Spahn on Aug. 20, 1959. Both of them, however, did it in complete games (Newhouser even won his).

The Pirates scored only nine runs, making it their first time with 21+ hits but single-digit runs since July 21, 1963, when they beat the Cubs 6-5 on Bill Virdon's 14th-inning walk-off.

Neil Walker had four hits and 3 RBIs in back-to-back games Wednesday and Thursday, the first Pirate to do that since none other than Willie Stargell in June 1966.

Simon's 15 hits allowed and Harang's 14 marked the first time two pitchers gave up 14+ hits on the same day since July 9, 1977... and that also was a Tiger and a Phillie (Fernando Arroyo and Steve Carlton).

• The Reds jumped out to a 9-1 lead on Monday before Mike Leake gave back six of those runs in the fourth. Cincinnati held on to win 11-7, tying a season high for hits, but Leake did not go the required five innings to get the win. The last Reds starter to allow seven earned runs, leave with the lead, and not get the win because of the five-inning rule, was Don Gullett against the Dodgers on Sept. 22, 1973. Staked to a lead by seven runs off Don Sutton in the first, Gullett couldn't get out of the fifth and the win went to Pedro Borbon instead.

• The Red Sox shot out of the gate Thursday with eight runs in the first inning, knocking Matt Boyd from the game without recording an out. Boyd is the first starter in three seasons to give up seven runs on zero outs, and the only one ever for Toronto. Boston's last eight-run first inning in a road game was on June 21, 1994, when they put up a 10-spot, also in Toronto.

• The Angels dropped 13 runs and a season-high 17 hits on the Rangers, posting their first shutout of 13+ in nearly three years and just the ninth in franchise history. It was the largest shutout loss for Texas since Oakland hung 13 on them in 2003. C.J. Cron had a three-run homer and drove in six runs; the Angels hadn't had a 6-RBI game since Kendrys Morales hit a homer from each side of the plate in 2012, also against the Rangers.

Duds

• The Tampa Bay Rays struck out a team-record 19 times Thursday, including 14 against Corey Kluber. They did, however, manage to get the game to extra innings and Kluber got a no-decision. He's the first Indians pitcher to fan 14 opponents and not get a win since Dennis Eckersley suffered a 2-1 loss to the Rangers on Aug. 13, 1976.

The Rays did at least get a baserunner before the sixth inning Thursday, something they had failed to do in the three previous games against Cody Anderson, Danny Salazar, and Carlos Carrasco. According to Elias, no team since at least 1960 (play-by-play is incomplete before that) has ever had three consecutive starters be perfect through five.

Tuesday's game was the first time the Indians allowed two runs on two hits, without either hit being a homer, since Sept. 2, 1987, when Tom Candiotti issued two leadoff walks to the Tigers and both scored.

• The Mets narrowly missed being shut out in their entire midweek series with the Cubs, scoring just one run in Thursday's finale. The Cubs had shut out the Mets in consecutive games only once before in their history, that being in April 1973. That one run on Thursday was scored by pitcher Jacob deGrom, the first time a Mets pitcher has scored their only run of a game since Johan Santana in 2008.

• The White Sox took a 1-0 game from the Orioles on Friday thanks to a 3rd-inning homer by Jose Abreu. The Orioles had not LOST a 1-0 game where the only run came on a homer since April 3, 2002, when Robin Ventura-- who of course also won Friday's game as Sox manager-- took Jason Johnson deep in the 7th. The last 1-0 game between those two teams to be decided (either way) on a solo homer was on Aug. 4, 1991; Frank Thomas went deep off Mike Mussina in the first season of "New" Comiskey Park.

Sparklers

Justin Smoak: Homered twice for Toronto on Canada Day; fourth player to do it for Canadian team (John Olerud 1996, Jesse Barfield 1984, Jose Vidro for 2003 Expos).

Kris Bryant: First grand slam ever hit by a Cubs player at Wrigley Field on July 4. Courtesy Elias, first NL player with 2 HR and 6 RBI on July 4 since Willie McCovey in 1962 (though five AL'ers have done it).

Charlie Blackmon: Leadoff homer Friday (his ninth) broke tie with Eric Young for most in Rockies history.

Seattle Mariners, Thursday: 13th time since start of 2014 being held to two hits or fewer; Padres have second-most with nine.

Nelson Cruz: Homered on 35th birthday Wednesday; only other active player with birthday homers for three different teams is Alex Rodriguez.

Manny Banuelos: 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 7 K in MLB debut; first to hit (or surpass) all those marks in first game since Max Scherzer (2008)-- the pitcher he opposed on Thursday.

• Max Scherzer, Thursday: First "Washington National" to take a complete-game loss via walk-off. Last for franchise was Livan Hernandez on June 11, 2004.

Brian McCann: First walk-off homer for Yankees in 12th or later, with at least two baserunners, since Jason Giambi's grand slam on May 17, 2002. Yankees were last team this year without a walk-off win (Royals got their first one 13 minutes earlier).

• Cody Anderson, Saturday: Complete-game loss by 1-0 score without walking anyone, first such game for Indians since Bud Black in August 1989.

Anthony Bass: Gave up eight hits in relief Friday but only two runs; third RP in franchise history to do that (Jim Merritt, 1973; Phil Ortega, 1968).

Justin Bour: Eighth player in Marlins history to homer in four straight games; only other cleanup hitter was Preston Wilson in May 2000.

Joey Gallo, Monday: 4 K, triple, 3 RBI; second player ever with that line. The other is a pitcher!-- Joe Krakauskas of the Senators in July 1939.

Jose Fernandez and Tyson Ross: First pair of pitchers to homer on same day since Oct. 1, 2012 (Clayton Richard and Jaime Garcia).

Josh Wilson: First Tigers player with two HBPs and two fielding errors in a game since Willie Horton in June 1968.