Elias Says: July 5, 2017

Benintendi’s historic night

Andrew Benintendi was 5-for-5 with two homers and six RBIs on Tuesday night. The only other rookie to ever have a 5-for-5 (or better) game with at least two homers and six or more RBIs was Kevin Seitzer for the Royals in 1987. Seitzer went 6-for-6 with two homers and seven RBIs against the Red Sox.

Benintendi also collected five hits in a game earlier this season at Baltimore. He already has as many career five-hit games (two) as Miguel Cabrera. Or, if you prefer a more historical comparison, Benintendi has two more five-hit games than Lou Gehrig, Mel Ott and Barry Bonds had combined in their careers. None of those three players ever registered five hits in a major-league game.

Kershaw’s no-hit bid broken up in seventh inning

There has not been a no-hitter in the major leagues on July 4th since Dave Righetti threw one in 1983. That streak was officially extended for another year when Clayton Kershaw allowed an infield hit by Chris Owings with one out in the seventh inning on Tuesday night.

Between Righetti and Kershaw only one pitcher took a no-hitter as far as one out in the seventh inning on Independence Day: Tom Browning, who did that twice. Browning, pitching for the Reds, did not allow a hit through 6⅔ innings on July 4, 1986 at Philadelphia and carried a no-hitter through eight innings, again at Veterans Stadium, on July 4, 1989.

Barreto is youngest since Foxx with walkoff HR for A’s

Franklin Barreto homered in the bottom of the ninth inning to give the Athletics a 7–6 holiday win over the White Sox. Barreto, at 21, is the youngest A’s player to hit a walkoff homer since Jimmie Foxx, who did that when he was 20 years old on May 14, 1928. Foxx’s three-run shot in the bottom of the 10th inning gave the Philadelphia Athletics a victory over the Indians. Lefty Grove went the distance to earn the win for Connie Mack’s team that day at Shibe Park.

Barreto’s blast ended the White Sox’ seven-game winning streak on July 4th, which was the longest current winning streak for any major-league team on Independence Day.

Merrifield takes King Felix deep on first pitch of game

Whit Merrifield had not hit a home run in his last 127 at-bats before he smacked Felix Hernandez’s first pitch of Tuesday’s game over the fence. In the last 10 years only one player ended a longer single-season home-run drought with a homer off King Felix. That was Billy Burns, who coincidentally also did it on the first pitch of a game! Burns took Hernandez deep on August 26, 2015 to end his streak of 314 homerless at-bats.

Aside from Merrifield and Burns, the only player to hit a home run on Hernandez’s first pitch of a game is Jose Reyes, for the Blue Jays in 2013

Bautista versus Sabathia

Jose Bautista had gone 6-for-46 (.130) lifetime against CC Sabathia before his RBI single gave the Blue Jays a 1–0 lead in the third inning on Tuesday. Toronto scored four runs off Sabathia in that frame and went on to beat the Yankees, 4–1. How unusual was that at-bat by Bautista? It was only the second time in 53 career plate appearances against Sabathia that he drove in a run. His only other RBI off the veteran lefty came on a solo homer in 2011.

Murphy mauls the Mets

Daniel Murphy went 4-for-5 with five RBIs in the Nationals’ win over the Mets, increasing his batting average against the Mets to .405 (49 for 121) since leaving them after the 2015 season.

That is the highest career average for any active player versus a team for which he formerly played (minimum: 100 at-bats). The next-highest such average among current players belongs to Matt Holliday, who is hitting .378 against the Rockies. No other active player owns a .350-or-higher average––again, in at least 100 at-bats––against a former team.

Murphy’s total of 34 RBIs against the Mets since 2016 is the second-highest for any major-league player versus a particular team over that span; Nolan Arenado has driven in 40 runs against the Giants over the last two seasons.

McCutchen batting MLB-high .408 over past six weeks

Andrew McCutchen went 3-for-4 with two home runs in the Pirates’ victory over the Phillies. McCutchen was hitting just .200 through his first 45 games this season, and to that point he had the 171st-highest batting average in the majors. But over the six weeks since then (May 24 to July 4), he is hitting a major-league-high .408 (51 for 125).

Breakdown of Upton’s last 100 at-bats

Justin Upton’s two-run single in the bottom of the seventh inning broke a 3–3 tie and neither team scored the rest of the way in the Tigers’ 5–3 victory over the Giants. Over Upton’s last 100 at-bats––dating back to May 31––he is batting .533 (16 for 30) with runners in scoring position, and .257 in all other at-bats (18 for 70).

Buxton busts out

Byron Buxton’s sixth-inning home run was a highlight in the Twins’ 5–4 win over the Angels. Buxton’s homer snapped his streak of 61 consecutive at-bats without an extra-base hit. That was tied for the second-longest current streak of that kind among active position players who have appeared in a game this season. A.J. Ellis has not produced a double, triple or home run in his last 73 at-bats.

Rays score five runs in one inning

The Rays scored five runs in the fourth inning and needed every one of them as they held on to defeated the Cubs in Chicago, 6–5. It’s the fifth time this season that a team has scored five runs in an inning against the Cubs at Wrigley Field, after visitors did that only three times in that park all last season.

Thames hits two more homers

Eric Thames hit two home runs––each with nobody on base––to help the Brewers defeat the Orioles, 6–2. Thames has hit 23 home runs this season––14 solo shots and nine with one runner on base. Among the 16 players in the majors who have hit at least 20 home runs this year, he is the only one who hasn’t hit one with more than one runner on base.

Urena improves to 7–3

Jose Urena improved his record to 7–3 with a victory at St. Louis in which he pitched five innings. Urena has pitched six or fewer innings in all seven of his wins, tying the second-highest total of winning starts of that kind in the major leagues this season. Zach Davies has lasted six or fewer innings in eight of the nine starts he has won this year.

Padres use six pitchers in shutout

Six Padres pitchers contributed to the team’s 1–0 victory at Cleveland on Tuesday. That tied the franchise record for pitchers used in a shutout win, done five previous times. It was not the most pitchers used by a team in a shutout this season. Three teams called on seven pitchers in a shutout victory this year––the Blue Jays in a nine-inning game, along with the Rangers and Diamondbacks, each in games that lasted 13 innings.