Elias Says: August 19, 2017

58 home runs in one day

Major-league players combined to hit 58 home runs in the 15 games played on Friday, the second-highest total of home runs ever hit on one day in the 142-year history of Major League Baseball. There were 62 home runs hit on July 2, 2002, a day on which 16 games were played. The 58 homers set a record for the most longballs on a day on which 15-or-fewer games were played; the previous record of 57 was set in the 15 games played on April 7, 2000.

This season, there has been an average of 2.54 home runs per game (for both teams combined), which is on target to surpass, rather handily, the all-time record high of 2.34 homers per game, set in 2000.

Machado belts 3 homers, including a walkoff grand-slam

Manny Machado’s third home run of the evening was a walkoff grand-slam, as he drove in seven runs in the Orioles’ thrilling 9-7 triumph over the Angels. Machado became the 13th player in major-league history to hit three homers in a game, with the final one a walkoff. And the last three times that a player has turned that trick, the final blow has been a walkoff grand-slam: Joey Votto did that against the Nationals in 2012, Khris Davis followed suit against the Rangers last year, and Machado joined them on Friday night. Among the earlier player who finished a three-homer game with a walkoff flourish were Hall-of-Famers George Kelly (1924) and Willie McCovey (1966), and future Hall-of-Famer Albert Pujols (2006). Among the pitchers who surrendered a walkoff homer by a player who had homered twice earlier were a couple of Hall of Famers. Goose Gossage, then at his peak with the Yankees, was victimized by Cecil Cooper in 1979; and in 1958, Cubs outfielder Walt Moryn capped a great effort with a game-ending homer off a youngster pitching in relief, Sandy Koufax.

Machado, in his last 12 games, is batting .370 (20 for 54) with five homers (including three grand-slams) and 25 RBIs. He became the first major-league player with as many as 25 RBIs over a span of 12 games since Edwin Encarnacion had 26 over 12 games for the Blue Jays in 2015. Machado became just the 10th player in major-league history, and the first in Orioles franchise history, to hit three grand-slams in one calendar month; the most recent player to do that was Carlos Beltran with the Mets in July 2006.

Moreland and Devers too much for Yankees

Mitch Moreland delivered a two-run, two-out, pinch-hit single on an 0-2 pitch in the seventh inning at Fenway Park, erasing a 6-5 Yankees lead and sending the Red Sox toward a 9-6 victory that lengthened their American League East lead over the Bombers to five games. Moreland’s success as a pinch-hitter has been startling in recent seasons. Friday’s pinch-hit was his 17th in 37 pinch-hit at-bats over the last four seasons—a batting average of .459 that stands as the highest among all major-league players with at least 30 pinch-hit at-bats since 2014.

Earlier, Rafael Devers blasted an opposite-field home run in his first game against the Yankees since his already-legendary game-tying homer off Aroldis Chapman in New York five nights earlier. It was the 20-year-old’s seventh home run in just 19 games in the big leagues, tying the major-league record for home runs over the first 20 MLB games for a player not yet 21 years old. Orlando Cepeda of the 1958 Giants and Ron Swoboda of the 1965 Mets also homered seven times within their first 20 big-league games, and each did it before turning 21. Finally, only three other not-yet-21 players connected for home runs in consecutive games against the Yankees. Ken Griffey, Jr. did it twice, in 1989 and 1990; Ted Williams did it in both games of a Memorial Day doubleheader in 1939; and Babe Ruth, as a pitcher, did it three straight games against the Yankees in 1915, a streak that began with the first of his 714 home runs on May 6 of that year.

Cardinals sweat out a win and an all-time “first” in Pittsburgh

Tommy Pham, Matt Carpenter and Paul DeJong homered in the first, second and third innings, respectively, leading another assault on the Pirates staff. The Cardinals led, 11-3, midway through the eighth inning, when manager Mike Matheny turned to his bullpen to protect the lead. Seven Pittsburgh runs later, Seung-Hwan Oh struck out Elias Diaz with the bases loaded for the game’s final out, and the Cardinals escaped with an 11-10 victory in Pittsburgh.

The previous night, St. Louis had fought from four runs down to earn an 11-7 victory. The Pirates entered the National League in 1887, and have been playing the Cardinals regularly ever since the Cardinals came into the senior circuit five years later. When divisional play began in 1969, the Pirates and the Cardinals were both placed in the N.L. East, and when two divisions became three in 1994, the teams moved together into the N.L. Central. But over the 1201 games that the Cardinals have played in Pittsburgh since 1892, this is the first time that the Cardinals have won consecutive games in the same series while scoring 10-or-more runs in each game.

Taylor helps Dodgers tie MLB record

Chris Taylor singled twice, doubled twice, knocked in two runs and scored another as the Dodgers defeated the Tigers, 8-5, in Detroit. It was Taylor’s third four-hit game of the season, the most on the team, and Friday’s flurry of hits lifted his road batting average to .353. That’s the third-best road average in the majors this season, behind Jose Altuve (.418) and Daniel Murphy (.361).

The victory boosted the Dodgers’ season record to 86-34 (.717) through 120 games. Playing that pace over the season’s final 42 games would leave them with 116 wins, which would tie the single-season major-league record shared by the 1906 Cubs (who went 116-36) and the 2001 Mariners (116-46). But the Dodgers tied a major-league record with their victory in Detroit: Their 25-5 record since the All-Star break matches the best in history following the Mid-Summer Classic. Whose record did they tie? Their own! Don Mattingly’s 2013 Dodgers also went 25-5 coming out of the break.

Buxton’s own kind of triple double, adding inside-the-park HR

Byron Buxton’s contributions to the Twins’ 10-3 victory over the visiting Diamondbacks included a double, a triple and an inside-the-park home run. Buxton became only the fifth major-leaguer in the 70-plus years since the end of World War II, and the first in 41 years, to squeeze those three types of hits into the same game. Jerry Snyder did it for the Washington Senators in 1956, a young Roger Maris for the Kansas City A’s in 1958, George Altman for the Cubs in 1961, and Al Bumbry for the Orioles at Chicago’s Comiskey Park on Aug. 21, 1976.

In all, the Twins smashed six home runs in their victory, tying the most home runs in a home game in the history of the franchise, dating to 1901 when the team played in Washington. The Twins connected for six circuit clouts twice at Metropolitan Stadium (in 1964 and 1966) and once earlier this year at Target Field (May 2 against the A’s). Actually, it’s not a surprise that it never happened at Griffith Stadium, the longtime home to the Washington Senators. The field dimensions at old Griffith were so huge that in 1945—a season in which Washington uncharacteristically finished just a game and a half behind the pennant-winning Tigers—the Senators hit exactly one home run—one!—in their 78 home games. And that lone home homer was an inside-the-parker, hit by Joe Kuhel on September 7.

Delmonico is both Mr. Inside and Mr. Outside

Rookie Nicky Delmonico hit two more home runs—he had also hit two at Dodger Stadium on Wednesday night—and this time the White Sox came up the winners, 4-3, against the Rangers in Arlington. Delmonico’s second homer was an inside-the-park job, and it broke a 3-3 tie in the eighth inning and furnished what proved to be the winning run. Delmonico became the first big-leaguer this season to hit an inside-the-park homer and an over-the-fence homer in the same game. Only two other White Sox rookies have enjoyed a pair of multiple homer games within a three-game span. Jose Abreu did that on April 8 and April 10 of 2014, and 80 years before Abreu, Zeke Bonura had consecutive two-homer games on May 19-20, 1934.

Cruz belts his 30th, earning a distinction, for now

Nelson Cruz smacked three hits, including a first-inning double to knock in the game’s first run and his 30th home run of the season, which ended the scoring in the ninth, leading the Mariners to a 7-1 victory over the reeling Rays in St. Petersburg. Cruz, who hit 40-or-more homers in each of the past three seasons, became the first major-league player to reach 30 home runs in 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017. Cruz may not be alone in that club for long, as Anthony Rizzo needs just two round-trippers to secure his fourth straight season of 30-or-more, while Edwin Encarnacion needs just two more to reach the 30-homer mark for a sixth straight season.

Introducing Javier Baez, Mr. Late-Inning Lightning

The Cubs saw their 5-1 lead over the visiting Blue Jays shrink to 5-4 in the top of the eighth—with Chicago refugee Miguel Montero right in the middle of things. But Mr. Late-Inning Lightning, Javier Baez, came through again with a two-run homer in the last of the eighth and Chicago went on to take a 7-4 decision. It was the 20th home run of the season (in 346 at-bats) for Baez, who hit only 14 (in 421 at-bats) last year. Baez became the 68th major-leaguer to reach the 20-homer mark this season, but Friday’s was the seventh of those blasts that Baez has delivered in the eighth inning or later with at least one runner on base. That ties Clay Bellinger for the highest total of eighth-inning-or-later, multi-run homers by any player in the majors this season. (Giancarlo Stanton has hit two home runs of that type this season; Aaron Judge has hit one.)

Bruce joins Cleveland multi-HR club

Jay Bruce slammed a pair of home runs and knocked in five runs in support of Corey Kluber, who left after five and one-third innings due to an ankle injury with the Indians in command of what would be a 10-1 victory in Kansas City. Bruce became the seventh different Cleveland player to produce a multiple-homer game this season, joining Edwin Encarnacion (three), Jose Ramirez (three), Carlos Santana (two), Francisco Lindor, Jason Kipnis and Lonnie Chisenhall. The only teams with more such players this season are the Red Sox, Nationals and Mets, each with nine.

Keuchel does his scoreless thing once again

Dallas Keuchel threw seven scoreless innings to earn credit for the Astros’ 3-1 win over the A’s. It was Keuchel’s 11th scoreless start of seven-or-more innings over the last three seasons, the second-highest total among American-League pitchers, trailing Chris Sale (14 such starts).

Blackmon does his thing, Rockies do theirs

Charlie Blackmon led off the first inning with a home run and the Rockies tacked on a pair of three-run innings in their 8-4 victory over the visiting Brewers. It was Blackmon’s sixth home run leading off the first inning this season, tying four other players (Michael Conforto, Corey Dickerson, Brian Dozier and Ian Kinsler) for the second-most in the majors. George Springer has hit nine.

Colorado’s two big innings lifted to 79 its total of innings scoring three-or-more runs this season. That’s the highest total for any National League team, two more than the Dodgers have generated.