MLB Notebook: Scherzer continues dominant run
There has only been one season in the history of the American League -- 1971 -- in which multiple pitchers reached 300 strikeouts. That year, Vida Blue fanned 301 on his way to winning the league Cy Young and MVP awards.
Tigers southpaw Mickey Lolich, who struck out 308 batters, finished first in the league in that category that season. But even with that extraordinary amount, Lolich didn't come close to enjoying a streak like the one currently being assembled by Tigers righty Max Scherzer.
To find a Detroit match for Scherzer, who has struck out at least eight batters in nine consecutive starts, one has to go back to 1946. That season, Hal Newhouser fanned at least eight batters in nine consecutive starts in a streak that ran from Aug. 15 through the first game of a doubleheader on Sept. 22. During those starts, Newhouser threw 80 innings, allowed 49 hits, posted a 1.58 ERA and struck out 87.
Newhouser finished the 1946 season leading the league in ERA and wins (he was tied with the man referenced very shortly), but not strikeouts. That honor went to Indians right-hander Bob Feller, who also compiled a nine-start streak of at least eight K's. In Feller's run (which encompassed his first nine games of the season and included a no-hitter), he threw 80 innings, allowed 53 hits, posted a 2.03 ERA and struck out 93 batters.
On Saturday, Scherzer fanned nine in eight scoreless innings vs. the White Sox and picked up the win to improve to 15-6. With the nine K's, Scherzer reached 200 for the first time in his career. And with 204 Ks overall, he leads the league in that category. Scherzer also leads the AL in strikeouts per nine innings, at 11.29. In the modern era, only nine qualifying right-handed pitchers have finished the season with a rate of at least 11.29 K's per nine.
Scherzer is the 24th pitcher since 1918 to have at least nine consecutive starts with at least eight strikeouts. During his streak, Scherzer has gone 7-1 with a 2.39 ERA, and in 60 1/3 innings he has allowed 48 hits and struck out 79.
In his past five starts, Scherzer has gone 5-0 with a 1.03 ERA and has fanned 44 with nine walks in 35 innings.
The Yankees defeated the Orioles, 4-3, ending Baltimore's streak of 13 straight one-run victories. The 13 consecutive one-run wins had stood as an O's record, and had started with a 2-1 win against the Nationals on June 22. With the loss, the Orioles are now 24-7 in one-run games in 2012 -- a .774 winning percentage that would still be the best of all-time.
The Yankees used a three-run seventh inning to turn a 3-1 deficit into a lead and win. Entering this game, New York was 10-46 when trailing after six, and the O's were 50-3 when leading after six. The victory moved New York's lead over Baltimore in the AL East to three games.
Both teams collected four hits. The last time the Orioles and Yankees played one another and each finished with no more than four hits was on Aug. 7, 1995, when they each had exactly three and the Yankees -- managed by current O's skipper Buck Showalter -- won, 3-0.
Yankees All-Star Robinson Cano hit his 28th home run of the season, leaving him one shy of matching his career high. Cano has 172 career homers, fifth most in history for all second basemen through their first eight seasons. Among eight-year second basemen, Cano has the most hits, doubles, total bases and extra-base hits.
Coco Crisp homered to lead off the game in the bottom of the first, starter A.J. Griffin retired the first 14 batters he faced, and the Athletics defeated the Red Sox, 7-1.
Crisp finished the game having gone 3-for-4 with a double and a homer. In his past 56 games, he has gone 68-for-226 (.301) with 17 doubles, four triples and nine home runs, giving him a .531 slugging percentage. Oakland went 40-16 in those 56 games.
Griffin finished his start having allowed one run and three hits in seven innings, and he improved to 4-0 on the season. Griffin's line marked the 32nd time this season an A's pitcher had finished a start with at least seven innings and no more than one run allowed. Those 32 tie Oakland with Seattle for the most in the AL.
The Athletics moved to within three games of the Rangers for first place in the AL West. Since the start of June, the A's owns a 53-28 record for the best winning percentage in the Majors. Over this span, they have allowed the second-fewest runs in the Majors and scored the second-most runs.
Oakland lost its first game of the season against the Red Sox, and since then has reeled off seven consecutive victories vs. Boston. The seven-game winning streak is the longest for the A's against the Red Sox since the 1932 team won eight in a row vs. Boston.
Here and there
In the Cardinals' 10-9 win over the Nationals, the top six hitters in the St. Louis lineup -- Jon Jay, Matt Carpenter, Matt Holliday, Allen Craig, Yadier Molina and David Freese -- collected 13 of the club's 14 hits and nine of the team's 10 RBIs. The only other hit and RBI came from pinch-hitter Carlos Beltran. The 14 hits were as many as the Cardinals had totaled in their previous three games, and the 10 runs were double what they had tallied in their previous five games. With the victory, St. Louis moved to within two games of the top Wild Card spot in the National League and increased its lead for the second spot to 1 1/2 games.
Bryce Harper doubled in a 2-for-4 day at the plate, giving him 40 extra-base hits. Harper is the fifth player in baseball history to have at least 40 in his age-19 season or younger. The others: Mel Ott (48), Phil Cavarretta (48), Tony Conigliaro (47) and Buddy Lewis (40).
In the first game of a doubleheader, Royals outfielder Jeff Francoeur notched his Major League-leading 16th outfield assist of the season. Since his debut season in 2005, Francoeur has 113 outfield assists to lead the Majors. The second most in this span is the 81 by Alfonso Soriano.
Roger Schlueter is senior researcher for MLB Productions. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.