MLB Notebook: Bruce-Phillips quite a combo
Pair joins past RF-2B greats in production as Reds get Wild in victory
On June 25, 1949, the Pirates hosted the Dodgers at Forbes Field, and they were brusquely treated to an offensive show from the visitors. Pounding out 17 hits, Brooklyn hit four home runs, with one by second baseman Jackie Robinson in a four-RBI day and another one courtesy of right fielder Carl Furillo as he drove in three runs. That season, Robinson and Furillo each passed 100 RBIs as the Dodgers made their way to the pennant. And 64 years later, on this particular Sunday, another right field-second base combo was on display in Pittsburgh, and like Furillo and Robinson, the Reds' Jay Bruce and Brandon Phillips played a significant role in a win and added some numbers to their notable RBI totals.
The Reds defeated the Pirates, 11-3, tying Pittsburgh in the National League Wild Card race. A few notes:
• Bruce drove in four to raise his RBI total to 107, and Phillips collected his 102nd RBI.
• Bruce and Phillips are the first pair of Reds teammates to each have 102 RBIs since Johnny Bench and George Foster in 1977.
|1894 Beaneaters||Jimmy Bannon, Bobby Lowe||229|
|1929 Tigers||Harry Heilmann, Charlie Gehringer||226|
|1929 Cubs||Kiki Cuyler, Rogers Hornsby||251|
|1936 Yankees||George Selkirk, Tony Lazzeri||216|
|1949 Dodgers||Carl Furillo, Jackie Robinson||230|
|1999 Indians||Manny Ramirez, Roberto Alomar||285|
|2005 Phillies||Bobby Abreu, Chase Utley||207|
|2013 Reds||Jay Bruce, Brandon Phillips||209|
• Bruce and Phillips make up the eighth combo of a right fielder and a second baseman to each have at least 102 RBIs.
• Batting leadoff, Billy Hamilton had three hits and two steals. Hamilton has 12 steals in 10 games (two starts) and has not been caught. He is the only player since 1916 to have at least one steal in eight of his first 10 games.
• Joey Votto had a double, a single and a walk, and he has reached base safely 305 times this season. Votto is now six behind Pete Rose's team record, set in 1969.
• Bruce collected his 42nd double to raise his NL-leading extra-base hit total to 73. That total ties Bruce with six other players for the 14th most in franchise history. The others with exactly 73: Babe Herman (1932), Vada Pinson ('63), Frank Robinson ('64), Lee May ('69), Johnny Bench ('74) and George Foster ('78).
Sweet sweep for Tribe
The Indians defeated the Astros, 9-2, to complete a four-game sweep and remain in the second American League Wild Card slot, a half-game behind the Rays (who also won their contest on Sunday).
With the victory, the Tribe completed its sixth four-game series sweep of the season. The Indians' game notes offer that Cleveland is the first team since the 1961 Yankees to have six in a season, and the first Tribe team to do this since the pennant-winning team in 1954.
The Indians allowed five runs in the four-game series, and they now own a 3.14 second-half ERA. That mark is the second lowest in the AL, behind the Royals' 2.91. The last second half to feature the Indians and a team ERA no higher than 3.14 was the one played in 1972, when the Tribe posted a 2.82 ERA.
For Royals, life quite grand
The Royals defeated the Rangers, 4-0, getting a game-ending grand slam in the bottom of the 10th for the club's 82nd victory of the season.
Going through the (incomplete) data available back to 1945, Maxwell is one of three players to hit a walk-off grand slam in extra innings to break a 0-0 tie. The other two:
• April 11, 1962: Carroll Hardy (Red Sox) in the 12th inning.
• Sept. 14, 1967: Don Buford (White Sox) in the 10th inning.
The 4-0 win gave the Royals their 12th team shutout and lowered the team's ERA in the second half to an AL-best 2.91. The 2.91 ERA in the second half would match the mark by the 1981 Royals for the lowest in the franchise's history. Overall, Kansas City owns a 3.44 team ERA -- the lowest mark in the AL. The last season to see the club finish with an ERA that low was 1978 (3.44).
Braves add division crown to collection ...
The Braves, who entered Sunday needing either a Nationals loss or a win of their own to clinch the NL East, got both and captured the franchise's 17th division title and 12th as a member of the NL East. Since joining the NL East in the 1994 season, Atlanta has the second-best winning percentage -- .576 -- in the Majors. The Braves took home division crowns in the NL West in 1969, '82 and '91-1993; in the NL East, 1995-2005 and '13.
... and so do the A's
The Athletics, who entered Sunday needing either a Rangers loss or a win of their own to clinch the AL West, got both and captured the franchise's 16th division title. The 16 are the third most division flags for any franchise, behind the Yankees' 18 (which includes 1981) and the Braves' 17. The list for the Athletics: 1971-75, '81, '88-90, '92, 2000, '02-03, '06 and '12-13.
Crisp 20-20 vision
In Oakland's win, Coco Crisp hit his 22nd home run and stole his 20th base of the season. Crisp is the 10th Athletics player with a 20-homer, 20-steal season. Reggie Jackson did it three times, Jose Canseco did it twice and the rest did it once. The other one-timers: Bert Campaneris, Sal Bando, Mitchell Page, Dwayne Murphy, Mike Davis, Rickey Henderson and Ruben Sierra.
At the age of 22 years and 136 days, Minnesota outfielder Oswaldo Arcia -- playing the Athletics -- put together an RBI-day never before experienced by a Twins 22-year-old. Arcia became the second-youngest player for the franchise since 1916 to have at least six RBIs, with only the Senators' Buddy Lewis younger. On April 28, 1938, Lewis was 21 years and 261 days old when he drove in six against the Athletics.
Desmond not short on steals (or homers)
In the second game of a doubleheader, Washington's Ian Desmond stole a pair of bases to reach and pass 20 for the season. Desmond is the fifth shortstop to produce back-to-back 20-homer, 20-steal seasons. He joins Hanley Ramirez (four straight), Alex Rodriguez (three), Alan Trammell (two) and Jimmy Rollins (two).
What a trip!
In the Brewers' 6-4 win over the Cardinals, Carlos Gomez collected his 10th triple of the season. Gomez's line this season also includes 27 doubles, 21 home runs and 37 stolen bases. In addition to the Brewers' All-Star, there have been only seven other center fielders to have a season of at least 20 doubles and homers, at least 10 triples and at least 30 steals. Willie Mays and Andy Van Slyke each did it twice, and Vada Pinson, Andre Dawson and Carlos Beltran each have claim to one such season.
Roger Schlueter is senior researcher for MLB Productions This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.