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MLB Notebook: Bautista having incredible month

MLB Notebook: Bautista having incredible month
At the close of July in 1937, the American League leaders in home runs featured a quartet of fairly fantastic names. The Yankees Joe DiMaggio had 30, giving him a lead of four over Boston's Jimmie Foxx and seven over Detroit's Hank Greenberg and Cleveland's Hal Trosky. Rudy York -- a 23-year-old right-handed hitting third baseman for the Tigers -- was nowhere to be found.

The new month changed that in a hurry. On August 4, now starting at catcher, York homered. Over the next 27 days, he would play 28 games (starting 27 as Detroit's catcher) and would collect an astonishing 17 more home runs. At the close of play on August 31, 1937, the American League home run leaderboard still saw DiMaggio leading, still had Foxx in second, and still had Greenberg in the mix. But now Lou Gehrig (who had clouted 11 homers in August) was in third place, and York -- after setting a league record with 18 home runs in the month -- was tied with Greenberg for fourth.

Three-quarters of a century later, Rudy York's August in 1937 still stands boldly in the record books. It remains the AL mark for the most home runs hit in any single month of play.

Most HR in June: 1983-2012
Player Year(s) HRs in June
Sammy Sosa 1998 20
Pedro Guerrero 1985 15
Jim Thome 2004 15
Ryne Sandberg 1990 14
Mark McGwire 1996 14
Ken Griffey Jr. 1998 14
Jim Edmonds 2003 14
Albert Pujols 2009 14
Jose Bautista 2012 14
Jose Bautista
Bautista hit his Major League leading 26th home run of the season, and 14th of the month. The 14 in June are the most ever for any Blue Jays player in any single month. Before this performance, the high had been 12, accomplished four previous times: by Carlos Delgado (August 1999), Jose Cruz, Jr. (August 2001), and Bautista (May 2010 and August 2010). Bautista is one of nine players in the past 30 seasons to hit at least 14 home runs in June.

A.J. Burnett
The Pirates defeated the Phillies 5-4, giving A.J. Burnett (6 2/3 IP, six hits, three runs) his ninth win of the year, and eighth win in as many starts. The eight-game streak ties Burnett with six others for the fourth longest string of consecutive wins in starts for a Pirates pitcher since 1920.

Rip Sewell had 11 in a row in 1943, Dock Ellis won 10 straight starts in 1971, and Steve Blass captured victories in nine consecutive starts in 1968. The others at eight in a row: Wilbur Cooper (1921), Emil Yde (1925), Burleigh Grimes (1929), Heinie Meine (1931), Vern Law (1965) and Ellis (1974).

Albert Pujols
Pujols collected two doubles and two singles for his first four-hit game since September 20, 2011. Since 2001, Pujols has 159 games with at least two extra-base hits -- the most in the Majors. David Ortiz owns the second most games since then, with 144. Since 1920, Barry Bonds owns the most, with 246.

Craig Kimbrel
Chris Young hit a solo home run off of Kimbrel in the top of the ninth and the Diamondbacks defeated the Braves 3-2. Young's homer represents the first run allowed by Kimbrel since May 4. During his run of scoreless outings, Kimbrel pitched 17 innings and allowed three hits -- all singles.

Austin Jackson (triple, three singles) and Miguel Cabrera (double, homer, two singles) each contributed four hits and the Tigers defeated the Rays 5-2.

Jackson entered the 2012 season with the following career marks in 304 games: a 26.1 strikeout percentage, a 7.7 walk percentage, and a 6.8 extra-base hit percentage. This season -- in 54 games -- his percentages in these three categories have all improved. He owns a 20.6 strikeout percentage, a 12.3 walk percentage, and a 10.7 extra-base hit percentage.

Cabrera has 675 career extra-base hits -- the 12th most in history for any player through his age-29 season. He is two behind Andruw Jones for 11th and six behind Mickey Mantle for 10th.

Felix Hernandez
Hernandez tossed a five-hitter and struck out 13 Red Sox, and the Mariners got a walkoff single in the bottom of the ninth for a 1-0 victory.

Hernandez's 13 strikeouts are the most in a shutout for a Mariners pitcher since Randy Johnson had 15 punch-outs in a five-hitter on July 11, 1998. Johnson had five such games with the Mariners. Before Hernandez, the Big Unit had been the only pitcher in franchise history with at least 13 K's in a shutout.

Hernandez is the first pitcher since Ted Lilly in 2004 to face the Red Sox and finish with a shutout and at least 13 K's. On August 23 that year, Lilly threw a three-hitter and fanned 13 in a 3-0 Blue Jays win.

Hernandez, who now has 19 career games with 10-or-more strikeouts, fanned 10 in his previous outing. He is the first Mariners pitcher since Freddy Garcia in 1999 to have back-to-back double-digit strikeout games.

Madison Bumgarner
Bumgarner threw a one-hit shutout, giving San Francisco its fourth consecutive team shutout.

The Giants are the first team since the 1995 Orioles to produce four consecutive shutouts. Over the last five games of that '95 season, Baltimore pitching accounted for 45 innings and allowed only 17 hits in shutting out the Blue Jays twice and the Tigers three times. Four of the five shutouts were complete games. Before this run the Giants had never before produced four consecutive teams shutouts.

Bumgarner walked two and struck out eight, giving him a game score of 91 -- a career high. With Matt Cain already having scores of 96 and 101 this year, this is the first time since 1976 the club has had three scores of at least 90 in a season. That year, John Montefusco had two and Ed Halicki had one. The Giants and the Mets each have three of these games this season.

At 22 years and 322 days, Bumgarner is the youngest southpaw to have a game score of at least 91 since Scott Kazmir (22 years 160 days) threw a two-hit shutout with 10 K's for a score of 91 on July 3, 2006.

This was the third time this season a Giants starter has gone the distance and allowed no more than one hit, following Cain's one-hit shutout on April 13 and his perfect game on June 13. Like the Giants, the Mets also have three (a pair of one-hitters by R.A. Dickey and the no-hitter from Johan Santana). The last full season to see a pair of clubs each have at least three of these games was in 1993, when the Reds and Astros each had three.

Derek Jeter
Jeter collected his 3,184th hit to tie Cal Ripken, Jr. According to Elias' hit totals, Jeter and Ripken are tied for 13th, with Nap Lajoie in 12th place, with 3,252. Jeter -- despite hitting .267 since the start of May -- is still holding onto a tie for the AL lead in hits. Since 1901, two players -- Pete Rose in 1981 and Paul Molitor in 1996 -- have led their league in hits in their age-38 (or older) season.

Roger Schlueter is senior researcher for MLB Productions.

Jose Bautista, Madison Bumgarner, A.J. Burnett, Miguel Cabrera, Felix Hernandez, Austin Jackson, Derek Jeter, Craig Kimbrel, Albert Pujols, Rudy York