MLB Notebook: Braun chasing extra-base hit history
Since 1901, 13 players in the National League can make the claim of having led the league in extra-base hits in consecutive seasons. The group includes 10 Hall of Famers (Honus Wagner, Rogers Hornsby, Chuck Klein, Ducky Medwick, Johnny Mize, Stan Musial, Duke Snider, Ernie Banks, Mike Schmidt and Andre Dawson), the all-time home run king (Barry Bonds), the man who has more extra-base hits through his first 12 seasons than any other player in history (Albert Pujols) and a man who is tied for the fourth-most home run titles (Gavvy Cravath). In other words, this is a pretty illustrious group of ballplayers.
Ryan Braun has a chance to add his name to the list in 2012, unless perhaps his teammate Aramis Ramirez -- a man who has some impressive career accomplishments on his own resume -- manages to outpace Braun the rest of the way.
In the Brewers' 9-7 win over the Pirates, Ramirez went 3-for-5 with his 46th double and 25th home run, and drove in three runs to raise his total for the season to 95 RBIs.
With the double and homer, Ramirez tied Braun for the NL lead in extra-base hits with 73. No Brewers teammates have ever finished first and second in this category.
Among players with at least two-thirds of their career games at third, Ramirez's 780 extra-base hits are the eighth most in history. Ramirez is one of four active players of these eight, with Chipper Jones at the top (1,053), Scott Rolen in fourth (874) and Adrian Beltre in sixth (834).
Rounding out the top eight is Schmidt in second (1,015), Eddie Mathews in third (938), Gary Gaetti in fifth (842) and Brooks Robinson in seventh (818).
Cabrera singled once in four at-bats in the Tigers' loss to the Athletics, leaving his Triple Crown numbers at .333/41/130. Cabrera leads Mike Trout by nine points in the batting race, is ahead of Josh Hamilton by seven RBIs for the league lead in that category and trails Hamilton by one in home runs.
In the Cardinals' 5-4 win over the Astros, Craig doubled and homered and drove in three runs. Craig, who is two plate appearances shy of having enough to qualify for the batting title, owns an extra-base hit percentage of 11.88 (55 extra-base hits in 463 plate appearances). For all players in the Majors with at least 450 plate appearances, that percentage is topped by only Giancarlo Stanton (13.47), Ramirez (12.46), Miguel Cabrera (12.23), Jay Bruce (12.16), Hamilton (11.99) and Pujols (11.99).
Cueto threw six shutout innings and picked up his 18th win as the Reds defeated the Cubs, 5-3. Cueto is the first Reds pitcher since Pete Schourek in 1995 to record at least 18 victories, and the first Reds right-hander to reach the mark since Mario Soto in '84.
Detwiler allowed one run and three hits in six innings, and picked up his 10th win as the Nationals defeated the Dodgers, 4-1. Detwiler is the fourth Nationals starter to reach double digits in victories, joining Gio Gonzalez (19), Stephen Strasburg (15) and Jordan Zimmermann (11). The last time the Nationals/Expos franchise had four starters all reach at least 10 wins was in 2002 (Tony Armas Jr., Bartolo Colon, Tomo Ohka and Javier Vazquez).
San Francisco Giants
At AT&T Park, the Giants defeated the Rockies, 9-2, thanks in large part to a pair of home runs from Pablo Sandoval and one long ball from Buster Posey.
Sandoval homered from both sides of the plate -- the first Giants player to do so since Randy Winn on Aug. 30, 2008. After enduring a 43-game homerless streak, Sandoval has hit homers in back-to-back games.
Posey's home run -- his 23rd of the season -- came as part of a two-hit day that lifted his slash line to .335/.410/.547, and moved his OPS+ to 172. That value would match the second highest for a qualifying catcher since 1876, following Mike Piazza's 185 OPS+ in 1997 and equaling Piazza's 172 OPS+ in '95.
In 67 games since the start of July, Posey is batting .376 with an on-base mark of .456 and a slugging percentage of .624, and has 35 extra-base hits (13 home runs) while driving in 55 runs.
McCutchen went 1-for-5 as his average dipped to .339, but hit his 30th home run of the year. In the 50 previous seasons before 2012, only one center fielder -- Fred Lynn in 1979 (.333, 39) -- has finished a season with at least 30 homers and a .330 or better batting average.
New York Yankees
Derek Jeter singled twice and drove in two runs, while Ichiro Suzuki homered, doubled and drove in three runs.
Jeter's multihit game gave him 968 for his career, the fourth most since 1918 (he had been tied with Paul Molitor). With the two hits, Jeter tied Sam Rice ('28) for the fifth most hits (202) in history for a player in his age-38 or older season.
Ichiro's multihit game was the 793rd of his career, moving him to within five of tying Lou Gehrig for the 33rd most since 1918. Since joining the Yankees, Suzuki is hitting .321 and has an extra-base hit percentage of 8.5. His career extra-base hit percentage is 5.6.
The Yankees' Phil Hughes and the Cubs' Jason Berken both struck out four batters in an inning, becoming the 64th and 65th pitchers to do so. In 2012, they join Bud Norris (April 24), Ryan Cook (April 27), Francisco Liriano (June 5) and Steve Delabar (Aug. 13) as pitchers to accomplish this once-rare feat (between 1885-89, it happened 21 times). This is the first time it has happened twice on the same day.
The Phillies defeated the Mets, 16-1, setting a season high for runs and hits (21).
Juan Pierre went 5-for-6, compiling his fifth career five-hit game. That ties Alfonso Soriano and Alex Rodriguez for the third most among active players (who played at least one game in 2012). Ichiro and Johnny Damon each have seven.
Rookies with 200-plus strikeouts since 1893
Jimmy Rollins singled twice, scored three times and also drove in three runs. In 18 September games, Rollins owns a .338/.412/.662 line, and has seven homers and 15 RBIs.
The Phillies collected only two extra-base hits in the outburst -- a double by Chase Utley and a home run from Ryan Howard. The last time the club scored at least 16 runs while collecting no more than two extra-base hits was on May 20, 1951, when it beat the Pirates, 17-0, and had a homer and a double to go along with 18 singles.
Darvish allowed one run in eight innings while striking out nine, and improved to 16-9 as the Rangers defeated the Angels, 3-1. Darvish has 214 strikeouts, the ninth most since 1893 for a rookie pitcher.