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MLB Notebook: Carpenter sparks Cardinals' offense

Leadoff man pacing National League in runs, hits, doubles and multihit games

On June 13, 1918, the Cardinals and Phillies played 19 innings, with the combatants ultimately settling for a tie. The inability to come to an earlier conclusion did, however, give Cards leadoff hitter Cliff Heathcote plenty of opportunities to come to bat. And in a total of nine official trips to the plate, Heathcote managed to collect a single, a double, a triple and a home run, giving him the cycle.

Since that performance, a few other Cardinals leadoff hitters -- Pepper Martin in 1933, Lou Brock in '75, Ray Lankford in '91 and Mark Grudzielanek in 2005 -- have joined Heathcote in the cycling club. Current Redbirds leadoff hitter Matt Carpenter came up just shy of joining this group on Thursday, but he can take plenty of solace in the fact that he's putting up numbers in that top spot that few leadoff hitters in Cards history could match.

The Cardinals outlasted the Pirates, 6-5, in 12 innings. The game ended when Carpenter -- who had reached via a one-out walk -- scored on Matt Holliday's single. For the game, Carpenter fell a home run shy of the cycle, reached safely five times and scored a pair of runs.

Carpenter has an .875 OPS in 446 plate appearances in the leadoff spot. For Cards leadoff hitters since 1916 (minimum 400 plate appearances in the slot), three players have finished a season with a higher OPS. In '25, Ray Blades posted a .940 OPS from the leadoff spot, Taylor Douthit compiled an .888 mark in '29, and in '93, Bernard Gilkey had an .876 OPS when hitting leadoff.

The game marked the seventh time this season Carpenter, while batting leadoff, had a game with at least two extra-base hits. Since 1916, the most such games for a Cardinals leadoff hitter is 11, a mark shared by Blades ('25), Lou Brock ('67) and Garry Templeton ('79).

Carpenter leads the National League in multihit games (48) and doubles (40). The last season in which a Cardinals player paced the NL in multihit games was 2005, when David Eckstein and Albert Pujols shared the lead with the Marlins' Miguel Cabrera. No Cards player has led the league in doubles since Pujols had 51 in '03.

Myers is a run-producing machine
In the Rays' 7-1 win over the Mariners, Wil Myers (3-for-4, two doubles and a single) produced the 10th multi-RBI game (he drove in four) of his 47-game career. Myers has had a trio of four-RBI games and seven two-RBI performances as part of a resume that has seen him drive in a total of 37 runs.

Myers is the 25th player since 1916 to have at least three games with four or more RBIs through his first 47 contests. All but one in this group had exactly three games, with Gabe Alvarez standing above the pack, with four. Myers' three are the most for any Rays player.

Myers is the 67th player since 1916 to have at least 10 multi-RBI games through his first 47 games played. A pair of Boston players -- Red Sox first baseman Walt Dropo and Braves outfielder Wally Berger -- lead the way, with 15 apiece. Myers' 10 are the most for any Rays player.

Votto piling up free passes
In addition to hitting a go-ahead home run that proved to be the difference in the Reds' 2-1 victory over the Brewers, Joey Votto also drew his 90th walk of the year. It's the fourth consecutive season Votto has collected at least 90 free passes.

Votto is the third player in Reds history to have at least four consecutive 90-walk seasons, following Joe Morgan, who had six straight from 1972-77, and Adam Dunn, whose four straight came from 2004-07.

Now in his seventh Major League season, Votto owns a career slash line of .317/.418/.547 in 3,606 plate appearances. Only 22 players (not counting Votto) have owned a .300/.400/.500 slash line in at least 3,000 plate appearances through their first seven seasons. If the bar is set at Votto's current marks, the group is condensed to seven. Ted Williams had the most impressive slash line of the group at .354/.488/.640.

Trout does it all
Mike Trout extended his on-base streak to 37 games with a double, walk and hit-by-pitch in the Angels' 8-4 win over the Yankees. He also scored a run and stole a base.

The on-base streak is the second longest in Angels history, behind Orlando Cabrera's 63-game run in 2006. Cabrera's streak was the longest in the Majors since Williams set the Major League record by reaching safely in 84 straight games in 1949.

Trout now has 138 career extra-base hits and 80 career steals. One other player in history has had this combination by the end of his age-21 season: Cesar Cedeno, who had 157 extra-base hits and 92 stolen bases.

Thursday's game marked the 21st time in his career Trout had an extra-base hit and a steal in the same game. Since 1916, only one player has had more such games at Trout's age for Thursday's contest (22 years, eight days): Cedeno had 28.

Wheeler rolling with elite company
Right-hander Zack Wheeler produced his first career double-digit strikeout game, fanning 12 Padres and issuing one walk in six innings in the Mets' 4-1 win over the Padres. Wheeler was the fourth Mets pitcher to have a 12-strikeout game this early -- 11 games -- in his career.

Notes for the other three:

• Dick Selma, in his second career game on Sept. 12, 1965, struck out 13 and walked one in a 10-inning, four-hit shutout.

• Nolan Ryan, in his eighth career game on May 14, 1968, fanned 14 and walked two in a four-hitter.

• On May 25, 1984, Dwight Gooden struck out 14 and walked three in an eight-inning, three-hit performance in his ninth big league game.

Here and there
• Seattle's Raul Ibanez hit his 25th home run (and first since July 12), moving to within one homer of tying Barry Bonds (26 in 2006) for the third most in history for any player in his age-41 or older season.

• Facing Nationals right-hander Rafael Soriano, pinch-hitter Hector Sanchez hit a three-run home run in the top of the ninth to give the Giants a 4-3 lead and an eventual win. Since the Giants moved to San Francisco, this was the third time they'd gotten a go-ahead home run from a pinch-hitter in the ninth inning (or later) when down by at least two runs.

Roger Schlueter is senior researcher for MLB Productions.

Matt Carpenter, Raul Ibanez, Wil Myers, Hector Sanchez, Mike Trout, Joey Votto, Zack Wheeler