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MLB Notebook: Thome is king of walk-off homers

MLB Notebook: Thome is king of walk-off homers

Jim Thome's career OPS+ currently stands at 147, which is tied for 40th all-time with one active player (Ryan Braun), one retired player still on the outside looking in when it comes to the Hall of Fame (Edgar Martinez), and four sluggers who have been honored with a plaque in Cooperstown: Sam Thompson, Willie McCovey, Willie Stargell and Mike Schmidt.

The latter three still reside in the record books and imaginations as some of the most prodigious and exceptional home run hitters the game has ever seen.

McCovey, who had six of his 521 career home runs result in walk-off wins, finished his career in 1980 tied for eighth on the all-time home run list. Stargell, who also had six game-ending home runs, concluded his career in '82 tied for 14th on the all-time homer list, with 475. And Schmidt, who had 10 career homers end games for his Phillies, was seventh on the all-time list when he played his final season in '89, standing tall with 548 home runs.

Exceptional homer-hitting resumes for all, adding to the luster of the fact that Thome -- at least in terms of sheer volume in career home runs and walk-off home runs -- eclipsed them all.

Most Career walk-off homers
Player Walk-off HR
Jim Thome 13
Babe Ruth 12
Jimmie Foxx 12
Stan Musial 12
Mickey Mantle 12
Frank Robinson 12
The Phillies defeated the Rays, 7-6, on Saturday on Thome's pinch-hit, game-ending home run. It was the first career pinch-hit walk-off homer for Thome, whose 13 game-ending shots are the most in baseball history.

With the home run, Thome also tied Sammy Sosa for seventh on the all-time list with 609.

In the Cardinals' 8-2 win over the Royals, Matt Holliday went 4-for-5 with a double, two runs and two RBIs.

Holliday is playing in his ninth Major League season. Among all ninth-year players in history, Holliday's 565 extra-base hits place him 33rd, his 1,428 hits have him at 81st, his 323 doubles are tied with Bob Meusel's total for 13th, his 815 RBIs tie him with Stan Musial for 64th, his .926 OPS is tied for 57th, and his 137 OPS+ is tied with Willie Keeler, Chick Hafey, Minnie Minoso, Ken Singleton, Dave Parker, Fred Lynn, David Wright and Adrian Gonzalez for 121st.

Behind Andrew McCutchen's three-run home run, Brad Lincoln's six innings of two-hit, one-run ball, and the bullpen's three innings of two-hit ball, the Pirates defeated the Tigers, 4-1.

McCutchen's OPS+ stands at 174 for the season, third in the Majors behind Joey Votto's 199 and Wright's 184.

Saturday's win marked the 29th time this season that the Bucs' pitching staff had held the opposition to two runs or fewer. Those 29 are tied for the second most in the Majors, and they represent the most for a Pirates team through 70 games since the 1984 club had 31.

Pittsburgh's bullpen leads the National League in save percentage and inherited score percentage, is second in the league in ERA and owns the fourth-lowest WHIP.

The Reds' Johnny Cueto improved to 9-3 with seven innings of shutout ball vs. the Twins, struck out nine, walked one and lowered his ERA to 2.21 for the season.

Cueto's work marked the eighth time this season he'd gone at least seven innings and allowed no more than one run. Those eight tie him with Felix Hernandez for the second most in the Majors, behind the nine from R.A. Dickey.

Cueto has posted three straight games with at least seven strikeouts and no more than one walk. He is the fourth Reds pitcher in the live-ball era to have at least three consecutive games of this kind. Mario Soto ran off five in a row in 1982, Jose Rijo had three straight in '92, and Aaron Harang also had three in a row in 2007.

Cueto's ERA since the start of the 2011 season stands at 2.27 -- the lowest in the Majors for any pitcher with at least 200 innings.

King Felix
Hernandez struck out 10 with one walk and allowed one run over seven innings to improve to 5-5 in the Mariners' 5-1 win over the Padres.

Seattle's right-hander has 18 career double-digit strikeout games and 1,365 career K's. That total is currently the eighth-highest for any pitcher since 1893 through his age-26 season. Hernandez is 26 strikeouts behind Christy Mathewson for seventh.

In his second career appearance, Astros left-hander Dallas Keuchel threw a six-hitter for his first career win. Keuchel was the first Astros pitcher to toss a complete game in his first or second career appearance since Randy Niemann threw an eight-hitter in his second game on May 29, 1979.

Keuchel is the first pitcher in the Majors to do it since Boston's Clay Buchholz threw a no-hitter in his second career game on Sept. 1, 2007, and the first left-hander to do it since the Tigers' Andy Van Hekken threw an eight-hit shutout in his Major League debut on Sept. 3, 2002.

Red Sox
Boston got doubles from Will Middlebrooks (3-for-4, two RBIs), Dustin Pedroia (3-for-4, two RBIs), Mike Aviles (2-for-4, run) and Cody Ross (two doubles in four at-bats) in an 8-4 victory over the Braves.

The Red Sox, with 177 doubles through 71 games, are ahead of the pace set by the 2008 Rangers, who had 162 through 71 games on their way to a Major League record 376 for the season.

In their 10-5 loss to the D-backs, the Cubs' top two hitters -- David DeJesus and Starlin Castro -- each collected four hits and both failed to score a run.

This marked the 18th time since 1918 a team has had two players (regardless of batting position) compile at least four hits and score zero runs in a game. The Cubs are responsible for three of those instances, with the first coming in '21 and the second taking place in '82.

Since 1918, no team has had three players do this in a game.

Roger Schlueter is senior researcher for MLB Productions.
Read More: Starlin Castro, Brad Lincoln, Johnny Cueto, Dallas Keuchel, Andrew McCutchen, Jim Thome, Mike Aviles, David DeJesus, Cody Ross, Felix Hernandez, Dustin Pedroia, Matt Holliday, Will Middlebrooks