MLB Notebook: Back-to-back-to-back Halos
Trout, Pujols and Ibanez combine for distinct power play in first inning of win
Leading off the bottom of the first for the Angels on July 26, 2001, David Eckstein made Tampa Bay's Ryan Rupe work, extending that first plate appearance to six pitches before drawing a walk on the seventh offering. Over the next five pitches, things went from bad to worse for the right-hander. Batting second in the lineup, Halos third baseman Troy Glaus jumped on the first pitch he saw and hit his 25th home run of the year. After Glaus, Darin Erstad proved to be just a little more patient, waiting until the third pitch of his at-bat to homer. And then, Garret Anderson -- who would finish the 2001 season tying for the fewest pitches per plate appearance in the American League -- saw enough in the first pitch of his matchup against Rupe, and like his two predecessors, he homered. The barrage marked the sixth time in franchise history three consecutive Angels players homered, but this performance was the first of the six to come in the first inning. It would take more than a decade for this first-inning back-to-back-to-back power feat to be replicated by the Halos.
In the first inning of the Angels' 14-2 win over the Mets, Mike Trout, Albert Pujols and Raul Ibanez homered in succession. Before this record-tying feat (for the franchise), there had been nine times when three straight Halos players homered, with the most recent occurrence taking place on July 27, 2009; in the bottom of the second inning of an eventual 8-6 loss to the Indians, Juan Rivera, Kendrys Morales and Mike Napoli homered against Carl Pavano.
Ibanez's home run was his third of the year and 51st since starting his age-40 season in 2012. Those 51 are the fourth most in history for a player in his age-40 through age-42 seasons.
Most HR in age-40 to age-42 seasons
Trout's home run raised his career tally to 66. Those 66 tie him with Hank Aaron for the 23rd most for any player in history through his age-22 season. Twenty-five more this year would tie Trout with Ted Williams and Bob Horner for the seventh most.
Pujols' home run was the 495th of his career, hit at the age of 34 years and 87 days. Players to hit their 500th home run before their 35th birthday:
• Alex Rodriguez: 32 years, eight days
• Jimmie Foxx: 32 years, 338 days
• Willie Mays: 34 years, 130 days
• Sammy Sosa: 34 years, 143 days
• Aaron: 34 years, 160 days
• Babe Ruth: 34 years, 186 days
• Ken Griffey, Jr.: 34 years, 212 days
Nine so fine for Crew
Milwaukee defeated Pittsburgh, 4-1, to extend the team's winning streak to nine games and improve to a Major League-best 10-2.
The nine-game winning streak ties this team with the 2013 Brewers (nine straight wins in April) and the 1997 Brewers (nine straight victories in July-August) for the second longest for the franchise in the past 20 seasons. The 2003 team won 10 in a row in August.
In this win, Kyle Lohse allowed one run with four hits and no walks with nine strikeouts in 8 2/3 innings. Milwaukee now owns a Major League-best 1.80 ERA. The lowest ERA ever for the franchise in a March/April is the 1976 team's 2.27, which was achieved in 107 innings. The 2014 team has thrown 110 innings.
With an RBI in this 4-1 win, Brewers leadoff hitter Carlos Gomez (who leads the National League in total bases) has driven in at least one run in five straight games and has at least one RBI in eight of Milwaukee's 12 games. Since 1914, Gomez is one of 10 players to have at least one RBI while batting from the leadoff spot in at least eight of his team's first 12 games. The players to accomplish that in nine of the first 12 games are Lou Brock (1967) and Matt Lawton (2002); the players who join Gomez in eight of the first 12 are Billy Urbanski (1934), Rip Radcliff ('35), Eddie Joost ('48), Kal Daniels ('87), Deion Sanders ('94), Ray Durham (2000) and Carl Crawford ('05).
Here and there
• San Francisco's Tim Hudson finished his start on Sunday with 7 1/3 innings and no walks; he is the ninth pitcher since 1914 to open his year with three (or more) consecutive outings of at least seven innings and no walks. In 1923, Cubs righty Pete Alexander began with six in a row, and in 1944, the Yankees' Tiny Bonham had four in a row. The rest of the pitchers -- aside from Hudson -- who had three: Bert Gallia (1915), Babe Adams (1920), Red Lucas ('33), Rick Reed (2001), Mike Mussina ('01) and Cliff Lee ('10).
• Toronto southpaw Mark Buehrle allowed a run in seven innings, and improved to 3-0 on the season. He is the third Blue Jays starter to begin his year with wins in each of his first three outings and to also not allow any more than one run in any of the three. Buehrle -- who owns a 0.86 ERA in 21 innings -- joins Jeff Musselman in 1988 (0.87 ERA, 20 2/3 innings) and Roger Clemens in 1997 (0.42 ERA, 21 2/3 innings).
• Philadelphia's Chase Utley fell a triple shy of the cycle, helping his club to a 4-3 win over Miami. Utley is slashing a cool .500/.565/.875/1.440 through the team's first 12 games (he's missed two of them). No Phillies player since 1914 has put together a full March/April with at least 75 plate appearances and an OPS of at least 1.300, with Von Hayes' 1.281 in 1989 the top figure. Utley already owns the second-highest mark, with a 1.195 in 2008.
• For the second time in their three-game series against the Astros, the Rangers came away with a 1-0 win. Before this three-game set at Globe Life Park in Arlington, the Rangers had played 1,598 regular-season games at the ballpark (it opened in 1994), and they had claimed just eight 1-0 victories.
• Oakland blanked Seattle with a 3-0 win as Scott Kazmir hurled six innings of two-hit ball with nine strikeouts and no walks. Kazmir's outing marked the second time this season he has finished a start with at least six innings and no runs or walks allowed. He's the only pitcher in the Majors with multiple efforts under these qualifications. The last pitcher to have two such performances this early into the season (by number of team games -- in this case, 12): the Giants' Bill Swift in 1994.
• In the Dodgers' 8-6 win over the D-backs, first baseman Adrian Gonzalez homered for the fourth straight game, leaving him one game shy of his personal best and one game shy of the Dodgers' record. Gonzalez's five-game streak with at least one home run came in 2009 as a member of the Padres. In 1950, Roy Campanella set the Dodgers' franchise record with homers in five straight games, a feat later matched by Shawn Green in 2001 and Matt Kemp in '10.