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MLB Notebook: Teen Harper has multihomer night

Babe Ruth doesn't hold quite as many records as he once did, but he is still the king when it comes to multihomer games. Ruth had 72 of those in his career, one more than Barry Bonds.

The first of the Babe's 72 came in 1919, the season in which George Herman Ruth established a new record for home runs in a season, with 29. On July 5 that year, with the Red Sox hosting the Athletics in the second game of a doubleheader at Fenway Park, Ruth -- playing left field and batting cleanup -- hit a two-run shot off of Jing Johnson in the bottom of the eighth to tie the game at 4-4. Then, with the Red Sox down, 8-5, in the bottom of the 10th, Ruth touched Johnson up for another home run -- this one a solo shot.

On that milestone day in Boston, Ruth was 24 years and 149 days old, or about 4 1/2 years older than Bryce Harper was for his first multihomer game Wednesday, when the Washington rookie went deep twice and drove in three runs in an 8-4 win over the Marlins.

1918-2012: Youngest to have multihomer games
Player Age (years.days) Date
Danny Murphy 19.035 Sept. 27, 1961
Mel Ott 19.077 May 18, 1928
Andruw Jones 19.121 Aug. 22, 1996
Mel Ott 19.187 Sept. 5, 1928
Ken Griffey Jr. 19.190 May 30, 1989
Ken Griffey Jr. 19.226 July 5, 1989
Brian McCall 19.248 Sept. 30, 1962
Tony Conigliaro 19.253 Sept. 16, 1964
Ed Kranepool 19.280 Aug. 14, 1964
Bryce Harper 19.318 Aug. 29, 2012
At 19 years and 318 days, Harper became the 10th-youngest player since 1918 to homer twice in a game, and his 14 home runs this season tie him with Phil Cavarretta for the fourth most for any teenager in history. Tony Conigliaro hit 24, followed by Mel Ott (19) and Ken Griffey Jr. (16).

The two homers Wednesday gave Harper 38 extra-base hits this season, tying him with Robin Yount (1975) for the sixth most for a player in his age-19 season or younger. Ott had 48 in '28 and Cavarretta had 48 in '35. Conigliaro follows with 47 in '64, Buddy Lewis had 40 in '36 and Griffey Jr. had 39 in '89.

Wandy Rodriguez (six innings, three hits) and three relievers combined for a five-hit shutout, and the Pirates defeated the Cardinals, 5-0. It was the second straight shutout for Pittsburgh, the first time it had done that since July 2011.

The Pirates last blanked the Cardinals in back-to-back contests in 1992. With the victory, Pittsburgh moved to within a game of St. Louis for the second National League Wild Card spot.

Bucs third baseman Pedro Alvarez homered, doubled and drove in three runs. In 15 games against St. Louis this season, Alvarez has gone 23-for-58 (.397) with four doubles, seven homers and 23 RBIs.

The Rays defeated the Rangers, 8-4, getting 4 1/3 combined innings of scoreless relief from Burke Badenhop, Jake McGee, Kyle Farnsworth, Joel Peralta and Fernando Rodney. Since the All-Star break, the Tampa Bay bullpen has allowed 17 earned runs in 126 1/3 innings for a 1.21 ERA.

With his one scoreless inning Wednesday, Rodney lowered his ERA to 0.75 for the year. With 39 saves, he is looking to join Dennis Eckersley (1990) as the only pitchers in history with 40 saves and an ERA below 1.00. In '90, Eckersley collected 48 saves and posted a 0.61 ERA.

Bruce Chen allowed four hits in eight scoreless innings and the Royals defeated the Tigers, 1-0. The 1-0 victory was the Royals' third of the season, their most since having four in 1986.

Kansas City ranks fourth in the American League with 11 team shutouts. Those 11 are the most for the franchise since it had 12 in 1992.

Chen collected his 10th win of the year, marking the third consecutive season he has reached double digits in victories. In his first 11 Major League seasons, Chen won 10 or more games only once, tallying 13 in 2005. Chen's 34 victories since the start of the '10 season represent 48.6 percent of his career total.

Here and there
• Cubs right-hander Jeff Samardzija struck out 10 with no walks in a 3-1 loss to the Brewers. It was the 85th time this season a pitcher had reached double-digit strikeouts while issuing no more than one walk. Since the 1998 expansion, those 85 are the third most in any one season. There were 91 such efforts in 2011 and 88 in 1998. Felix Hernandez and R.A. Dickey are tied for the most this season with five apiece. Last year, Cliff Lee and Clayton Kershaw shared top honors, with six each. In '98, Kevin Brown led the Majors with eight games of 10-plus K's and no more than one walk allowed. The most by any pitcher in a single season since 1998 is 13 by Curt Schilling in 2002.

• Batting second between Mike Trout and Albert Pujols, Torii Hunter went 3-for-4 with two RBIs in the Angels' 10-3 win over the Red Sox. Hunter, who owns a career .275/.333/.465 line, is at .336/.370/.467 in his 61 games hitting in the No. 2 slot.

• The Athletics defeated the Indians, 8-4. Coupled with the Rangers' loss to the Rays, Oakland moved to within 4 1/2 games of Texas in the AL West. Oakland has gone an AL-best 29-14 since the All-Star break.

Roger Schlueter is senior researcher for MLB Productions.
Read More: Babe Ruth, Fernando Rodney, Bryce Harper, Burke Badenhop, Kyle Farnsworth, Joel Peralta, Wandy Rodriguez, Jeff Samardzija, Pedro Alvarez, Jake McGee, Bruce Chen