Historic homers, massive comebacks among 10 wild stats from the week

August 18th, 2023

Here’s our weekly look at 10 mind-blowing notes from the last week in baseball (August 11-17).

What a moment: Jon Singleton homered on Friday for the first time in more than eight years. His gap between home runs (8 years, 13 days) was the longest since Jake Peavy (9 years, 52 days from 2006 to '15) and the longest by a position player since Rafael Belliard (10 years, 144 days from 1987 to '97), according to the Elias Sports Bureau. And then he hit another in that same game. Singleton went the longest in MLB history between homers among players to then hit two in the game in which they snapped the drought.

Quite the day: Newly-acquired Nicky Lopez tallied four hits, including a double and a homer, and had 5 RBIs in the Braves’ 21-3 win in Game 1 of a doubleheader Saturday. He finished the game by throwing a scoreless ninth inning. Lopez became the first player with at least four hits, five RBIs and a scoreless pitching outing in the same game since RBI became official in 1920.

Runs abound: With that 21-3 win in Game 1 and a 6-0 victory in the second game of that doubleheader, the Braves had a plus-24 run differential on the day. It was the third-highest run differential in a doubleheader in Braves franchise history, behind only a plus-32 on Aug. 21, 1894, against the Reds and a plus-26 on Sept. 3, 1896, against the Browns (now Cardinals).

Comeback season: In games that ended almost simultaneously on Sunday, the Marlins won despite trailing by four runs in the ninth, and the Nationals won despite trailing by five in the ninth as well. It was the first time since July 9, 2010, that two teams won when trailing by at least four runs in the ninth or later on the same day. That day, the Orioles trailed 6-2 in the ninth and won 7-6 in extras, and the Phillies were behind 7-1 in the ninth before winning 9-7 in extra innings.

Rookie catchers: On Sunday, Giants rookie catcher Patrick Bailey hit a walk-off home run. On April 25, Blake Sabol, also a rookie catcher for San Francisco, hit a walk-off home run as well. The Giants became the fourth team to get two walk-off home runs from rookie catchers in a season, joining the 2015 Tigers, 1952 Red Sox and 1923 Cubs. But each of those teams got both such walk-off homers from the same rookie catcher (James McCann in 2015, Sammy White in 1952 and Gabby Hartnett in 1923). That means the 2023 Giants are the only team with walk-off home runs from two different rookie catchers in a season in MLB history.

Another Acuña milestone: Ronald Acuña Jr. stole his 55th base of the season on Sunday, and he had already reached 25 home runs on the season. That gave him the eighth individual season in MLB history with at least 25 home runs and 55 stolen bases and the first since Rickey Henderson in 1990. As a reminder, no player has ever had 30 homers and 60 stolen bases, which Acuña is on the precipice of.

Speedy Elly: In the second game of a doubleheader on Sunday, Elly De La Cruz hit the 10th home run of his career. He entered the game with 17 stolen bases, becoming the second-fastest player by games to 10 career home runs and 15 career stolen bases since 1900. De La Cruz needed 58 games to reach those marks, one more than Barry Bonds, who got there in 57.

Feeling Witt-y: Bobby Witt Jr. hit an inside-the-park home run on Monday, and he got around the bases rather quickly. It took him just 14.3 seconds to go home-to-home, the fourth-fastest home-to-home time tracked by Statcast (since 2015). The only players with faster times are Byron Buxton (Aug. 18, 2017: 13.9 sec and Oct. 2, 2016: 14.1 sec) and Dee Strange-Gordon (June 30, 2015: 14.2 sec).

JULIOOO: Julio Rodríguez tallied back-to-back games with at least four hits on Wednesday and Thursday, marking the sixth such streak in Mariners history. He joins Strange-Gordon in 2018, Kendrys Morales in '13 and Ichiro Suzuki in '06 and twice in '04. Rodríguez's Thursday performance included five hits and his 20th home run of the season. He joined Witt, who he faced in the game, as the only players in MLB history with at least 20 home runs and 20 stolen bases in each of his first two career seasons.

And still unswept: Teams enter each series trying to win the series, but even just avoiding being swept is worth noting. To that end, the Orioles have now gone 78 straight series without being swept, entering the weekend. That’s the fourth-most consecutive series of multiple games without being swept, per Elias. They trail only the 1942-44 Cardinals (125), 1903-05 Giants (106) and 1922-24 Yankees (83).