Stats of the Day: Kazmir's shrinking ERA
Southpaw tosses scoreless 7 2/3-inning gem, allows just three hits
Five interesting items from around the big leagues on Thursday …
• In the Astros' 3-0 win over the Angels, Scott Kazmir allowed three hits in 7 2/3 innings. The southpaw has five games this season in which he has finished with at least seven innings, no runs and no more than three hits allowed. Those five are the most for an American League pitcher since Pedro Martinez had six in 2002, and are the most for an AL southpaw since Ron Guidry had five in 1978. Kazmir lowered his ERA to 2.10. The five lowest ERAs by AL left-handers since they had to start contending with a designated hitter (since 1973): Guidry, 1.74 in 1978; Dave Righetti, 2.05 in 1981; Chris Sale, 2.17 in 2014; Jon Matlack, 2.27 in 1978; and Randy Johnson, 2.28 in 1997. Kazmir lowered his ERA in July to 0.26 (one earned run in 34 innings). No pitcher since 1914 has finished a July with at least five starts and an ERA this low. The existing low mark is Carl Hubbell's 0.39 in 1933.
• In the Nationals' 1-0 win over the Marlins, Max Scherzer picked up the win and did so while allowing three hits and three walks over seven innings. The right-hander's WHIP now stands at 0.833 (second best in the National League, after Zack Greinke's 0.831). There have been only seven qualifying pitchers since 1893 to finish a season with a WHIP below 0.840, with five of the seven doing so before the live-ball era. The two since 1920 are Greg Maddux in 1995 (0.811) and Pedro Martinez in 2000 (0.737).
• Ryan Zimmerman's second-inning round-tripper made him the 14th player in Expos/Nationals history to homer in a 1-0 win. Zimmerman has done this twice, with his other decisive home run coming on April 2, 2008, against the Phillies. He is the only Expos/Nats player to do this more than once.
• In the Reds' 15-5 win over the Pirates, Brandon Phillips homered twice and singled twice, stole a pair of bases and drove in seven runs. With the line, he became the third Reds second baseman since 1914 to have a seven-RBI game, joining Alex Kampouris (eight RBIs on May 9, 1937) and Joe Morgan (seven on Aug. 19, 1974). Phillips is also the 15th player since 1914 to have a multihomer, multisteal game. Of these 15, his seven RBIs tie for the most, with Gary Sheffield having seven as a member of the Marlins on Sept. 18, 1995. The others to do this (two homers, two steals) at second base: Don Kolloway (1941) and Morgan (April 15, 1973).
• In the Yankees' 7-6 loss to the Rangers, Mark Teixeira homered twice. With his 40th career multihomer game, Teixeira tied Chipper Jones for the second most by a switch-hitter. Mickey Mantle had 46.
Milestone watch for Friday
• Carlos Gonzalez needs one home run to tie Vinny Castilla (12 in 1998) for the most for a Rockies player in a July.
• David Ortiz needs four RBIs to tie Mike Schmidt and George Brett (1,595) for 35th on the all-time list. Brett's 1,595 also represent the 16th most in AL history.