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MLB Notebook: Chapman pitches for strikeouts

When Eric Gagne completed his remarkable 2003 season -- one in which he was a perfect 55-for-55 in save opportunities, held the opposition to a .374 OPS against, posted a 1.20 ERA and won the National League Cy Young Award -- he finished his year averaging 3.70 strikeouts (he had 137) for every hit allowed (37).

No reliever with at least 50 innings has ever finished a season with a higher ratio. Aroldis Chapman is (statistically) sneering at Gagne's balance sheet, as the Reds left-hander currently owns a ratio of 4.24 (106 strikeouts and 25 hits). And if that relationship looks improbable, consider that in his past 22 appearances, Chapman has collected five strikeouts for every hit allowed.

The Reds blanked the Cubs, 3-0, with Johnny Cueto (eight innings, three hits) and Chapman (one hit, one strikeout) combining on the four-hit shutout.

22+ Consecutive App. With No Runs in 2012
Pitcher Games Innings Hits K's Walks
Ernesto Frieri 27 27 1/3 9 45 17
Mitchell Boggs 23 20 1/3 16 12 3
Huston Street 22 21 1/3 3 27 3
Lucas Luetge 22 15 7 12 10
Aroldis Chapman 22 21 2/3 9 45 3
Chapman extended his streak of scoreless appearances to 22, covering 21 2/3 innings. In this stretch, Chapman has allowed nine hits, a .326 OPS against and has struck out 45, while only walking three. Chapman is the fifth pitcher this season to have a scoreless streak of at least 22 appearances.

Cueto tied R.A. Dickey, David Price and Jered Weaver for the Major League lead in wins, with 15, and lowered his ERA to 2.45 -- third lowest in the NL. The game marked the fifth time this season Cueto has finished with at least seven shutout innings -- those five tie him with Dickey, Weaver, Felix Hernandez, Hiroki Kuroda and Zack Greinke for the most in the Majors.

Carl Crawford
Crawford collected three of Boston's seven doubles, helping the Red Sox to a 14-1 victory over the Indians. The seven gave Boston 264 doubles through 116 games.

The 2008 Rangers, who own the Major League record with 376 doubles in a season, had 262 through 116 games. Crawford is the fourth Red Sox player to have at least three doubles in a game, joining Daniel Nava, Dustin Pedroia and Adrian Gonzalez. The other 29 teams have been responsible for a total of 10 players with a three-double game.

Jon Lester
Lester struck out 12 Indians and picked up his sixth win of the season. Lester owns 1,023 career strikeouts, leaving him 20 behind Bruce Hurst for the most in Red Sox history for a left-hander.

With his total, Lester is tied with Jon Matlack for the 18th-most strikeouts for any left-hander through his first seven seasons since 1893.

Edwin Encarnacion
Encarnacion hit his 30th home run of the season on Sunday, as the Blue Jays defeated the Yankees, 10-7.

Encarnacion -- third in the American League in the home run race -- is the 19th Blue Jays player to hit 30 homers in a season. Those 19 since 1977 (Toronto's first year) are more than any other franchise can claim.

Manny Machado
Baltimore defeated Kansas City, 5-3, and Machado hit his third home run.

With the homer, Machado became the third player this season -- joining Yoenis Cespedes and Will Middlebrooks -- to have at least one extra-base hit in each of his first four career games.

Entering the 2012 season, only two players had done this in the live-ball era -- Enos Slaughter in 1938 and Coco Laboy in '69.

Neil Walker
Walker went 5-for-5 with three singles, a double, a home run and a walk on Sunday.

Before Walker, no Pirates player had put together a game with at least five hits and a walk since Andrew McCutchen in 2010. Before McCutchen, it hadn't happened for Pittsburgh since Dave Parker did it in 1979. Before Parker, Roberto Clemente in 1968 had been the last to do it.

Walker also collected five hits on July 8 this season. He is the 10th Pirates player in the live-ball era to have a pair of five-hit games in a season. The others are Carson Bigbee (1922), Kiki Cuyler ('24), Paul Waner ('26), Pie Traynor ('28, '30), Dick Groat ('60), Roberto Clemente ('61, '70) and Brian Giles (2000). Walker is the only second baseman among the 10.

Walker now has three games with five hits in his Pirates career. That's the most for a second baseman for the franchise in the live-ball era.

Chris Sale
Sale struck out 11 with no walks, while picking up his 14th win of the season.

The White Sox left-hander, who also had 15 K's on May 28 and 11 K's on April 20, joins Javier Vazquez in 2006 as the only White Sox pitchers since 1918 to have at least three games with 11 or more K's in a season. Sale also became the first White Sox southpaw since Wilson Alvarez on July 26, 1996, to have at least 11 K's and no walks in a game.

Sale upped his strikeout rate to 8.57 per nine. The highest strikeout rate for White Sox lefty who finished the year with enough innings to qualify for the ERA title is Juan Pizarro, with a rate of 8.69 in 1961.

A.J. Pierzynski
Pierzynski hit his 23rd home run of the season and is now tied with Carlton Fisk in 1987 for the third-most home runs ever by a catcher in his age-35 season or older.

Most HR's by catcher in age-35 season or older
Player Year Age HR's
Carlton Fisk 1985 37 37
Carlton Fisk 1983 35 26
Carlton Fisk 1987 39 23
A.J. Pierzynski 2012 35 23

With Fisk also owning the top two spots, White Sox catchers are responsible for the four highest totals by "old" catchers.

Evan Longoria
The Rays defeated the Twins, 7-3, improving to 6-0 since Longoria returned from missing 85 games.

Tampa Bay is 21-8 when Longoria appears in a game this season. In the 85 games Longoria missed, the club went 41-44.

Jason Vargas
Vargas allowed one run in 8 1/3 innings and the Mariners beat the Angels, 4-1.

In his past eight starts, Vargas is 6-1 with a 1.79 ERA. In 60 1/3 innings, Vargas has allowed 12 earned runs, five home runs, 47 hits, 14 walks and has struck out 33. Entering this stretch, Vargas had allowed 21 home runs in 109 innings.

Jesus Montero
Montero homered twice against Jered Weaver on Sunday.

Montero became the first right-handed batter to homer twice off of Weaver in a game.

David Wright
In the Mets' 6-5 win over the Braves, David Wright collected a pair of doubles to give him 316 for his career, and drove in a run to reach 800 RBIs.

For all third basemen through their age-29 season, Wright's 316 doubles are second most (to Adrian Beltre's 321) and his 800 RBIs are fifth most, behind totals from Eddie Mathews, Ron Santo, Beltre and Scott Rolen.

Aroldis Chapman, Carl Crawford, Johnny Cueto, Edwin Encarnacion, Jon Lester, Evan Longoria, Manny Machado, Jesus Montero, A.J. Pierzynski, Chris Sale, Jason Vargas, Neil Walker, David Wright