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MLB Notebook: Cueto making bid for NL Cy Young

When the 1939 Cincinnati Reds won their first pennant in two decades, right-handed pitcher Bucky Walters was the star of the show. Walters, who made his Major League debut as a second baseman in '31, won the National League Most Valuable Player Award in '39 after becoming the first pitcher to win that league's Triple Crown in 15 years.

The following year, Walters enjoyed quite an encore. While failing to lead in strikeouts, he still did top the Senior Circuit in more than a half-dozen categories, including wins (22) and ERA (2.48). The Reds have since had pitchers lead the league in each of the two categories, but no Cincinnati pitcher since Walters in 1940 has led the NL in both wins and ERA in the same season. Johnny Cueto could change that in 2012.

Cueto (seven innings, two runs) became the first pitcher to reach 17 wins, as the Reds defeated the D-backs, 5-2, on Tuesday. Cueto also leads the NL in ERA, at 2.48.

For the 19th time this season, Cueto finished a start with no home runs allowed. Those 19 tie him with Felix Hernandez for the second most in the Majors, behind the 20 by Gio Gonzalez.

Among all qualifying NL pitchers, Cueto's homers allowed per nine innings this season (0.446) is the lowest. Since the start of the 2010 season, Cueto's homer rate stands at 0.62 -- the fifth lowest in the NL among all pitchers with at least 400 innings. The Marlins' Josh Johnson leads with a rate of 0.47 and is followed by Jaime Garcia (0.55), Chad Billingsley (0.56) and Clayton Kershaw (0.61).

Cueto has made 14 starts this season in which he has finished with at least seven innings pitched and no more than two runs allowed. Those 14 are tied for the second most in the Majors. Hernandez leads with 19, and Cueto is tied with Justin Verlander, David Price and R.A. Dickey.

Cueto is looking to become the first Reds pitcher to have a 20-win season since Danny Jackson in 1988. Cincinnati hasn't had a right-hander win 20 games in a season since '65, when Sammy Ellis won 22 and Jim Maloney won 20.

The Angels defeated the Red Sox, 6-5, getting a home run to begin the game from Mike Trout and a sac fly from Torii Hunter to end it.

Most home runs in age-20 season or younger
Player HR Year Age-Season
Mel Ott 42 1929 20
Frank Robinson 38 1956 20
Alex Rodriguez 36 1996 20
Tony Conigliaro 32 1965 20
Ted Williams 31 1939 20
Al Kaline 27 1955 20
Eddie Mathews 25 1952 20
Orlando Cepeda 25 1958 20
Mike Trout 25 2012 20
Trout's home run gave him 25 for the season, making him the ninth player in history to hit at least 25 in his age-20 (or younger) season.

Kris Medlen worked eight scoreless innings and improved to 6-1, as the Braves blanked the Padres, 2-0.

Medlen's scoreless streak was extended to 28 1/3 innings. In six starts since entering the rotation on July 31, Medlen has gone 5-0 with a 0.66 ERA in 40 2/3 innings.

The Braves have now won 17 consecutive games started by Medlen. The most recent time they lost a Medlen start was on May 23, 2010. The winning streak, which is the longest in franchise history, is the longest in the Majors since the 2005 Cardinals captured victories in 17 consecutive starts by Chris Carpenter (info on franchise record and Cardinals streak via Braves' press notes).

Atlanta's Dan Uggla collected his 1,000th career hit, quite appropriately, on a home run. Uggla has 206 career home runs, by far the most for any second baseman through his first seven seasons. Alfonso Soriano, with 162, had the second most.

The Rangers defeated the Rays, 1-0, behind Yu Darvish's seven shutout innings and Ian Kinsler's fourth-inning home run.

Darvish improved to 13-9 for the season, and with his 10 strikeouts, he brought his season total up to 182, good for fourth in the American League. Darvish has a Major League-leading eight games with double-digit strikeouts this season. His eight through his first 24 games are the third most for any pitcher since 1918. Dwight Gooden and Hideo Nomo each had 10.

Tuesday's 1-0 win was the third of the season for the Rangers at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. The most recent time they had so many 1-0 wins at home was in 1990, when Texas had four while playing at Arlington Stadium.

The Rays' 1-0 loss was the fourth of the season for the club -- the most for any team in the Majors. All four have occurred in August. Before the Rays, the most recent team to suffer so many 1-0 losses in a single calendar month was the 1969 Astros, who also lost four in August.

Milwaukee's Yovani Gallardo allowed one run and three hits in seven innings vs. the Cubs to pick up his sixth win in as many starts and improve to 14-8.

This is the second consecutive season in which Gallardo has won six straight starts. No other Brewers pitcher has done it since Manny Parra in 2008. During his current winning streak, Gallardo has thrown 42 2/3 innings, allowed 29 hits and nine runs (1.90 ERA), and he has fanned 44 while walking 13.

In each of the starts during the current streak, Gallardo has gone at least seven innings. He is the first Brewers pitcher since Cal Eldred in 1992 to have a streak of at least six straight winning starts of at least seven innings. Eldred's streak lasted seven games.

Johnny Cueto, Yu Darvish, Yovani Gallardo, Ian Kinsler, Kris Medlen, Mike Trout, Dan Uggla