Special to ESPN.com
PADRES STEAL ONE FROM DODGERS
From Elias: The Padres literally stole one from the Dodgers on Saturday night, and if you haven't seen how, check out the video highlights online. San Diego trailed, 6-5, with two out in the top of the ninth, pinch-runner Everth Cabrera on third and Will Venable on second. With a 2-2 count on Alexi Amarista and Dodgers pitcher Kenley Jansen considering how to finish him off, Cabrera dashed for home and made it safely as Jansen threw the ball past catcher A.J. Ellis. Before Ellis could get the ball back to Jansen covering the plate, Venable had come around with the go-ahead (and what proved to be the winning) run in the Padres' 7-6 victory.
It's the first time in nearly 30 years that a major-league team has won a regular-season game in which either the tying or go-ahead run scored on a steal of home in the ninth inning or later. Back on Aug. 22, 1982, Cardinals catcher Glenn Brummer dashed home in the 12th inning, beating the pitch from Giants pitcher Gary Lavelle, to give St. Louis a 5-4 win and sending San Francisco manager Frank Robinson into a fury from which he may not yet have emerged.
DEMPSTER: FIVE STARTS, FIVE WINS, NO RUNS
From Elias: Ryan Dempster, whose trade value continues to grow with each start he makes, pitched six scoreless innings in his victory over the Diamondbacks at Wrigley Field on Saturday. Dempster has won his last five starts, pitching a total of 33 innings without giving up a run in those five games. He's the sixth pitcher in modern major-league history (i.e., since 1900) to win five consecutive starts in one season and not allow a run in any of those games. The other pitchers to do that were Doc White (1904 White Sox), Don Drysdale (six straight starts for the 1968 Dodgers), Bob Gibson (1968 Cardinals), Orel Hershiser (1988 Dodgers) and Brandon Webb (2007 Diamondbacks).
HERNANDEZ'S GEM: MUCH RARER THAN A NO-HITTER
From Elias: Felix Hernandez tossed a gem and took over the major-league lead in strikeouts, leading the Mariners to a 7-0 triumph over Yu Darvish and the Rangers. Hernandez allowed three hits, walked none and struck out 12; it was the first time in his major-league career that he had a shutout victory in which he allowed no walks and as few as three hits while striking out at least a dozen batters. In fact, there have been only 35 other games of that sort pitched in the majors since 1900 -- meaning that such games have been more than six times as rare as no-hitters!
The only other major-leaguers to throw Hernandez-style games over the past 10 seasons: Matt Cain, in his perfect game against the Astros on June 13 of this year; Chris Capuano for the Mets against the Braves last August 26 in the game that started Atlanta's 10-20 season-ending slide; Erik Bedard for the Orioles against the Rangers in 2007, and Randy Johnson in his perfect game for the Diamondbacks against the Braves in 2004.
McCUTCHEN MAKES PIRATES HISTORY
From Elias: Andrew McCutchen's two-run home run wiped out an early Brewers lead and the Pirates went on to win in Milwaukee, 6-4. McCutchen is now batting .447 with 10 home runs and 30 RBIs over his last 28 games, becoming the first major-leaguer with such high numbers in each of the Triple Crown categories over a 28-game span since Lance Berkman went .451-11-30 over 28 games with the Astros early in the 2008 season. In addition, McCutchen is the first Pirates player to achieve each of those levels over a stretch of 28 games since the major leagues began recording RBIs back in 1920!
SANCHEZ LEARNS THAT BASEBALL IS A GAME OF REDEEMING FEATURES
From Elias: Hector Sanchez's fourth hit of the night drove in Pablo Sandoval with the winning run in the 12th inning as the Giants rebounded from a blundering ninth inning to defeat the Astros, 3-2. Sanchez's RBI was his second of the game, lifting to 63 the total of RBIs by Giants catchers this season, a total that leads the majors. (Buster Posey has 40 RBIs as a catcher this season, and Sanchez now has 23.)
In the top of the ninth, with the Giants leading, 2-1, two out and Justin Maxwell on second, Santiago Casilla struck out Chris Snyder but Sanchez failed to hold the third strike. Snyder was safe at first as Casilla threw wide of the base, and Maxwell beat first baseman Brandon Belt's throw to the plate to score the equalizer. It has been nine years since the last major-league game in which a team either tied the score or took a lead following a strikeout that, had the third strike been caught by the catcher, would have ended the game. The last such case came in an Orioles-Twins game on July 31, 2003: leading, 9-8, with two out and two on in the last of the ninth, Baltimore's Jorge Julio struck out the Twins' Michael Restovich, but Restovich reached base and the tying run scored on an error by catcher Brook Fordyce. Minnesota then won, 10-9, in the 10th inning.
YANKEES MATCH A TEAM RECORD
From Elias: The Yankees' 5-3 win over the Angels marked the 38th consecutive game in which Joe Girardi's crew has scored at least three runs. That ties a single-season Yankees franchise record set by Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig and Co. in 1933. Since that 38-game streak by the 1933 Yankees, only two other major-league teams have scored three runs or more in each of at least 38 straight games in one season: the 1994 Indians (48 games) and 1996 Mariners (39).
RUIZ LOVES THE EARLY INNINGS
From Elias: Carlos Ruiz's three-run home run in the first inning gave the Phillies an early lead and they held on to defeat the Rockies, 8-5, in Denver. Ruiz is batting .462 this season in the first and second innings (30 hits in 65 at-bats), the highest first-two-innings batting average in the major leagues (minimum: 40 at-bats over the first two innings).
KIMBREL IS UNTOUCHABLE ONCE AGAIN
From Elias: The Braves scored three runs in the bottom of the eighth inning to take an 8-7 lead over the Mets and then brought in closer Craig Kimbrel, who recorded his major league-high 27th save by striking out all three batters he faced. It was the eighth time in the last two seasons that Kimbrel notched a save by pitching to at least three batters and striking out each one. (He did that four times last season and four times so far in 2012.) The only other pitcher with more than two such saves since the beginning of the 2011 season is Cleveland's Chris Perez with three (one in 2011, two in 2012).
REDS WIN ON LUDWICK'S WALKOFF HOMER
From Elias: Ryan Ludwick hit a solo home run in the bottom of the 10th inning to earn the Reds a 3-2 win against the Cardinals on Saturday. It was the fifth walkoff homer of Ludwick's big-league career and his first for Cincinnati. He hit three game-ending blasts for St. Louis (one in 2007, two in 2008) and one with San Diego (in 2011). Over the last six seasons the only major-league players with more game-ending home runs than Ludwick are Andre Ethier, Brandon Inge and Ryan Zimmerman; each has six.
TEAGARDEN WALKOFF HR IN 1ST GAME WITH ORIOLES
From Elias: Taylor Teagarden, playing his first game for the Orioles, hit a two-run home run in the 13th inning that gave Baltimore an 8-6 victory over the Tigers at Camden Yards. He's the first player in franchise history to hit a walkoff homer in his first game with the club. Before Saturday, no one had done that in his first game for any major-league team since April 4, 2005, when Joe Randa did it in his debut with the Reds.
ENCARNACION'S FIRST MULTI-HOMER GAME OF 2012
From Elias: Edwin Encarnacion hit his 24th and 25th home runs of the season to lead the Blue Jays to an 11-9 win against the Indians. Encarnacion entered play on Saturday with the most home runs in the majors this season among players without a multi-homer game in 2012. That distinction now belongs to the Marlins' Giancarlo Stanton (19 home runs).
BUEHRLE'S 4TH WIN IN LAST 4 STARTS: A CLONE OF THE PREVIOUS 3
From Elias: Mark Buehrle earned his fourth win in his last four starts in the Marlins' 2-1 victory over the Nationals. Buehrle limited Washington to one run over seven innings while striking out seven -- strikingly similar numbers to those he compiled in his last three starts (victories over Toronto, Philadelphia and Milwaukee). Buehrle is the second major-league pitcher this season, and the first pitcher in the Marlins' 19-year history, to string together four straight starts in which he was the winning pitcher, went at least seven innings, allowed no more than two runs and had at least one strikeout per inning. (The Mets' R.A. Dickey had six consecutive starts of that stripe from May 22 to June 18.)
BASES-LOADED WALK LEADS TO RED SOX LOSS TO RAYS
From Elias: The Rays scored twice in the seventh and once in the eighth to overcome a 3-2 Red Sox lead and take a 5-3 decision in St. Petersburg. The tying run scored when relief pitcher Matt Albers walked pinch-hitter Jose Lobaton with the bases full. It was the tenth time this season that a Boston pitcher has walked in a run, the highest such total for any American League team; and it brought to 43 the total of bases-loaded walks issued by the Red Sox over the past two and one-half seasons, the highest total in the majors over that span.
ATHLETICS HIT 4 HOMERS AT TARGET FIELD
From Elias: Chris Carter, Yoenis Cespedes, Seth Smith and Brandon Moss all homered as the Athletics routed the Twins, 9-3, in Minneapolis. Don't look now, but the Athletics have turned into the second coming of the Bash Brothers: they have connected for at least one home run in 19 of their last 20 games, the first time they have accomplished such a thing since early in the 2004 season.
By the way, Target Field opened in 2010, but the Twins did not hit as many as four home runs in a game there until July 1 of this year, in their 204th game there.
ESCOBAR'S 2 HRs OFF PEAVY PRODUCE A FIRST FOR ROYALS
From Elias: Alcides Escobar, who entered the game with only two home runs in 305 at-bats this season, connected for a pair of go-ahead home runs off Jake Peavy, paving the way for the Royals' 6-3 victory over the White Sox. Believe it or not, it was the first game in the Royals' 44-year history in which one of their players had hit a pair of home runs off the same pitcher, with one of the homers providing the game-winning RBI (by putting the Royals ahead to stay).