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From Elias: Manny Machado's two-run homer in the Orioles' 5-3 win over the Royals was his third four-bagger over his first four major-league games. Since 1900, only 12 players have hit three or more homers through their first four games in the majors, but four of those players did it this season: Yoenis Cespedes, Will Middlebrooks, Yasmani Grandal and Machado.
PIERZYNSKI'S POWER STROKE
From Elias: A.J. Pierzynski's two-run homer in the sixth inning put the White Sox ahead for good and they went on to defeat the Athletics, 7-3. It was Pierzynski's seventh home run over his last 11 games, the most for any major-league player during that time (since July 30) and the most that Pierzynski has hit over any 11-game span of his career.
GALLARDO OWNS THE ASTROS
From Elias: Yovani Gallardo continued his mastery against Houston in the Brewers' 5-3 victory on Sunday. Gallardo has a 13-2 career mark against the Astros with wins in each of his last ten games against them, all as a starter. Gallardo is the first pitcher to win ten straight starts against Houston since Juan Marichal won ten in a row from 1964 to 1966.
PENCE IS A LATE-INNING HERO
From Elias: Hunter Pence capped a five-run eighth inning with a three-run, go-ahead homer off Rafael Betancourt to spark the Giants to a 9-6 win over the Rockies. It was the third go-ahead home run that Pence has hit in the eighth inning or later of games this season. He hit tenth-inning shots for the Phillies off Houston's Brett Myers on May 15 and off the Cardinals' Jason Motte on May 25. The only other major-leaguers with three or more go-ahead home runs so late in games this season are all in the American League: Adam Jones (four), Billy Butler (three), Miguel Cabrera (three) and Josh Willingham (three).
ENCARNACION MIMICS BAUTISTA
From Elias: Edwin Encarnacion hit his 30th home run of the season to help the Blue Jays defeat the Yankees. Encarnacion is two home runs off the pace of Josh Hamilton (32) for the major-league lead, after Toronto's Jose Bautista led the majors in homers in each of the past two seasons. Here's something for Encarnacion to shoot for. During the live-ball era, only three teams have had two different players lead the majors in home runs (tied or outright) in two consecutive seasons. Lou Gehrig and Joe DiMaggio did it for the Yankees (1936-1937), as did Mark McGwire and Jose Canseco for the Athletics (1987-1988) and the Giants' tandem of Barry Bonds and Matt Williams (1993-1994).
WALKER MAKES HIS MARK
From Elias: Neil Walker went 5-for-5 with a home run to lead the Pirates over the Padres on Sunday, after he went 5-for-5 with a homer against the Giants on July 8. Since 1900, no other Pirates player had a pair of such games in one season and only two players had two games of that kind for the Bucs in their careers: Hall of Famers Arky Vaughan (1933 and 1939) and Willie Stargell (1966 and 1968).
VARGAS TOPS WEAVER AGAIN
From Elias: The Mariners snapped Jered Weaver's nine-game winning streak as Jason Vargas allowed one run in 8¿ innings to defeat the Angels. Weaver is 33-10 over the last two seasons and Vargas is the only pitcher to beat Weaver more than once during that span (May 18, 2011 at Seattle and Sunday in Anaheim).
RAMIREZ IS FIRST SINCE RAMIREZ
From Elias: Hanley Ramirez knocked in three runs for the Dodgers in their 5-0 win at Miami. Ramirez has driven in 18 runs in 17 games since he was acquired by the Dodgers. Since 1920 (the first season that RBIs were officially tracked), five other players drove in 18 or more runs through their first 17 games for the Dodgers: Manny Ramirez (21 RBIs in 2008), George Shuba (20 in 1948), Jimmy Wynn (19 in 1974), Nomar Garciaparra (18 in 2006) and Del Bissonette (18 in 1928).
DARVISH BEATS TIGERS FOR THE THIRD TIME
From Elias: Yu Darvish surrendered six hits and five walks in 6¿ innings but he allowed only three runs and that was good enough to earn his third victory in as many starts against the Tigers this season. Darvish is the first rookie pitcher to defeat the Tigers three times in one season since 1999, when Seattle's Freddy Garcia and Toronto's Roy Halladay were both 3-0 versus Detroit.
ANOTHER GEM FOR CUETO
From Elias: Johnny Cueto tossed eight shutout innings in the Reds' 3-0 win at Wrigley Field. It was the sixth time this year that Cueto threw a scoreless start of six or more innings. The only major-league pitcher with more starts of that kind this season than Cueto is Jered Weaver (eight).
From Elias: The Rays scored four runs in the top of the tenth but they had to squirm in the process of holding that lead. Joe Maddon summoned Fernando Rodney from the bullpen to record the final out of Tampa Bay's 7-3 victory with the potential tying run on deck (making it a save situation). It was Rodney's third one-out save this season, tying him with Joel Hanrahan and Santiago Casilla for the most in the majors.
PHILLIES SHOWING SOME FIGHT
From Elias: Erik Kratz hit a three-run, game-tying home run in the eighth inning before Juan Pierre's infield single plated Jimmy Rollins in the bottom of the 11th to give the Phillies an 8-7 win over the Cardinals. The Phillies have won three games in which they trailed by three or more runs in the eighth inning or later this season (and all of those wins have come in the last three weeks). They're tied with the Tigers for the most such victories in the majors this season.
NATS FALL TO ROOKIE STARTER
From Elias: Patrick Corbin allowed two runs in seven innings to earn the victory in the Diamondbacks' triumph over the Nationals. Rookie pitchers are 3-11 in 20 starts against Washington this season. The only other rookie starters to beat the Nationals this year are Mike Fiers and Drew Pomeranz.
TWO STRIKEOUTS PER INNING
From Elias: Jon Lester got back into the win column, registering 12 strikeouts in six innings for the Red Sox in their 14-1 victory at Cleveland. It was the third time in franchise history that a Boston pitcher struck out at least a dozen batters in a game in which he pitched six or fewer innings, and it was the second such game for Lester, who fanned 12 in six innings at Toronto on May 31, 2009. The other Red Sox pitcher to do that was Pedro Martinez (13 strikeouts in six innings at Tampa Bay on April 19, 2001).