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Friday, June 1, 2012
Five Astounding Facts of the Week

Justin Smoak, Kyle Seager, Jesus Montero
The Mariners scored a week's worth of runs (21) Wednesday against the Rangers.

1 You've gotta love baseball. Going into the second inning Wednesday in exotic Arlington, Texas, the Mariners had scored eight runs or more in one of their previous 5,277 innings, dating back to Aug. 4, 2008. Then, in their insane 21-8 win over Texas, they did it two innings in a row!

2 Greatest pitching nuggets from that 21-8 game: A) Hisashi Iwakuma was awarded a save in a 13-run blowout, making it baseball's cheapest save since Dale Thayer "saved" a 15-2 win for the Rays on May 22, 2009. And B) in back-to-back innings, a different Rangers pitcher (Derek Holland, then Yoshinori Tateyama) gave up eight runs. The last team to have that happen, according to loyal reader/researcher Trent McCotter, was the 1894 Boston Beaneaters in a messy 27-11 loss to Pittsburgh. Henry Lampe gave up 12 runs in the third inning, and Tom Smith allowed nine more in the fourth.

3 What did R.A. Dickey just do that no other knuckleballer has done in the past three decades? Rip off two double-figure strikeout games in a row. The last flutterballer to do that was Phil Niekro on July 31 and Aug. 4, 1978.

Justin Verlander

Adam Dunn

4 Don't look now, but Adam Dunn and Justin Verlander head into June tied in strikeouts with 82 apiece. That inspired loyal reader Howard Elgart to wonder if any hitter has ever had more whiffs in a season than the pitcher who led that league in K's. Correct answer: Not a chance! The closest call came in 2010: Verlander 233, Mark Reynolds 211. But with Dunn on a 260-strikeout pace, anything is possible.

5 Poor Dale Sveum. Less than two months into his first full-time managing gig, he presided over a 12-game losing streak with the Cubbies. If we consider him a first-time manager (despite his three weeks finishing out the season in Milwaukee in 2008), it should make him feel better to know that three other first-timers in this millennium also managed their teams to losing streaks that long: Trey Hillman (12) with the 2008 Royals, Lee Mazzilli (12) with the 2004 Orioles and Alfredo "You Can Call Me Al" Pedrique (14) with the 2004 Diamondbacks.