Roger Schlueter

Stats of the Day: Bucs arms on historic pace

Liriano tosses seven scoreless innings for Pirates staff with sub-3.00 ERA

Stats of the Day: Bucs arms on historic pace

Here are four interesting items from around the big leagues Thursday:

Francisco Liriano kept the Tigers off the board for seven frames, and the Pirates completed a three-game sweep with an 8-4 victory in Detroit. As a team, Pittsburgh owns a historic 2.91 ERA. The club has entered the All-Star break with a sub-3.00 ERA only once: in 1968. That year, Ron Kline, Bob Veale and Co. compiled a 2.65 ERA.

• Bucs second baseman Neil Walker collected four hits and three RBIs in the win. Walker has put together back-to-back games with at least four hits and three RBIs. He is the first Pirates player since Willie Stargell in 1966 to hit those statistical markers in consecutive games .

Walker's four-hit day

• Making his first start since May 9, 2014, Jose Fernandez recorded the win (and hit his second career home run) in the Marlins' 5-4 victory over the Giants. With the win, Fernandez improved to 13-0 in 21 career starts at home. The only other pitcher since 1914 to begin his career undefeated in his first 21 home starts was Montreal's David Palmer. Fernandez owns a 1.23 ERA during his run -- exactly half of the 2.46 that Palmer compiled during his streak.

Statcast on Fernandez's debut

Corey Kluber fanned 14 as the Indians defeated the Rays, 5-4,in 10 innings. Kluber has four games with at least 14 strikeouts since the start of last season. No other pitcher has more than two (Chris Sale and Max Scherzer each have two). Kluber's four career games with at least 14 K's are the fourth most for any Indians pitcher since 1914, behind only Sam McDowell (14), Bob Feller (six) and Herb Score (five).

Kluber strikes out 14

Jason Kipnis had a pair of hits and scored two runs for the Indians. He has a slash line of .347/.420/.514 this year -- good for a 159 OPS+. In the integration era, three second basemen have qualified for the batting title and finished the year with an OPS+ of at least 160: Joe Morgan did it twice (in 1975 and '76), Bobby Grich did it in '81, and Jeff Kent turned the trick in 2000.

Kipnis' run-scoring single

Milestone watch for this weekend:

Francisco Rodriguez needs one save to tie Jeff Reardon (367) for eighth all-time. Jonathan Papelbon needs two saves to tie Rollie Fingers (341) for 12th on the all-time list, and Huston Street is two shy of becoming the 27th pitcher with 300 saves.

Roger Schlueter is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.