Donaldson, Bautista go deep in sweep; Pirates continue to roll at home
By Roger Schlueter
Special to MLB.com |
Here are five interesting items from around the big leagues over the weekend ...
• On Sunday, the Blue Jays defeated the Yankees, 2-0, behind solo homers from Josh Donaldson and Jose Bautista and a combined three-hitter begun by Marco Estrada, helping Toronto produce consecutive shutouts against the Yanks in the same series for the first time in franchise history.
In each of the three wins, the Jays popped two home runs, with Donaldson and Bautista also each going yard in Game 1. Donaldson has 31 long balls for the season, leaving him 10 shy of the franchise's high mark for a third baseman (Tony Batista, 2000). Bautista, with 26 homers, 78 RBIs and 71 walks, has a chance to produce his fourth career 30/100/100 season. There are seven right-handed hitters in history who had at least four (although none of them had exactly four): Frank Thomas (eight), Jimmie Foxx (seven), Harmon Killebrew (six), Jeff Bagwell (six), Ralph Kiner (five), Mike Schmidt (five) and Mark McGwire (five). Estrada, meanwhile, is limiting hitters to a .213 batting average. There are three qualifying Toronto pitchers to finish a season with a lower opponent batting average: Roger Clemens in 1998 (.198), Juan Guzman in '92 (.207) and Dave Stieb in '88 (.210).
• On Sunday, the Pirates used a nine-run seventh inning to vault to a 13-6 win over the Dodgers that completed a three-game sweep. In the series, Andrew McCutchen went 5-for-12 with five runs scored, six RBIs, two doubles and a home run. The series leaves him with a .301/.398/.513 slash line as he flirts with a fourth straight .300/.400/.500 season. The last center fielder to produce four straight was Mickey Mantle (1961-64).
With the sweep, the Bucs, who own the third-best winning percentage in the Majors, improved to 39-18 (.684) at home. In the modern era, there have been three Pittsburgh teams to finish a season with a better home winning percentage: the 1902 pennant winners (.789), the 1909 pennant winners (.727) and the 1977 club (.716). That .789 mark in 1902 is the second-best home winning percentage for any National League team since 1901, eclipsed only by the .790 mark from the 1975 Reds.
• Behind Jake Arrieta's 7 2/3 innings of four-hit ball, the Cubs blanked the Giants, 2-0, on Sunday. The win gave Chicago its first four-game series sweep of San Francisco at Wrigley Field since June 9-12, 1977, while capping its 14th team shutout of the year. In the live-ball era, only in the 1969 season have the Cubs recorded more shutouts through their first 110 games (18). Arrieta's WHIP for the season, meanwhile, stands at 0.991. In 2014, he produced a 0.989 mark in 25 starts. The last Cubs pitcher to have back-to-back campaigns with at least 25 starts and a sub-1.00 WHIP was Mordecai "Three Finger" Brown, who produced four straight from 1906-09.
• In the Tigers' loss to the Red Sox on Friday, J.D. Martinez reached the 30-homer plateau for the first time in his career, and in doing so, he became the third right fielder for Detroit to reach the mark. In 1960, Rocky Colavito cracked 35 long balls, and 32 years later, Rob Deer hit 32.
• On Friday, Minnesota's Torii Hunter gave his team a late lead (and eventual win) when he hit his 18th home run. Hunter is playing in his age-39 season, and thus, he can now claim the fifth-most home runs in a season for a player that old (or older) who logged at least 67 percent of his total games in right field. The four players ahead of Hunter: Cy Williams (30 in 1927), Dave Winfield (28 in '91), Babe Ruth (22 in '34) and Moises Alou (22 in 2006). Hunter's night -- which also included a steal -- made him the third-oldest player for the Senators/Twins since 1914 to have a steal and a homer in a game. The only players older: Sam Rice in 1932 and Paul Molitor in '97.
Milestones watch for Monday
• Jimmy Rollins is two doubles shy of 500. Rollins will be the fifth switch-hitter to reach the milestone, joining Pete Rose, Eddie Murray, Chipper Jones and Roberto Alomar.
• With a double, triple or home run on Monday, Nelson Cruz would tie Ken Griffey Jr. (1993) for the Mariners' record for most consecutive games with an extra-base hit (10).
Roger Schlueter is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.