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Stat Speak: Melky continues KC's walk-off trend

Stat Speak: Melky continues KC's walk-off trend

Stat Speak: Melky continues KC's walk-off trend
In 1989, the Kansas City Royals began the season at home, hosting the Toronto Blue Jays. The Royals lost their opener, 4-3, with Jimmy Key and the lethal 1-2 punch at the back end of the Blue Jays' bullpen (Duane Ward and Tom Henke) pitching just a little better than Kansas City's Mark Gubicza and Tom Gordon.

After a day off, the Royals got into the win column with a 2-1 victory during which Pat Tabler drove in Danny Tartabull with the game-winning run in the bottom of the ninth. The third game of the series concluded with yet another one-run game, and yet another win in the final at-bat for the home team. That day, Willie Wilson scored the go-ahead run in the bottom of the eighth on an error by Ernie Whitt. But if those two victories were dramatic, Royals' fans hadn't seen anything yet.

Two days later, with the defending American League East champ Boston Red Sox in town, the visitors held an 8-5 lead going into the bottom of the ninth. After RBI singles by George Brett and Tartabull tied the score, Bob Boone ended the furious rally with a game-ending RBI single of his own. Then, for good measure, the next night Jim Eisenreich won the game for the Royals in the bottom of the 10th with yet another game-ending RBI single. Five games into the season, the Royals had played in five one-run contests and won four of them, with all four victories happening in their last at-bat.

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The 1989 Royals would conclude the season with 92 victories (including six more coming in walk-off fashion), a second-place finish in the AL West, and a first week of the season that would go unmatched in the AL until 2011.

• Punctuated by Melky Cabrera's game-ending RBI single, the Royals improved to 4-1 on the season with a 12-inning, 7-6 victory over the White Sox on Tuesday. Three of Kansas City's wins have been of the walk-off variety this year, with Cabrera's single following a pair of game-ending homers (by Kila Ka'aihue on April 1 and Matt Treanor on April 3). The Royals' other win also came in their last at-bat (on April 2). According to Elias, the last AL team to have its first four wins of the season all come in its final at-bat was the 1989 Royals.

Since 2005 - Most Walk-off Hits
Player Hits
David Ortiz 11
Andre Ethier 11
Ryan Zimmerman 10
Carlos Lee 9
Adam Dunn 8
Matt Holliday 8
Kurt Suzuki 8
Melky Cabrera 8
• Cabrera's game-ending single was the eighth walk-off hit for the seventh-year outfielder. Since Cabrera's first season in 2005, those eight game-enders are tied for the fifth-most in the Majors.

• The Yankees' Mark Teixeira hit his fourth home run of the season Tuesday in New York's 5-4 loss to the Twins. Teixeira, who didn't hit his fourth home run in 2010 until the Yankees' 29th game of the season on May 8, is the first player in franchise history to homer in four of the team's first five games.

• In his first start with the Mets, Chris Young earned the win Tuesday with 5 1/3 innings of one-run ball, and also collected three hits (including two in the third inning). Young is the 25th Mets' pitcher to have three hits in a game, and the first to do it since Tom Glavine on Aug. 11, 2005.

• Mets slugger David Wright went 4-for-5 with two RBIs and tied a career high with the four hits. It is the 15th time in his career Wright has had four hits in a game -- the second-most in franchise history, and four behind his current teammate, Jose Reyes.

Mets Franchise - Most Games with Four-plus Hits
Player Games
Jose Reyes 19
David Wright 15
Mookie Wilson 12
Kevin McReynolds 12
Edgardo Alfonzo 12
Mike Piazza 11
Tommie Agee 10
Keith Hernandez 10
• The Reds defeated the Astros, 8-2, on Tuesday to improve to 4-0 for the season -- the franchise's best start since 1990, when they began 9-0, went wire-to-wire, and won the World Series. The franchise has won its first four games 10 other times: 1883, 1887, 1897, 1912, 1919, 1970, 1976, 1978, 1980, 1987.

• The Rangers defeated the Mariners on Tuesday, 3-2. Texas is 5-0 -- the club's best start to a season since beginning the 1996 campaign with seven straight wins.

• Alexi Ogando (six innings, two hits, four strikeouts) earned the win Tuesday in his first Major League start. Ogando made 44 appearances in relief with Texas in 2010, posting a 1.30 ERA in 41.2 innings.

• Yovani Gallardo threw a two-hit shutout Tuesday as the Brewers defeated the Braves, 1-0. Gallardo is the first Milwaukee pitcher to toss a shutout on two hits or fewer since CC Sabathia had a one-hitter for the Brewers on Aug. 31, 2008. The shutout is the third of Gallardo's career. The 1-0 victory is the first for the Brewers since May 25, 2009, which Gallardo also started.

• Gallardo is the first pitcher to toss a shutout on two hits or fewer this early in the season (within a team's first five games) since Felix Hernandez on April 11, 2007. Gallardo also scored the Brewers' only run. He is the first pitcher since Pete Harnisch on June 25, 1991 to throw a shutout and also score his team's only run.

• For the second straight start, Clayton Kershaw struck out eight and walked just one on Tuesday. Kershaw is the first pitcher since 2008 to have at least eight K's and no more than one walk in each of his first two starts of the season. Both Shaun Marcum and Johnny Cueto did it in 2008. The most recent time a pitcher opened his season with three straight games of eight-plus strikeouts and one or zero walks was Roger Clemens in '05.

• In his first start of the season, Jhoulys Chacin (7 innings, five hits, four strikeouts) outdueled Kershaw and got the win in the Rockies' 3-0 victory over the Dodgers on Tuesday. Last year, Chacin finished the year with a solid September, putting up a 1.78 ERA in six starts.

Roger Schlueter is a senior researcher for MLB Productions. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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