Here are three interesting items from around the big leagues on Thursday …
• Clayton Kershaw issued a first-inning walk on Thursday to ensure that he would not post a fourth straight outing with at least 10 strikeouts and no walks; it was about the only disappointing element to his latest masterwork: a three-hit shutout featuring 13 strikeouts. With the 13 strikeouts, Kershaw became the first Dodgers pitcher to post five straight starts with double-digits in K's. Fellow southpaw Sandy Koufax had done four straight on five occasions, and Hideo Nomo did four straight once. Kershaw's line on Thursday marked the fifth time in 252 games the southpaw punched out at least 13 in a shutout. Dating back to 1913, only Nolan Ryan had more (seven) through 252 games, with Kershaw and his five tying Koufax's output.
• In the Tigers' 7-5 loss to the Orioles, switch-hitter Victor Martinez singled three times to raise his average to .362. With a lifetime average of .303, Martinez is currently one of five switch-hitters to have at least 5,000 plate appearances and a mark at or above .300. Frankie Frisch hit .316, Pete Rose and Chipper Jones owned lifetime marks of .303 and Roberto Alomar hit .300 on the nose. Rather famously, Mickey Mantle finished at .298. Then again, Mantle owns the highest OPS and OPS+ among this group, by rather comfortable margins.
• With a double and a sac fly, David Ortiz played a smallish role in the latest Red Sox offensive eruption -- one that offered 14 hits in an 11-1 win over the Astros. The tallies of runs and hits in this win represented the fewest of both over the team's past four games. Still, this Red Sox club is the first since the 1930 Athletics to have four straight of at least 11 runs and 14 hits. All four of the games during this run have come at home. In their 19 home games this season, the Red Sox are averaging 6.8 runs per contest; they are at 4.9 on the road. In the Fenway Park era, the most runs scored at home by any Red Sox team came in 1950, when the club averaged 8.1 runs to tally 625. Ortiz -- who is now one double shy of becoming the 15th player ever with 600 -- has 15 two-base hits this season. The high mark for any player in an age-40 or older season belongs to Sam Rice, who totaled 35 for the Senators in 1930.
Roger Schlueter is a statistical researcher and writes for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.