ST. LOUIS, July 12, 1941 -- Two weeks ago, St. Louis Browns pitcher Elden Auker came the closest of any American League pitcher to stopping Joe DiMaggio's amazing hitting streak.
On Saturday at Sportsman's Park, Auker had another chance to stifle the streak that has captivated baseball and all of America. Or maybe he never had a chance at all.
• Joe DiMaggio's run to 56: Rewriting the record
DiMaggio doubled off Auker in a five-run fourth inning to extend his astonishing Major League-record streak to 51 games, and the Yankees had done enough to effectively seal a 7 to 5 victory over hapless St. Louis.
DiMaggio has put a week's worth of games with at least one base hit between his ever-widening mark and that of previous record-holder Wee Willie Keeler, who hit in 44 straight games in 1897. DiMaggio has had a hit in every ballgame that he has played since May 15, and the Yanks, who have won 12 games in a row to assume a commanding five-game lead over Cleveland in the AL standings, have not lost since June 27.
The 12 victories in succession matches the best winning streak by the Yankees since the 1939 club and is the longest in Major League Baseball this season. The Yanks have also won 16 of their past 17 and 26 of their past 30, and they have won 10 consecutive ballgames against these Browns.
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As for DiMaggio, he wasn't finished for the day after the two-bagger in the fourth. He also singled to center field in the fifth inning to raise his season's batting average to .365 and up his AL-leading RBI total to 74.
In other words, the great center fielder and his Yankees ballclub had a lot to be happy about as they packed their bags for their next trip to Chicago.
On May 15, 1941, Joe DiMaggio began his legendary 56-game hitting streak. In celebration of the 75th anniversary of that seemingly unbreakable record, we'll be doing a day-by-day account of the momentous feat.
Doug Miller is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @DougMillerMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.