When Al Leiter held the Colorado Rockies hitless for nine innings on May 11, 1996, it did more than just make the Marlins' southpaw the 116th pitcher in National League history to throw a no-hitter; it also began a single-season streak that would turn out to be unprecedented for NL lefties since the advent of the live-ball era.
Over his next four starts, Leiter would go at least six innings in each, and allowed two hits, and then three hits, and three hits again, and three hits one more time. Over that five-game stretch, Leiter threw 37 1/3 innings and allowed a total of 11 hits. Until 2012, that run made Al Leiter the only National League left-hander since 1920 to have a streak of five straight games (in one season) of six-or-more innings and four-or-fewer hits allowed in each start.
The Nationals' Gio Gonzalez allowed one run on four hits in seven innings and picked up the win over the Phillies on Saturday to improve to 3-1 this season. After surrendering seven hits in 3 2/3 innings in his first start of the season, Gonzalez has reeled off five straight starts in which he has pitched at least six innings and allowed no more than four hits. He is the third left-hander in as many years to do this, and the 10th overall to do it since 1920.
Left-handers Since 1920
Most Consecutive Starts in a Season: 6+ IP and 4-or-Fewer Hits Allowed
Streak of Games
With their 7-1 win over the Phillies, the Nationals improved to 18-9 for the season, tying this club with the 1996 Expos for the second-best 27-game start in franchise history. The 1979 Expos opened the season by winning 19 of their first 27 games.
At the age of 22 years and 42 days, Chicago's Starlin Castro went 3-for-4, and through his first 309 games, has collected at least three hits in 32 of them. Castro is one of 17 players since 1920 to have at least 300 games at shortstop through his age-22 season. Among those 17, three had more games with three-plus hits through that exact age of 22 years and 42 days. The top-five: Alex Rodriguez (40), Edgar Renteria (36), Arky Vaughan (34), Castro (32), and Robin Yount (31).
Baltimore's Jason Hammel allowed two runs on four hits in 6 2/3 innings and improved to 4-1 as the Orioles defeated the Red Sox, 8-2, on Saturday. Hammel has made six starts this season, with five of them seeing him finish with at least six innings and no more than two runs allowed. The last Orioles pitcher before Hammel to have at least five such starts through the team's first 27 games was Storm Davis in 1984.
With the victory over the Red Sox, Baltimore improved to 18-9. In the franchise's history, only nine other clubs have ever been 18-9 or better through 27 games.
Adam Dunn hit his eighth home run of the season, a two-run shot in the top of the ninth to turn a 2-1 deficit into a 3-2 White Sox lead (and eventual win). Since his first season in 2001, Dunn has 17 home runs that have come in the ninth inning or later and have given his team the lead or the win. Those 17 over this span are the most in the Majors, one ahead of the 16 by Albert Pujols and Jason Giambi.
Billy Butler doubled twice and drove in three runs as the Royals defeated the Yankees, 5-1, on Saturday.
-- Butler, who has played in 718 career games, has collected at least two doubles in 23 of them. That total through that many games puts Butler first among all players in Royals history. Mike Sweeney had 22.
-- Among active players, Butler's total of 23 multi-double games through his first 718 contests is surpassed by David Wright (26 games), Albert Pujols (25), and Dustin Pedroia (25). Travis Hafner also had 23.
-- Since his first season in 2007, Butler has 193 doubles. Over that span, that total is the eighth most, with Robinson Cano leading with 219.
In the Braves' 13-9 victory over the Rockies on Saturday, Chipper Jones matched a career high with five RBIs. Jones has 18 career games with at least five RBIs, a total that is surpassed only by Ruben Sierra -- with 19 -- for the most among switch-hitters since 1918. After Jones, Eddie Murray, Lance Berkman and Mark Teixeira are tied for the third most, with 15.
At the age of 49 years and 169 days, the Rockies' Jamie Moyer became the oldest pitcher in baseball history to get a base hit, and the fourth oldest player (regardless of position) in the live-ball era to collect one. The full list of players to be at least 49 years old to have a hit in the Majors, since 1920:
-- Charley O'Leary (58.350) as a pinch-hitter on September 30, 1934
-- Nick Altrock (53.021) as a right fielder on October 6, 1929
-- Minnie Minoso (50.288) as a DH on September 12, 1976
-- Jamie Moyer (49.169) as a pitcher on May 5, 2012
-- Jack Quinn (49.078) as a pitcher on September 17, 1932
-- Julio Franco (49.025) as a pinch-hitter on September 17, 2007
Atlanta's Livan Hernandez, who has 174 career victories, picked up his first career save Saturday. Among active players, Moyer has the most wins -- 268 -- among those with zero saves. All-time, Greg Maddux has the most, with 355, and Moyer sits in the sixth spot, with 268. Reversing the baselines of things, among players with at least 268 career victories, Lefty Grove has the most career saves (although they were retroactively awarded), with 55.
Mark Buehrle, with a five-hitter Saturday, threw the first complete game by a Marlins left-hander since Dontrelle Willis tossed a three-hit shutout on September 10, 2006. During that span of time, Indians/Brewers/Yankees lefty CC Sabathia recorded 22 complete games on his own, including one on September 10, 2006.
The Marlins' Giancarlo Stanton hit his fifth home run of the season Saturday, with all five coming within his past seven games. Prior to that, Stanton had been homerless in his first 19 games of the year.
Seattle's Felix Hernandez allowed one hit in eight scoreless innings Saturday, and fanned nine with two walks, all contributing to this third win of the season.
-- Hernandez's line produced a game score of 87 -- the third highest of his career, and the 20th time he has reached 80 or above. Those 20, since 2005, are the fourth most in the Majors, behind 26 from Roy Halladay, 25 from Sabathia, and 24 by Jake Peavy.
-- Hernandez's 20 games with a game score of at least 80 have come in his first 212 appearances. That total through that many games is second highest among active pitchers, to Peavy's 21.
Roger Schlueter is senior researcher for MLB Productions. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.