Roger Schlueter

MLB Notebook: CC in legendary company

MLB Notebook: CC in legendary company

MLB Notebook: CC in legendary company
Jim Palmer's 362nd career appearance, on June 9, 1977, was probably a rather memorable one for the Hall of Fame right-hander, albeit for the wrong reasons.

In a start against the Red Sox at Fenway Park, Palmer allowed seven runs on nine hits in eight innings and took the loss to fall to 7-6 on the season. With the start, Palmer's career win total stayed stuck on 181. That day, he was 31 years and 237 days old.

In contrast, Greg Maddux's 362nd career appearance in the big leagues went a little bit better. On Aug. 16, 1997, Maddux faced the Cardinals and recorded a win after allowing three runs in six innings. Maddux -- whose victory gave him 181 wins for his career -- was 31 years and 124 days old for that start.

On Thursday night, CC Sabathia made his 362nd career appearance. And like Palmer and Maddux before him, his career win total was at 181 at the game's conclusion. Sabathia was 31 years and 294 days old.

Sabathia fanned 10 and allowed two unearned runs in eight innings to pick up the win and improve to 5-0 on the season, and 181-96 for his career.

Sabathia's 181 victories through his first 362 appearances tie him with Palmer and Maddux for the 10th most since 1918. Juan Marichal had 203 through his first 362 games, followed by Wes Ferrell and Mike Mussina, each of whom had 189. Dazzy Vance and Tom Seaver each had 186 victories once they reached 362 games, while three pitchers -- Lefty Gomez, Roger Clemens and Andy Pettitte -- had 185. Bob Feller had the ninth most, with 183.

Sabathia has 2,070 strikeouts, four behind Don Sutton for the 15th most for any pitcher since 1893 through his age-31 season. He has 29 career games with at least 10 strikeouts. Since 1918, that total ranks 12th among left-handers.

O's power
In the first game of their doubleheader against the Rangers, the Orioles tied a Major League record (and set an American League mark) when their first three batters of the game -- Ryan Flaherty, J.J. Hardy and Nick Markakis -- homered.

Hardy was also part of the most recent occurrence of a team opening a game with three straight home runs. The full list of the four teams to open a game with three straight homers is below:

• April 13, 1987 -- Padres (Marvell Wynne, Tony Gwynn, John Kruk)
• May 28, 2003 -- Braves (Rafael Furcal, Mark DeRosa, Gary Sheffield)
• Sept. 9, 2007 -- Brewers (Rickie Weeks, Hardy, Ryan Braun)
• May 10, 2012 -- Orioles (Flaherty, Hardy, Markakis)

Since moving to Baltimore for the 1954 season, the franchise has had eight occurrences of three straight home runs. The most recent of these before Thursday took place on July 20, 2010, when Luke Scott, Ty Wigginton and Adam Jones opened the bottom of the second inning with three successive blasts.

The Orioles ended up homering five times in their 6-5 win in Game 1, with all five coming against the Rangers' Colby Lewis.

Lewis was the seventh pitcher in Rangers franchise history to surrender at least five home runs. R.A. Dickey, who allowed six on April 6, 2006, holds the franchise record.

Lewis also struck out 12 batters in the game to set a new career high. He was the first pitcher in the live-ball era to allow five or more home runs and strike out that many. In the live-ball era, the previous mark for K's in a start that featured five home runs allowed was nine, by the Rangers' Charlie Hough on June 24, 1989.

In the second game of the doubleheader between the Orioles and Rangers, Josh Hamilton hit his 15th home run of the season -- a two-run shot to increase his RBI total to 38.

Hamilton is the first player since Alex Rodriguez in 2007 to have at least 15 homers and 38 RBIs through his team's first 32 games. Rodriguez was at 15 and 39.

Hamilton's 15 homers through 32 team games tied him with Frank Howard in 1968 for the most in Rangers franchise history. Hamilton's 38 RBIs through 32 team games are the second most in franchise history to Juan Gonzalez's 41 in 1998.

Hamilton's home run was his seventh in his past 10 games. All seven of those homers have been two-run shots, and all seven have driven in Elvis Andrus.

Miguel Cabrera had his 22nd career four-hit game, while Andy Dirks had the second of his career, and the pair paced a 17-hit attack in Detroit's 10-6 victory over Oakland.

Before Thursday, the last time the Tigers had a pair of players collect at last four hits in a nine-inning game was on Sept. 17, 2008, when Dusty Ryan had four hits in five at-bats and Cabrera went 4-for-5 with three RBIs.

Cabrera's four-hit game last night also featured three runs driven in. He has 14 career games with at least four hits and at least three RBIs. Since 2003 (his first season), Cabrera's 14 tie him with Albert Pujols for the most such games in the Majors.

In just his second game after hitting a walk-off grand slam on Tuesday, Oakland's Brandon Inge hit another home run with the bases loaded, this one coming in the eighth inning.

Inge now has 21 calendar days left to become the 10th player in history hit three slams in one month. The most recent player to do this was Carlos Beltran in July 2006. The others with three in a single month: Rudy York (May 1938), Jim Northrup (June '68), Larry Parrish (July '82), Eric Davis (May '87), Mike Blowers (Aug. '95), Mike Piazza (April '98), Shane Spencer (Sept. '98) and Devon White (May 2001).

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