Roger Schlueter

MLB Notebook: Wood goes out on fitting note

MLB Notebook: Wood goes out on fitting note

MLB Notebook: Wood goes out on fitting note
From the beginning of the 1918 season through the contests played on Friday, there have been a total of 59,154 complete-game efforts from a pitcher who went exactly nine innings.

In all of those starts, the highest game score (an equation used to measure a pitcher's dominance) ever produced came from the right arm of a 20-year-old making his fifth Major League appearance. A score of 105 came as a result of nine shutout innings, one hit, one hit by pitch, 29 batters faced, and 20 strikeouts.

More than 59,000 nine-inning complete games to choose from, and it's possible that Kerry Wood delivered the most dominating, explosive, resonant, magnetic, out-of-nowhere, mind-boggling performance of them all.

Friday, in his final Major League appearance, Wood fanned the only batter he faced to conclude his career with 1,582 strikeouts in 1,380 innings. Wood's rate of 10.32 strikeouts per nine innings is second highest for all hurlers with at least 1,000 innings, behind only the 10.61 produced by Randy Johnson.

With one out in the ninth inning, Detroit's Justin Verlander lost his bid for a third career no-hitter and instead settled for a one-hit shutout with 12 K's and two walks in a 6-0 win over Pittsburgh.

Verlander now has three career shutouts in which he has allowed one hit or no hits. Those three tie him with four others for the most among active pitchers: Anibal Sanchez (one no-hitter), Tim Hudson (all one-hitters), Matt Cain (all one-hitters), Mark Buehrle (two no-hitters).

Verlander's three have come within his first 208 Major League appearances. He is the 21st pitcher since 1918 to have at least that many that early in his career. The top marks belong to Nolan Ryan (six), Bob Feller (five), Jim Maloney (four) and Hideo Nomo (four). Among active pitchers, Sanchez and Cain also had their three within their first 208 games.

With the one hit and two walks, this start marked the third time this season that Verlander went at least seven innings and allowed no more than four baserunners. Those three are the most in the Majors. The most recent pitcher before Verlander to have as many as three such starts through his team's first 39 games was Cliff Lee in 2008.

Verlander's start produced a game score of 95, tying him with Jered Weaver (in his no-hitter on May 2) for the third-highest score in 2012. Cain's one-hit shutout on April 13 produced a score of 96, which was then matched by Philip Humber in his perfect game on April 21.

Verlander's game score of 95 in this one-hitter matched his career high, set in his Interleague no-hitter against the Brewers on June 12, 2007. Those two starts with a score of at least 95 tied him with Kevin Millwood and Wood (if he is still technically considered active) for the most among active pitchers.

The Orioles beat the Nationals, 2-1, in 11 innings and improved to 26-14 for the season.

Baltimore also improved to 6-2 in extra-inning games this season, with the six victories the most in the Majors. Last season, the Orioles were 8-8 in extra-inning affairs.

The 26-14 record ties this club with three other Orioles teams for the fourth best 40-game start in Brewers/Browns/Orioles franchise history. The 1970 O's were 28-12, the '69 and '97 teams were 27-13, and the current club is joined by the '79, '81 and 2005 Baltimore teams with 26-14 marks.

Blue Jays
The Blue Jays hit five home runs, scored at least two runs in five different innings and defeated the Mets, 14-5.

Toronto scored those 14 runs on only 12 hits. The most recent team to have as many as 14 runs and not have any more than 12 hits were the Rays, on Sept. 7, 2010. Like the Blue Jays on Friday, the Rays also hit five homers as part of a 12-hit attack that day, and like Toronto on Friday night, Tampa Bay also won by a 14-5 score.

The Blue Jays got multihomer games from J.P. Arencibia and Rajai Davis (the first two-homer game of his career). This game marked the 16th in franchise history with multiple multihomer efforts. The most recent time it happened was on Sept. 30, 2010.

On Sept. 14, 1987, three Blue Jays players -- Ernie Whitt (who hit three), Rance Mulliniks and George Bell -- each had multihomer games. Toronto hit 10 home runs that day to set a Major League record.

Kansas City's Irving Falu went 2-for-5 with a double and extended his career-opening hitting streak to seven games.

Falu's streak is the third longest in Royals history for a player at the start of his career. In 1986, Mike Kingery began his career with a hit in nine straight, and in '95, Johnny Damon opened his career with an eight-game hitting streak.

Falu had at least two hits in five of his first seven games. He is the 28th player since 1918 to have at least five multihit games through his first seven career contests. Riggs Stephenson, Andy Pafko, Curtis Goodwin and Bo Hart each had six.

Here and there
• White Sox first baseman Paul Konerko hit his 55th career Interleague home run and tied Ken Griffey, Jr. for the second most. Jim Thome is the leader, with 59. Carlos Delgado (50) and Jason Giambi (49) round out the top five. Konerko, who drove in two runs on the homer, has 157 RBIs in Interleague play, which is also the second most. Alex Rodriguez has 187.

• Millwood threw a two-hit shutout with seven K's and a walk. The shutout was the first for the Mariners righty since Aug. 1, 2003, and gave him six in his career. In all six of his shutouts, Millwood allowed three hits or fewer. In the Expansion Era, those six tie Millwood with 16 others for the 68th most by a right-hander. The top five righties since 1961: Ryan (37), Tom Seaver (27), Jim Palmer (25), Roger Clemens (23) and Luis Tiant (19).

• In the Yankees' 4-0 win over the Reds, Andy Pettitte (39 years and 338 days old) picked up his first victory since July 8, 2010, and he became the oldest Yankees pitcher to finish a start with at least eight scoreless innings since Randy Johnson (41 years, 319 days) on July 26, 2005. With the victory, Pettitte tied fellow southpaw Herb Pennock for 54th on the all-time wins list, with 241. Pennock and Pettitte are tied for the 12th most wins among left-handers.

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