MLB.com Columnist

Roger Schlueter

MLB Notebook: Cruz gets RBIs in big bunches

MLB Notebook: Cruz gets RBIs in big bunches

MLB Notebook: Cruz gets RBIs in big bunches
In 2011, Nelson Cruz drove in at least six runs in three different games, leaving him one big performance shy of joining Lou Gehrig in 1930 as the only players in the live-ball era to have a single season in which they had a quartet of six-RBI games.

After collecting four hits and tying a career high with eight RBIs in the Rangers' 14-3 win over the Blue Jays on Friday, Cruz gets to chase Gehrig all over again. In 1930, the Iron Horse was one of two players since '20 (Jim Spencer in '77 being the other) to have a pair of eight-RBI games in a single season.

In 1930, Gehrig had his two big days in the Yankees' 30th and 102nd games of the year. Cruz had his first in the Rangers' 46th game, leaving him more than two-thirds of a season to see if he can hit it big one more time.

Cruz is the eighth American League player since 1918 to have a pair of eight-RBI games in his career. Gehrig and Jimmie Foxx each had three, and Cruz joins Joe DiMaggio, Nomar Garciaparra, Jim Northrup, George Selkirk and Spencer with the two.

Since the start of the last season, Cruz has had four games with at least six RBIs. That total leads the Majors, with Cruz one ahead of Carlos Beltran. The only other player to have more than one game like that is Carlos Gonzalez.

Pirates
Four Pirates relievers combined for 3 2/3 scoreless innings and gave starter A.J. Burnett the victory in a 1-0 win over the Cubs.

The Pirates own the National League's third lowest team ERA at 3.26, a mark that includes the league's best bullpen ERA (2.41).

Pittsburgh is only three games below .500 despite scoring a Major League low 2.82 runs per game. Some perspective on that figure:

• 2.82 runs per game works out to about 457 runs for the season, which would be the fewest for any team since the 162-game schedule was incorporated in 1961-62.

• In 1908, the Cardinals scored 372 runs -- the fewest for any team in the past 112 seasons. Those 372 came in 154 games, for an average of 2.42 runs per game. This was also produced in a year when the league average was 3.33 runs per game. That season, the Cardinals finished 49-105. This year, the Pirates' 2.82 runs per game are coming in an environment where the league average is 4.11 runs per game.

Dempster
The Cubs' Ryan Dempster remained winless on the season despite allowing one run in 7 1/3 innings vs. the Pirates.

This game marked the fourth time this season Dempster finished a start with at least seven innings pitched and no more than one run allowed. Since 1963, 525 pitchers have had at least four starts through their team's first 45 games that concluded with at least seven innings pitched and one or zero runs allowed. Of those 525, Dempster is the only one to not have a win on the season.

Dempster is the only 2012 Opening Day starter who has yet to win a game.

Pierzynski
A.J. Pierzynski became the seventh White Sox catcher since 1918 to homer and triple in the same game, with his homer vs. the Indians standing as his eighth of the year.

Pierzynski was the first White Sox catcher since Josh Paul in 2000 with a homer and a triple in the same game. Between 1918-99, the others to do it were Ray Schalk ('22), Buck Crouse ('28), Earl Battey ('57), Brian Downing ('74) and Carlton Fisk ('84).

Pierzynski, who has already matched his home run total from 2011, is the fifth player in White Sox history to have at least eight homers as a catcher through the club's first 46 games. Fisk had 13 in 1985, Sherm Lollar had nine in '55, and the group at eight consists of Fisk ('88) and Pierzynski (2007, '12).

Melky
The Giants' Melky Cabrera tripled and homered vs. Miami on Friday for his 23rd multihit game of the year.

Cabrera leads the Majors in both hits (69) and triples (six). Since the start of the 2011 season, he also leads the Majors with 84 multihit games.

Cabrera is playing in his age-27 season. Last year, he collected 201 hits. If he reaches the 200-hit barrier again this year, he would become the first switch-hitter in baseball history to have at least 200 hits in both his age-26 and age-27 seasons.

Here and there
• Giancarlo Stanton contributed two hits (including his 11th homer of the year) and two RBIs in the Marlins' 7-6 victory over the Giants. The home run was the 10th in May for Stanton, a total that is tied for the third most in team history for any single month. Dan Uggla set the club mark with 12 in 2008.

• Adam Dunn hit his 15th home run of the season and 380th of his 12-year career. Dunn is the 15th player in history with at least 380 homers through his first 12 seasons. Right now, he is tied with Jeff Bagwell. With another 15 this season, Dunn would move ahead of Manny Ramirez and sit right behind Henry Aaron with the ninth most.

• For the second time in as many seasons, Cardinals pitcher Kyle Lohse went at least six innings in a start and failed to record a strikeout or walk. Lohse, who is the only pitcher in the Majors to have two such games since the start of the 2011 season, made both such starts against the Phillies.

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