MLB Notebook: Konerko keeps connecting

MLB Notebook: Konerko keeps connecting

MLB Notebook: Konerko keeps connecting
In the modern era of baseball, eight different players have captured a batting title in their age-36 season or older.

Honus Wagner was the first to do it when he won the NL crown with a .334 mark in 1911. Old Aches and Pains -- Luke Appling -- took home a batting crown in the AL in 1943, and 14 years later, Stan Musial captured his seventh and final career batting title when he finished with a .351 mark.

Musial was most certainly overshadowed by Ted Williams that season, who, in his age-38 season, finished the year with an astonishing .388 average. And then to show off, The Splendid Splinter took home yet another batting title the following year, in 1958.

George Brett became the first player to win batting titles in three different decades when he led the AL with a .329 mark in 1990. Tony Gwynn won his eighth crown in 1997, when he batted .372. Barry Bonds captured crowns in both 2002 (his age-37 season) and '04, and Chipper Jones added his name to this group when he batted .364 in '08.

That's a pretty spectacular group of names to consider when seeing that Paul Konerko, now in his age-36 season, is batting .399 with nearly one-third of the campaign complete.

• Konerko went 2-for-4, hit his 11th homer, drove in four runs, and raised his batting average to .399.

   o The .399 average is the highest for an AL player at the close of play on May 27 since Roberto Alomar owned a .401 mark in 1996. In between Alomar and Konerko, four NL players have been at .400 or better when May 27 was in the books: Gwynn (.402, in 1997), Larry Walker (.409, also in '97), Todd Helton (.406, in 2000) and Jones (.418, in '08).

   o Konerko's home run was the 400th of his White Sox career (he has a total of 407, tying him with Duke Snider for 47th on the all-time list). Konerko is the second White Sox player with 400, joining Frank Thomas. The White Sox are one of seven franchises to have multiple 400-home run players:

• Giants (Barry Bonds, Willie Mays, Willie McCovey, Melt Ott)
• Braves (Hank Aaron, C. Jones, Eddie Mathews)
• Yankees (Lou Gehrig, Mickey Mantle, Babe Ruth)
• Red Sox (Ted Williams, Carl Yastrzemski)
• Cubs (Ernie Banks, Sammy Sosa)
• Cardinals (Musial, Albert Pujols)
• White Sox (Frank Thomas, Konerko)

• The White Sox defeated the Indians, 12-6, giving them four consecutive games with at least nine runs (in their previous three, they tallied 11, nine and 14 runs). This marks the fifth time in the live-ball era the White Sox have enjoyed a four-game streak of nine-plus runs:

   o 1930: 2-2 record, 44 runs scored
   o 1933: 4-0 record, 48 runs scored
   o 1935: 4-0 record, 46 runs scored
   o 1938: 4-0 record, 39 runs scored
   o 2012: 4-0 record, 46 runs scored

• R.A. Dickey allowed three hits in 7 1/3 scoreless innings, struck out 10, and walked one. With the strikeout/walk numbers, Dickey became the seventh pitcher in Mets history to have back-to-back appearances of 10-or-more strikeouts and no more than one walk. In his previous start, Dickey fanned 11 with no walks.

Amazin' Arms
With his 10-strikeout, one-walk outing vs. the Padres on Sunday, R.A. Dickey became the seventh pitcher in Mets history to have back-to-back appearances of 10-or-more strikeouts and no more than one walk.
Pitcher Year IP K's BB
R.A. Dickey 2012 14 1/3 21 1
David Cone 1992 14 23 1
Dwight Gooden 1984 17 32 0
Dwight Gooden 1984 16 22 2
Tom Seaver 1975 18 20 2
Tom Seaver 1971 18 23 2
Tom Seaver 1971 17 1/3 20 1

• In the Giants' 3-2 win over the Marlins, Melky Cabrera went 4-for-4, giving him a trio of four-hit games this season, and a Major League-leading 73 hits.

   o Cabrera has 24 multihit games this season, tying him with Frankie Frisch (1923 and '24) for the fourth most of any Giants player through 48 team games since 1918. Bill Terry had 30 in 1930, Willie Mays had 27 in '58 and Jo-Jo Moore had 26 in '34.

   o Cabrera's 73 hits through 48 team games are the fourth most for any NL player in the past 20 seasons. Mark Grudzielanek had 75 in 1996, Dante Bichette had 75 in '98, and Tony Gwynn had 74 in '97.

• In the Reds' 7-5 victory over the Rockies, starters Mat Latos and Jamie Moyer combined to allow nine home runs, with Latos tying a Reds franchise record by surrendering five.

The contest was only the 10th since 1918 to feature both starters allowing at least five long balls. It last occurred in a game between the Dodgers and Cardinals on July 20, 2003. Including Sunday's game, the Rockies have been involved in three of the four most recent examples of both starters allowing at least four home runs.

• The Rockies' Carlos Gonzalez homered twice, giving him a trio of multihomer games this season. Gonzalez is the third player in Rockies history to have three multihomer games through the club's first 46 contests. Vinny Castilla did it in 1995, and Helton matched the feat in 2000.

• In the Royals' 4-2 victory over the Orioles, Jeff Francoeur went 2-for-4 with his fifth home run of the year. In his past seven games, Francoeur is 15-for-29, with two doubles, a triple and four home runs.

• Coco Crisp was 2-for-2 in stolen-base attempts, running his streak of consecutive steals to 29. That streak is the longest for any Athletics player since the club moved to Oakland prior to the 1968 season. Crisp passed Stan Javier, who negotiated 28 consecutive successful attempts in 1995.

• Chris Capuano improved to 7-1 on the season as he allowed one run on two hits in seven innings. Sunday's outing marked the second time this season the Dodgers left-hander finished with at least seven innings and no more than three hits allowed. Capuano's teammate Clayton Kershaw also has turned in two starts that have reached such lofty standards this season, as does fellow Dodgers southpaw Ted Lilly. Since 1920, only one other team -- through 47 team games -- has gotten more than six starts from lefties that featured at least seven innings and no more than three hits allowed: the 1979 White Sox, who had seven.

• Gio Gonzalez allowed one hit in seven innings and fanned 10, improving to 7-1 as the Nationals beat the Braves, 7-2. Gonzalez has three starts this season in which he has allowed no more than two hits in seven (or more) innings. Before Gonzalez, the last southpaw to have three such games through his team's first 47 contests was Randy Johnson in 2004. The other left-handers since 1920 to do this: Sandy Koufax (three, in 1963), Pete Richert (three, in '67) and Bob Ojeda (three in '88).

• Bryce Harper went 2-for-4 with a walk and his fourth home run of the season, as the Nationals won to improve to 29-18. In 20 games before Harper's debut, the Nationals were averaging 3.55 runs per game. In the 27 games since he was called up to the bigs, Washington is averaging 4.22 runs per game.

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