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Roger Schlueter

MLB Notebook: Thome still slugging away

MLB Notebook: Thome still slugging away

MLB Notebook: Thome still slugging away
On the final Friday of the 1991 regular season, in a game that featured the 55-104 Indians taking on the 70-89 Yankees, Jim Thome provided a little bit of drama in an otherwise barely notable ballgame.

That evening, the Cleveland third baseman came to the plate in the top of the ninth inning to face Steve Farr, who had recently come on in relief of Lee Guetterman. With Reggie Jefferson on first and two outs in the inning, Thome jumped on Farr's 1-0 offering and sent the ball beyond the right-field fence to turn a 2-1 deficit into a 3-2 lead.

The Indians would hold on for the victory, and Thome had his first Major League home run.

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Fast forward nearly 21 years to Saturday, when Thome went 2-for-4 with his first home run of the season in the Phillies' 6-4 loss to the Orioles. Thome has 605 career homers (four behind Sammy Sosa for seventh all-time) and has at least one home run in 22 different seasons. He is the 16th player in history to have at least one in that many years, with Rickey Henderson (25) leading the way.

Big guns unload
Five of baseball's top-seven home run hitters went deep on Saturday:

• Adam Dunn hit his 19th of the season (second most in the Majors) -- a grand slam that gave him 12 career homers with the bases loaded. Those 12 are tied for the fourth most among active players. Alex Rodriguez has 22, Carlos Lee has 16, Jason Giambi has 14, and Travis Hafner and Albert Pujols have 12.

• In Toronto's 59th game of the season, Jose Bautista hit his 17th home run of the year -- tying him for fourth in the Majors. When Bautista led the big leagues with 54 home runs in 2010, he had 18 through the team's first 59 contests. Last year, when he led the Majors with 43, he had 20 after Toronto's 59th game.

• The Cardinals' Carlos Beltran hit his 17th home run, the most in the National League and tied for fourth in the Majors. Beltran has 319 career home runs, the seventh most for a switch-hitter, and six behind Mark Teixeira (who also homered on Saturday).

• The Yankees' Curtis Granderson hit his 18th -- third most in the Majors. Granderson is the 21st player in Yankees history to have at least 18 home runs through the team's first 58 games. Babe Ruth (1928) and Mickey Mantle ('56) had the most -- 25. Others to have exactly 18: Ruth ('24), Lou Gehrig ('30, '34), Mantle ('61), and Teixeira (2009, '11).

• Adam Jones hit a two-run homer in the bottom of the 12th -- his 17th home run of the season -- to lead Baltimore past the Phillies. Jones' 12th-inning homer marked his third of the season that came so late in a game. He has also gone yard in the 15th and 17th innings this year. Before Jones, the most recent player to have a trio of home runs in the 12th inning or later in the same season was Andre Ethier, in 2009.

Trout
In the Angels' 11-5 victory over the Rockies, Mike Trout -- for the second consecutive game -- collected three hits and scored three runs.

Trout was the third player this season to have back-to-back games with at least three hits and three runs scored. Atlanta's Chipper Jones did it on May 2 and May 4, and Colorado's Carlos Gonzalez did it on May 30 and May 31.

No player has had three consecutive games like this since another Angel -- Jeff DaVanon -- did it in 2003.

Jeter and A-Rod
Derek Jeter went 1-for-3 in the Yankees' 4-2 win over the Mets and became the 18th player in history to reach 1,800 runs scored. Jeter ranks second among active players, with Rodriguez leading the way with 1,856 (13th all-time).

Among players with at least two-thirds of their career games at shortstop, Jeter is the first to reach 1,800. Jeter scored the run on Rodriguez's RBI single, giving the Yankees third baseman 1,917 career RBIs and tying Rodriguez with Eddie Murray for the ninth most in history.

Here and there
• Michael Bourn went 3-for-5 with an RBI and a run scored in Atlanta's 5-2 victory over the Blue Jays. Bourn has collected three hits in three consecutive games and now has a total of 12 games this season with three or more hits. The 12, which lead the Majors, are the most by a Braves player through 59 team games since Ralph Garr had 13 in 1974.

• White Sox starter Chris Sale improved to 8-2 and lowered his ERA to 2.05, throwing eight shutout innings with four hits allowed and seven K's in Chicago's 10-1 win over the Astros. Sale has won five straight starts, with his overall numbers during the winning streak looking like this: 36 2/3 innings, four earned runs (0.98 ERA) on 19 hits, 43 strikeouts and seven walks, and an opponents' OPS of .413.

• Justin Verlander allowed two runs in six innings in a no-decision vs. the Reds, and now has thrown at least six innings in 55 consecutive starts. This six-inning stint moved Verlander past Dazzy Vance (1926-28) and Bob Gibson ('65-66), giving the Tigers right-hander the fourth-longest streak since '20. Catfish Hunter, with 61 straight starts of six-plus innings from '75-76, owns the third-longest streak.

• Reds first baseman Joey Votto went 1-for-2 with two walks, collected his 26th double of the year and extended his hitting streak to a career-best 15 games. Votto's 26 doubles through 58 team games gives him the 13th-highest total since 1918. Paul Waner holds the all-time mark, with 32.

• Clayton Kershaw struck out 12 -- his 16th career game with 10 or more strikeouts -- and brought his career total up to 826 in the Dodgers' 8-3 win over the Mariners. Since 1893, among all pitchers through their age-24 season, Kershaw owns the 17th most K's. With 100 more this season, he would move up to 12th.

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

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