MLB.com Columnist

Roger Schlueter

MLB Notebook: Dunn on path to join elite company

MLB Notebook: Dunn on path to join elite company

MLB Notebook: Dunn on path to join elite company
From 1914 through his final year in '35, Babe Ruth led all Major League players in walks and strikeouts (along with runs, home runs, RBIs, total bases and extra-base hits). Using his first and last seasons (1951 and '68) as selected endpoints, Mickey Mantle had more walks and strikeouts during those 18 seasons than any other player in the Majors. From his first season in 1954 through his last in '75, Harmon Killebrew had more walks and strikeouts than any other Major League player.

Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle and Harmon Killebrew combined to hit 1,823 home runs and stand as the only three members of the 500 home run club to own the top totals in both strikeouts and walks during the span of their respective careers. This is interesting news for the White Sox Adam Dunn, who seems like the perfect candidate to someday turn that trio into a quartet.

In a three-hit, four-RBI night Dunn hit his Major League-leading 30th home run of the season. Dunn is the 18th player in history to have at least eight 30-homer campaigns through his first 12 Major League seasons.

Dunn's 395 home runs through his first 12 seasons are the ninth most in history. Albert Pujols has 463 and counting -- 2012 is his 12th Major League season -- for the all-time high. After Pujols there is Ken Griffey, Jr. with 438, Alex Rodriguez with 429, Eddie Mathews with 422, Willie Mays with 406, Mantle with 404, Frank Robinson with 403, Hank Aaron with 398, and then Dunn.

Since his first season in 2001 Dunn is third in the Majors in home runs (68 behind the leader Pujols), first in strikeouts (466 ahead of second-place Alfonso Soriano) and first in walks (six ahead of Bobby Abreu).

Brewers
A day after mounting a four-run comeback to the beat the Brewers, 7-6, the Phillies established a new season best by overcoming a five-run deficit to defeat Milwaukee, 7-6.

For the Brewers, the meltdown kept Zack Greinke (seven innings, three hits, one run) from picking up the win. Milwaukee's bullpen has taken away 16 potential wins from starters this season -- the most in the Majors.

Paul Maholm
Maholm allowed one run in eight innings and won his fifth consecutive start. The Cubs southpaw has allowed four runs in 37 1/3 innings (0.96 ERA) in these five starts and has fanned 27 while walking five.

Maholm joins Ted Lilly (wins in six straight starts in 2007) as the only Cubs left-handers to record wins in at least five consecutive starts in the past 40 seasons.

Athletics
The Athletics won their sixth straight contest on Tuesday, defeating the Blue Jays, 7-2. Travis Blackley allowed one run in seven innings to earn the win.

Oakland's starters have 24 games this season in which they have thrown at least seven innings and allowed no more than one run. This ties them with the Mariners for the second most of these games in the Majors. Giants starters have 26 such games.

This game marked the third time Blackley has thrown at least seven innings while allowing no more then one run. Tommy Milone has seven such starts, Bartolo Colon and Jarrod Parker each have five and Brandon McCarthy has four.

The A's improved to 15-2 in July, with a run differential of +26 (72 to 46). During the month, Yoenis Cespedes owns a .338/.386/.569 line, with four homers and 13 RBIs.

For the second straight day, a player -- in this case Cespedes -- collected three RBIs on a single. Before these past two days there had not been a three-run single since 2009.

Will Smith
Facing an all-righty Angels lineup (seven right-handed hitters and two switch-hitters) Smith allowed two hits and a run in seven innings and picked up the win, in a 4-1 victory.

Before Smith, the last lefty to go at least seven innings and allow no more than two hits to the Angels was Ricky Romero on August 13, 2011.

Qualifying Lefties, Lowest Slugging Percentage Against
Pitcher Year Slugging % against Innings
Clayton Kershaw 2009 .282 171
John Tudor 1985 .285 275
Fernando Valenzuela 1985 .292 273 1/3
Clayton Kershaw 2011 .298 233 1/3
Teddy Higuera 1988 300 227 1/3
Gio Gonzalez
Gonzalez allowed a pair of singles and an unearned run in seven innings and improved to 13-5 as the Nationals defeated R.A. Dickey and the Mets.

Gonzalez, who is tied with Dickey and David Price for the Major League lead in wins, is holding batters to a .300 slugging percentage -- second in the Majors to fellow lefty C.J. Wilson's .295 mark. Since 1983 five left-handed pitchers have qualified for the ERA title and finished the year holding batters to a slugging percentage of .300 or lower.

Jordany Valdespin
Valdespin hit his fifth pinch-hit home run of the season on Tuesday, setting a new Mets single-season record. Valdespin had been tied with Danny Heep (1983) and Mark Carreon ('89).

The last player before Valdespin to hit five pinch-hit home runs in a season was Matt Stairs in 2009. The single-season MLB record is seven, shared by Dave Hansen (2000) and Craig Wilson ('01).

Ryan Zimmerman
Zimmerman went 3-for-5 with a double and a run scored on Tuesday. Since June 24, Zimmerman has played 27 games and compiled a .393/.447/.786 slash line, and has 13 multi-hit games.

From Opening Day through June 23, Zimmerman owned a .218/.285/.305 line in 55 games and had a total of 11 multi-hit games.

Reds
The Reds defeated the Astros 4-2 for their sixth consecutive win.

This season, Cincinnati has four winning streaks of six games. No other team has more than two, with the Braves, Dodgers, Rangers and Rays each having a pair.

Josh Willingham
Willingham hit two home runs for Minnesota on Tuesday and now has 25 for the season.

Willingham is the first Twins right-handed hitter with 25 home runs through the team's first 97 games since Killebrew had 32 in 1970.

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