Roger Schlueter

MLB Notebook: Vizquel has game for the ages

MLB Notebook: Vizquel has game for the ages

MLB Notebook: Vizquel has game for the ages
Not only did Toronto's Omar Vizquel make a little age-related history on Friday night, he also ensured that another historic achievement would stay off his fascinating resume.

Vizquel entered Friday evening's affair against the Tigers with 18 hits in 88 at-bats, with all 18 knocks falling into the singles column. All the way back in 1906, a St. Louis Browns catcher named Jack O'Connor finished his season with 174 official at-bats and not one double, triple or home run among his 33 hits. No player since has accumulated that many at-bats in a season and finished with zero extra-base hits.

And thanks to Vizquel's sudden explosion of extra-base power, O'Connor's feat seems assuredly safe for yet another season. At the age of 45 years and 94 days, Vizquel became the oldest player in the modern era to hit a double and a triple in a game. In the live-ball era, Luke Appling (43 years, 119 days on July 30, 1950) was the oldest.

• The Cardinals hit five home runs (one in each of the first five innings) and powered past the Cubs, 9-6.

Yadier Molina hit his 16th of the season, the most for a Cardinals catcher since Ted Simmons hit 21 in 1980.

Matt Holliday hit his 18th long ball in a three-hit game that upped his OPS to .952, the seventh best in the National League.

Lance Berkman's homer, his second of the season, gave him 801 career extra-base hits. He is three shy of tying Chili Davis for fifth most among switch-hitters, but his teammate Carlos Beltran might get there first -- Beltran is at 802.

Allen Craig also went deep, giving him 15 homers in 254 plate appearances. His home run percentage is 5.9; among NL players with at least 200 plate appearances, he is tied (with Giancarlo Stanton) for fifth best.

• Bronson Arroyo (6.2 IP, six hits) and two Reds relievers combined on an eight-hit shutout, and Cincinnati won its eighth straight game, beating Colorado, 3-0.

It is the first time in 69 games that the Reds blanked the Rockies at Coors Field.

The eight-game winning streak is the longest for the club since it took eight straight in 2006.

Aroldis Chapman struck out three in a scoreless ninth inning for his 20th save, and he has a ratio of 17.2 K's per nine innings. Entering this season, the all-time best K/9 ratio for a pitcher with at least 20 saves is 15.99, established by the Cubs' Carlos Marmol in 2010.

• After being down, 3-0, early, the Pirates defeated the Astros, 6-5. The victory was the Bucs' 29th comeback win of the season, the second most in the Majors behind the Yankees' 32.

Central Spark
• With the Reds, Pirates and Cardinals winning on Friday, the three clubs (which are 1-2-3 in the NL Central) improved to a combined 45-21 since July 1. Since the start of the month, the first-place Reds have the NL's best record, the second-place Pirates have second best and the third-place Cardinals are tied for the fourth best.

• Houston's Chris Johnson doubled, tripled and homered, becoming the fifth player this season to fall a single shy of the cycle. This year there have been three cycles, 11 occurrences of a player falling a double shy, 149 occasions in which a triple was the only hit keeping a player from a cycle (there were four of those on Friday) and 32 instances of a player falling a homer short.

Johnson is the first Astros player to have a double, triple and homer in a non-cycle game since Luke Scott on Sept. 19, 2006.

Vowel sounds
• Combining for 31 hits, 23 runs, five lead changes, 12 pitchers used and 382 pitches thrown, the A's and O's played for four hours, with Oakland finishing in front, 14-9.

For the first time since Aug. 24, 1969, the O's and A's played a game in which each team collected at least 15 hits.

After entering the game as a pinch-hitter in the top of the sixth, Oakland's Seth Smith finished the game with five RBIs. He is the 58th player since 1918 to have a five-RBI game after not starting, and the third Athletics player to do it, following Mickey Tettleton (Aug. 24, 1986) and Erubiel Durazo (July 10, 2004).

The A's won a game in which they allowed at least nine runs for the first time since Sept. 26, 2009. Between those victories they suffered through 33 consecutive defeats in such contests.

• Atlanta's Chipper Jones doubled twice against Philadelphia on Friday to reach 1,041 career extra-base hits and tie Pete Rose for the second most for a switch-hitter. Eddie Murray is the all-time leader, with 1,099. Overall, Rose and Jones are tied for 24th for extra-base hits.

The breakdown for Rose and Jones is below; the all-time ranks are for all hitters.

Comparing Rose and Jones
2B (all-time rank) 3B (all-time rank) HR (all-time rank)
Rose 746 (2nd) 135 (75th) 160 (t-146th)
Jones 540 (t-30th) 38 (t-987th) 463 (t-32nd)
Brian McCann hit a three-run homer in the Braves' win over the Phillies, giving him a home run in six consecutive games vs. Philadelphia. He is the first player since at least 1918 to homer in six straight contests vs. the Phillies.

White Sox
• Alex Rios doubled, stole a base and drove in three runs in the White Sox 9-5 win over the Rangers. Rios, who is tied for 10th in the American League in both RBIs and extra-base hits, and seventh in total bases, has recorded 53 games since 2006 in which he has both a steal and an extra-base hit. Those 53 over the past seven seasons are the sixth most in the Majors. Jose Reyes has 90 such games, followed by Carl Crawford (68), Hanley Ramirez (66), Jimmy Rollins (65) and Brian Roberts (58).

• Scott Diamond threw a three-hit shutout to improve to 9-4, and the Twins enjoyed their largest shutout in three years, beating the Indians, 11-0.

The last time the Twins scored at least 11 runs in a shutout was on Aug. 14, 2009, when they defeated the Indians, 11-0.

Diamond's three-hitter, which saw him strike out six and issue no walks, produced a game score of 87, the highest for a Twins pitcher since Scott Baker's 88 in that aforementioned 11-0 win over the Indians in 2009. Diamond's 87 is also the highest for a Twins southpaw since Johan Santana posted a 95 on Aug. 19, 2007. In that game, Santana struck out 17 in eight scoreless innings.

Diamond is the first Twins left-hander since Eric Milton on Aug. 1, 2002, to throw a shutout with no walks and no more than three hits allowed.

• In his third game with the Dodgers, Ramirez hit a two-run homer in the top of the 10th inning to give Los Angeles a two-run lead (and eventual win) over San Francisco. With the victory the Dodgers pulled to within two games of the Giants for first in the NL West. Before his two-run shot, Ramirez last hit a go-ahead (or winning) home run in extra innings on July 10, 2008, when he hit a solo shot against the Dodgers as a member of the Marlins.

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