MLB.com Columnist

Roger Schlueter

MLB Notebook: Reds streaking through July

MLB Notebook: Reds streaking through July

MLB Notebook: Reds streaking through July
During the 2008 season, the Reds' longest winning streak was six games -- a nice run of success, but not nearly enough for a club who finished in fifth place in the National League Central, 23 1/2 games behind the first-place Cubs.

That winning streak from May 12-18 came in the same month made notable for the debut of Jay Bruce. And what a debut it was. On May 27, the 21-year-old collected three hits, drove in two runs and walked twice. The Majors had seen only three multi-hit, multi-RBI, multi-walk debuts in the previous 90 seasons, giving Reds fans -- who just nine months earlier had witnessed the debut of Joey Votto -- hope that better seasons (and longer winning streaks) were on the horizon.

Since then, Bruce has hit 120 home runs -- placing him in select company -- Votto has won an NL MVP Award and the Reds have enjoyed eight winning streaks of at least six games, including one that has them closing in on some history.

Reds

The Reds defeated the Rockies, 7-2, for their 10th straight win. The 10-game winning streak ties them with the Yankees for the longest winning streak of the season, and it represents the longest for Cincinnati since 1999.

• This latest run of success marks the 19th time in franchise history the club has won at least 10 in a row:

• 14-game streak: 1899
• 13-game streak: 1890
• 12-game streaks: 1939, 1957
• 11-game streaks: 1894, 1896
• 10-game streaks: 1882, 1884, 1887, 1888, 1895, 1897, 1919, 1939, 1943, 1975, 1998, 1999, 2012

Bruce hit his 20th home run of the season, giving him 120 in his five-year career. Bruce joined Frank Robinson as the only players in Reds history to reach 20 homers in each of their first five seasons. Robinson would go on to hit 20 in each of his 10 seasons with Cincinnati.

Overall, Bruce is the 16th player in history to hit at least 20 in each of his first five years. The first 15: Bob Johnson, Joe DiMaggio, Ted Williams, Ralph Kiner, Eddie Mathews, Robinson, Orlando Cepeda, Tony Conigliaro, Eddie Murray, Darryl Strawberry, Pete Incaviglia, Albert Pujols, Mark Teixeira, Dan Uggla and Ryan Braun.

Bruce's 120 homers through his first five seasons are the third most in Reds history, behind 165 from Robinson and 158 from Adam Dunn.

Chen

Wei-Yin Chen struck out 12 in 5 2/3 innings and picked up the win as the Orioles defeated the Athletics, 6-1.

1918-2012: 12+ K's in a Start of 5.2 Innings or Less
Pitcher Date K's IP
J.R. Richard June 9, 1978 12 5.1
Kevin Appier May 25, 1994 13 5.2
Curt Schilling June 28, 1997 12 5.2
Cole Hamels* July 24, 2006 12 5.1
Joba Chamberlain May 5, 2009 12 5.2
Max Scherzer May 30, 2010 14 5.2
Wei-Yin Chen* July 29, 2012 12 5.2
*left-hander

Baltimore's southpaw is the first Orioles left-hander to reach 12 K's in a game since Erik Bedard on July 7, 2007. He is also the seventh pitcher (and second left-hander) since 1918 to have at least 12 K's in an outing less than six full innings.

Braves-Phillies

Chipper Jones went 2-for-4 with a homer in the Braves' 6-2 win over the Phillies. The home run represented the 1,042nd extra-base hit of his career, moving Jones past Pete Rose into sole possession of the second-most extra-base hits by a switch-hitter. Jones trails only Eddie Murray, who had 1,099.

Roy Halladay struck out seven to reach and pass the 2,000-strikeout milestone. Halladay is the 67th pitcher in history to fan at least 2,000 batters. Among those 67, Halladay's career mark of 3.74 strikeouts for every walk currently ranks third behind Curt Schilling's 4.38 and Pedro Martinez's 4.15.

Among the 67 2,000-strikeout pitchers, Halladay's career ERA+ of 136 is currently sixth best. The five pitchers ahead of him: Martinez (154), Lefty Grove (148), Walter Johnson (147), Roger Clemens (143) and Cy Young (138).

Pirates

The Pirates' Garrett Jones homered in a 9-5 loss to the Astros, giving Pittsburgh home runs in 19 consecutive road games. It is the longest streak this season, and the longest in the NL since the 2000 Astros had a 20-game streak.

Maholm

Cubs left-hander Paul Maholm allowed one run in 6 2/3 innings in a no-decision during their 4-2 win over the Cardinals in 10 innings. In each of his past six starts, Maholm has finished with at least six innings and no more than one run allowed, which is tied for the longest streak in the live-ball era for a Cubs pitcher. In 1952, Warren Hacker set the mark, which was matched in 2003 by Mark Prior.

Rays

Jeremy Hellickson (two hits allowed in six innings) and three Rays relievers combined on a four-hit shutout as the Rays blanked the Angels, 2-0. This effort followed a combined five-hit shutout on Saturday, led by Matt Moore. These two games marked the third time in franchise history Tampa Bay put together consecutive shutouts on five or fewer hits against the same team. The Rays did it against the Mariners in 2003, and they did it against the Angels in '08.

Kershaw

Clayton Kershaw threw a five-hitter for his second shutout in 2012 in the Dodgers' 4-0 win over the Giants. With the performance, Kershaw lowered his ERA to 2.95 for the season. Kershaw -- in his age-24 season -- has qualified for the ERA title and finished the year with a sub-3.00 ERA in each of the past three seasons. If he finishes under 3.00 again in 2012, he will join Bert Blyleven as the only live-ball era pitchers to have four such campaigns through their age-24 season.

Mets

R.A. Dickey allowed one unearned run in seven innings, and picked up his 14th win as the Mets beat the D-backs, 5-1. Dickey, who shares the Major League lead in victories with David Price, has 11 games this season with at least seven innings pitched and no more than one run allowed. The Mariners' Felix Hernandez leads the Majors with 12. The most such starts in a season for a Mets pitcher is 18, recorded by Dwight Gooden in 1985.

The Mets' Daniel Murphy collected his 32nd double of the year, which ranks third in the NL, while teammate David Wright picked up his 31st double and sits in fourth place. The Mets have had a pair of players with 40-plus doubles in only one season in the franchise's history: 2008, when Wright had 42 and Carlos Beltran had 40.

Red Sox

The Red Sox defeated the Yankees, 3-2, in 10 innings, with Pedro Ciriaco contributing a go-ahead RBI single in the top of the 10th. It was the second consecutive game which saw Ciriaco drive in the go-ahead run on a hit in the ninth inning or later. Over the past 50 seasons, Ciriaco is the only Red Sox player to have two such hits against the Yankees in the same season.

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