The 1996 Seattle Mariners most common batting order featured Alex Rodriguez batting second, Ken Griffey, Jr. in the third slot, and Edgar Martinez batting cleanup. That season, the trio combined for 248 extra-base hits in a total of 1,949 plate appearances, for an extra-base hit percentage of 12.72. Each of the three qualified for the batting title and each had an extra-base hit percentage of at least 12.00, making that Mariners team the only club in baseball history to have three players able to satisfy those two requirements.
It remains to be seen if the 2012 Reds can get three of their players to reach the necessary plate appearances and keep up their extra-base hit pace to join the '96 Mariners. But it's kind of fun to realize that right now, Cincinnati's Joey Votto, Jay Bruce, Ryan Ludwick and Todd Frazier have combined for 193 extra-base hits in 1,514 plate appearances for a percentage (12.75) just a little bit better than the one produced by the trio of Mariners sluggers 16 years ago.
Highlights from Friday's action
Frazier, Bruce and Ludwick all homered as the Reds defeated the Cubs 7-3. Frazier owns an extra-base hit percentage of 12.27, while Bruce is at 12.02 and Ludwick is at 13.35. They are three of only 11 players in the Majors with at least 300 plate appearances and an XBH percentage of at least 12.00. Their injured teammate -- Votto -- is also one of the 11.
Yovani Gallardo fanned nine in seven innings and allowed one run, improving to 12-8 on the season. The Brewers' right-hander has struck out 765 batters in 732 2/3 innings since the start of the 2009 season. For all pitchers who have thrown at least 700 innings since then, Gallardo's K/9 of 9.40 is the second highest in the Majors. Tim Lincecum owns a rate of 9.72 strikeouts for every nine innings.
Giancarlo Stanton hit a 494-foot home run -- the longest of the season -- helping the Marlins to a 6-5 win over the Rockies at Coors Field. Stanton, who has homered in all five games he has played at the ballpark, has 79 career home runs. That total ties him with Boog Powell for the 14th most for any player through his age-22 season.
The Rays set a season high with 17 hits and defeated Jered Weaver and the Angels 12-3.
Tampa Bay's 17 hits included seven for extra bases, with three homers.
The Rays had entered the game with the second lowest team OPS in the AL, and in Weaver were facing the pitcher with the lowest OPS-against in the league.
The seven extra-base hits tied a season high for the Rays. The three homers in this contest gave the club back-to-back games with three or more for the first time all season.
The Rays, who entered Saturday with the best record among any of the non division-leading teams in the AL, have won 18 of their past 27 games. During this stretch, the team ERA is 1.71.
The Rays have won seven of eight against the Angels this season.
Ben Zobrist hit his 14th home run of the season in a two-hit, one-walk performance. Zobrist, who is second in the AL in walks with 73, has 48 extra-base hits and 73 strikeouts this year. He is one of four players this season to have at least 45 extra-base hits and either have more walks than strikeouts or an equal number of walks and strikeouts. Votto (50 extra-base hits), Prince Fielder (46 extra-base hits) and David Ortiz (48 extra-base hits) all have more walks than K's.
The Rays' bullpen threw three scoreless innings to secure a victory for James Shields. Tampa Bay's bullpen ERA is the second lowest in the AL (behind the A's). In addition, Rays relievers own the lowest collective WHIP, the lowest OPS against, and the highest strikeout to walk ratio.
In the Yankees 6-4 win over the Red Sox, the club hit five home runs. Nick Swisher homered twice, and Derek Jeter hit his 250th career home run.
Swisher homered from both sides of the plate -- the 12th time in his career he's done that. The 12 are the second most in baseball history, one behind the total from his current teammate Mark Teixeira. Eddie Murray and Chili Davis are tied for the third most, with 11.
Jeter is one of three players with 75 percent of their career games at shortstop and at least 250 homers. Cal Ripken, Jr. had 431 (345 as a shortstop) and Miguel Tejada had 304 (291 as a shortstop). Jeter has hit 246 of his 250 homers while playing shortstop.
Jeter's home run was his 10th of the season, giving the Yankees 10 players with at least 10 long balls. That total is tied for the second most in history, and matches the franchise record. The 2004 Tigers had 11 players with at least 10, while the following teams had 10 players reach double digits: 1998 Yankees, 1998 Orioles, 1999 Tigers, 1999 Reds, 2000 Reds, 2000 Orioles, 2004 Rangers, 2006 Devil Rays, 2009 Indians.
Prince Fielder homered twice (giving him 22 for the season) and Miguel Cabrera hit his 31st homer, as Detroit defeated Baltimore, 5-3.
This was the fifth time this season the duo has homered in the same game.
Cabrera and Fielder have combined for 53 home runs -- tied for the seventh most among a pair of teammates in the Majors.
Combined Home Runs
Edwin Encarnacion and Jose Bautista
Adam Dunn and A.J. Pierzynski
Curtis Granderson and Robinson Cano
Mark Trumbo and Albert Pujols
Ryan Braun and Corey Hart
Curtis Granderson and Teixeira
Josh Hamilton and Adrian Beltre
Miguel Cabrera and Fielder
Cabrera and Fielder have combined for 192 RBIs this season -- the most among a pair of teammates in the Majors.
Michael Morse hit Washington's first grand slam of the season as the Nationals defeated the Mets, 6-4. The Tigers and the Twins are the only two teams without a slam this year.
In his 96th career game, Bryce Harper went 2-for-3 with a two-run homer, his 11th home run of the season. Those 11 are the fifth most ever for a player in his age-19 season or younger. Harper is two behind Mickey Mantle, who hit 13 in 96 games in 1951.
Mickey Mantle's 1951 (96 games) versus Bryce Harper in his first 96 Games
Yu Darvish allowed three runs in a loss to the Blue Jays, but also struck out 10 for his Major League-leading seventh double-digit strikeout game of the season.
The seven double-digit strikeout games tie a Senators/Rangers franchise rookie record, set by Jim Bibby in 1973.
Darvish is averaging 10.48 K's per nine innings -- the Rangers' franchise record for the highest K rate in a season is Nolan Ryan's 11.32 in 1989.
Roger Schlueter is senior researcher for MLB Productions. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.