On June 16, 1953, the Yankees -- holding onto an awe-inspiring 41-11 record -- hosted the St. Louis Browns and their much less impressive 19-38 mark for a Tuesday afternoon ballgame at Yankee Stadium. When 46-year-old Satchel Paige recorded the final five outs for the save (which included getting Mickey Mantle to strike out and Yogi Berra to ground out), the final outcome did more than just add another line to the wonderful mythology of Paige; it also gave the baseball world an outcome it had never seen -- the Yankees taking a loss in a Whitey Ford start.
Ford began his career in 1950, and in each of the first 22 times he was tasked with starting a game for the club, the Yankees remarkably emerged with a check in the win column.
In contrast, the Atlanta Braves didn't enjoy much instant success when they began handing the ball to Kris Medlen to open a game. Atlanta suffered a loss in four of Medlen's first seven starts, with the fourth loss coming in a 3-2 defeat against the Pirates on May 23, 2010.
But since then, the record has been spotless: 21 Medlen starts, 21 Braves victories, and a spot for Medlen just behind Ford.
Medlen allowed four hits in eight shutout innings and picked up the win as the Braves defeated the Marlins, 3-0.
Atlanta improved to 21-0 in Medlen's past 21 starts, a streak dating back to May 29, 2010. According to the Braves' press notes, no team has won as many consecutive starts by a pitcher since the Yankees won 22 straight starts by Ford from July 6, 1950, through June 12, 1953. (Ford did not pitch in the Majors in '51 or '52, due to military service).
Medlen improved to 8-0 with a 0.76 ERA in 10 starts and 70 2/3 innings since joining the starting rotation on July 31. In those 70 2/3 innings, Medlen has fanned 72 and walked nine.
In the second game of a doubleheader, Jeter went 1-for-4, with a single in the first inning representing his Major League-leading 200th hit of the season.
Jeter is the sixth player in baseball history to collect at least 200 hits in his age-38 (or older) season.
Oldest players with 200-plus hits
Jeter now has eight career 200-hit seasons, tying him with Willie Keeler, Lou Gehrig and Paul Waner for the fourth most in history. Pete Rose and Ichiro Suzuki are tied for the most with 10, and Ty Cobb had nine.
In the Yankees' doubleheader sweep of the Blue Jays, Ichiro went 7-for-8, with a perfect 4-for-4 effort in the second game.
The Major League record for hits in a doubleheader is nine, last accomplished by the Angels' Lee Thomas on Sept. 5, 1961.
Ichiro has had four or more hits in 49 career games, tying him with Hank Aaron for the 16th most since 1918. Ichiro has 235 career games with three or more hits -- the 26th most for any player since '18.
In addition to the four hits in the second game, Ichiro also stole four bases. He is the second Yankees player since 1918 to have a four-hit, four-steal game, following Rickey Henderson on April 11, 1988.
In the first game of the Nationals' doubleheader, Harper went 1-for-4 with his eighth triple of the season, which also represented his 49th extra-base hit of the year. That is the most in history for a player in his age-19 or younger season, eclipsing the 48 from Mel Ott in 1928 and Phil Cavarretta in '35.
Cabrera went 1-for-3 with a solo home run in Detroit's 6-2 win over Oakland. Cabrera leads the American League in batting (.333) and RBIs (130), and is now one home run shy of tying Josh Hamilton's total of 42 for the lead in that category. Cabrera has five home runs in his past five games.
Willingham drove in four runs and hit his 35th home run in a 4-for-5 night. With 110 RBIs to go along with the home run total, Willingham is the first Twins player to reach those two numbers since Harmon Killebrew hit 41 homers and drove in 113 runs in 1970.
Molina went 2-for-3 and hit his 20th home run, as the Cardinals blanked the Astros, 5-0.
Molina is the first Cardinals catcher since Ted Simmons in 1980 (21 home runs) to reach 20 homers.
Molina's OPS stands at .895 (.382 OBP, .513 slugging); the only Cardinals catcher to qualify for the batting title and finish with an OPS that high was Simmons in 1977, who owned a .908 OPS mark.
The Cardinals' victory also included Freese notching his 20th home run of the season. With Carlos Beltran's 29, Matt Holliday's 27 and Allen Craig's 21 home runs, the 2012 club is the 29th in National League history to feature at least five players with at least 20 long balls. The 1965 Braves and 2003 Braves share the league record, each with six players to reach the milestone. This season's Cardinals are the first in franchise history to have five.
The Orioles defeated the Mariners, 3-1, in 11 innings, improving to 15-2 in extra-inning games this season. The go-ahead runs were delivered by center fielder Adam Jones on a two-run homer in the top of the 11th.
Baltimore has reeled off 15 straight extra-inning wins; according to the Orioles' press notes (via the Elias Sports Bureau), the extra-inning winning streak is the longest in the Majors since the 1949 Indians captured 17 in a row.
Jones now has four extra-inning home runs this season, the most in the Majors since Nelson Cruz had five in 2010, and the most for any Orioles player since the team moved to Baltimore for the 1954 season.
Jim Johnson collected his 45th save of the year to tie Randy Myers' mark in 1997 for the Brewers/Browns/Orioles franchise record.
In an eight-inning, one-run no-decision, Hernandez fanned eight Orioles to reach 200 strikeouts for the fourth straight season.
Hernandez's four 200-strikeout seasons through his age-26 season tie him with eight others for the fourth most since 1893. Bert Blyleven had six, and Walter Johnson and Sam McDowell each had five. Joining Hernandez with four are Christy Mathewson, Bob Feller, Don Drysdale, Jim Maloney, Tom Seaver, Dwight Gooden, Roger Clemens and Kerry Wood.
Cain allowed one run in eight innings and picked up his career-high 15th victory of the season, as the Giants defeated the Rockies, 7-1. Cain owns a career mark of 84-78, with a 3.29 ERA that works out to a 123 ERA+. Since 1893, Cain is one of only 46 pitchers to have at least 150 decisions and at least a 120 ERA+ through his age-27 season. Among these 46 pitchers, Cain's .519 winning percentage is the fourth lowest.
Roger Schlueter is senior researcher for MLB Productions. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.