A's leadoff man first to homer in four straight games for team since 1937
By Roger Schlueter
Before the 2013 season, the last time a player batting leadoff for the Athletics homered in four consecutive games, the A's franchise was still in Philadelphia, the AL MVP was Charlie Gehringer, and the Yankees were on their way to winning their second consecutive World Series title. As one might expect, the Yankees had a fair amount of representation in MVP voting that season, with members of that club occupying five of the top nine spots.
The Athletics had one player receive votes -- outfielder Wally Moses, who had a superb offensive season, with 86 extra-base hits (third most in the AL) and 357 total bases (fourth most in the league). And although Moses spent some time hitting second and third in the Athletics' lineup that season, his best work came in the leadoff spot. Among all Major League players with at least 50 games as a leadoff hitter that year, Moses had the highest on-base percentage and slugging percentage from that spot, owned the second-highest batting average while batting leadoff, and had the second-most doubles and second-most home runs from the top spot in the order. Four of his 14 home runs as a leadoff hitter came in a short stretch in July, when Moses -- in 1937 -- became the first AL leadoff hitter in the live-ball era to homer in four straight games.
• Coco Crisp and the Athletics continued their predilection for the long ball, with Crisp homering in his fourth straight game and Oakland tallying three homers in its win over the Angels.
Dating back to 1916, Crisp became the 16th leadoff hitter to homer in four consecutive games. He is the second one in as many years to do it, after Baltimore's Nolan Reimold. Crisp currently leads the AL in runs, doubles, total bases and extra-base hits.
Oakland is tied for the Major League lead with 15 home runs. The last season to see the A's collect as many as 15 through their first eight games was in 1994.
Tigers' bats doing damage
• Leading the way in the Tigers' 7-3 victory over the Blue Jays, Miguel Cabrera collected four hits (including his first home run of the year) and drove in four runs. This was the ninth time Cabrera has had a game with at least four hits and four RBIs. Since his debut in 2003, those nine are the most in the Majors, ahead of the eight by Albert Pujols and Mark Teixeira.
The four-hit game is the second of the season for Cabrera, making him the only Tigers player since 1916 to have a pair through the first seven games of the season.
• Batting second in the lineup, the Tigers' Torii Hunter collected three hits in five at-bats, with his third hit -- a sixth-inning single -- representing the 2,000th hit of his career.
Hunter is the 272nd player in history with 2,000 hits, and one of 101 players to have spent at least 75 percent of their time in the outfield to have reached the milestone. Hunter, who spent 11 years with the Twins and then five with the Angels before joining the Tigers for the 2013 season, is the 87th player in AL history to collect 2,000 hits.
Entering the 2012 season, Hunter was a career .207 hitter (36-for-174) when batting second. Since then, he is 136-for-389 (.350) from the No. 2 spot in the lineup.
Choo's hot streak
Setting the table
Leadoff hitters to reach safely twice in team's first eight games of the season
• Shin-Soo Choo was 2-for-4 in the Reds' 5-1 loss to the Cardinals on Tuesday. He is one of 12 leadoff hitters since 1916 to twice reach safely in each of his team's first eight games of the season. Choo currently is sitting on a .512 on-base percentage and a 1.239 OPS.
Here and there
• The Padres defeated the Dodgers, 9-3, with Luke Gregerson throwing one pitch, recording one out and coming away with the win. The last time a Padres pitcher threw only a single pitch in an appearance and picked up a win was April 13, 2009, and Edward Mujica was the author of the quick-work win. Last season, five pitchers had one-pitch wins.
• The Yankees used 11 extra-base hits (six doubles and five home runs) to help them defeat the Indians, 14-1, on Tuesday. Robinson Cano had three, with a pair of doubles and a home run. This output marked the 10th time since 1916 the Yankees collected at least 11 extra-base hits on the road.
Cano is eight games into his ninth Major League season. With 545 extra-base hits, he already has the most in history for any second baseman through his first nine years.
• John Buck (2-for-4, fourth-inning home run) became the third player in Mets history to homer in four of the team's first eight games. Darryl Strawberry went deep in five of the first eight in 1987, and in 1976, Dave Kingman had a home run in four of the Mets' first eight games.
• Cliff Lee came within an out of a complete game and picked up his second win of the season. Lee fanned six and issued no walks, while in his first start this season, he struck out eight with no walks. He is one of three pitchers in 2013 to open the year with back-to-back starts with at least six strikeouts and no walks in each outing. The Cardinals' Adam Wainwright and the Royals' James Shields are the other two.
Looking ahead to Lee's next start (or the next starts for either of the other two), no pitcher in the live-ball era has opened his season with three consecutive starts like this.
• The Rangers' Nick Tepesch (7 1/3 innings, four hits, one run) became the fourth pitcher in franchise history to go at least seven innings, allow no more than one run and come away with a win in his Major League debut. Don Loun (1964) and Joe Coleman (1965) did it while the team was playing in Washington, and Brian Sikorski did it for Texas in 2000.
• In the Royals' 7-4 win, leadoff hitter Alex Gordon tripled, singled and scored twice. Gordon has reached safely in all eight Royals games this season, making him the first Kansas City leadoff hitter to accomplish that since Willie Wilson in 1988. The other Royals to do it were George Brett, in 1977 and 1979, and Wilson in 1985.
• Playing in his 212th career game, Jose Altuve collected four hits (his third four-hit game) and raised his career hit total to 240. In Astros history, those 240 hits through a player's first 212 games are the fourth most, behind the totals built by Hunter Pence (258), Brian Hunter (246) and Terry Puhl (243).
• Seattle's Michael Morse hit his sixth homer to tie the Braves' Justin Upton for the Major League lead. Morse tied Jim Presley (1985) and Ken Griffey Jr. (1997) for the team record for the most home runs through nine games.
Roger Schlueter is senior researcher for MLB Productions. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.