Roger Schlueter

MLB Notebook: Miggy a beast with homer trio

MLB Notebook: Miggy a beast with homer trio

The first American League player to hit three home runs in a game was the Browns' Ken Williams, on April 22, 1922. Three years later, Williams was playing left field for St. Louis when he witnessed the third occurrence of the feat in AL history and the first Tigers player to hit three in a game: Ty Cobb. In a remarkable day at the plate, Detroit's center fielder homered in the first, second and eighth innings, singled twice, doubled once, scored four runs and drove in five.

Not bad for a man who, on that day, was 38 years and 138 days old. Cobb remains the sixth-oldest player in the league's history to hit three home runs in a game, while the title for the youngest to do it is held by another Tigers player: Al Kaline, who hit three at the age of 20 years and 119 days on April 17, 1955.

Sitting more toward the old end of the spectrum among the pack of Tigers three-homer guys is Miguel Cabrera, who -- at the age of 30 years and 31 days -- on Sunday put together his second career three-homer game, going 4-for-4 with five RBIs.

• Cabrera's first career three-homer game came on May 28, 2010. He is the fourth player in Tigers history to have multiple three-homer games, joining Cecil Fielder (three), Rocky Colavito (two) and Bobby Higginson (two).

• Cabrera has four games with four or more hits this season -- the most in the Majors. The four through 42 team games are the most for a Tigers player since Harvey Kuenn had four in 1955.

• Cabrera leads the AL in runs, hits, RBIs, batting, on-base, OPS and total bases, and is tied for fifth in home runs, is second in slugging, and is fourth in extra-base hits.

• Since the start of the 2012 season, Cabrera leads the Majors in hits, home runs, RBIs, total bases, extra-base hits, batting, slugging, OPS, wOBA and wRC+ (700 plate appearances minimum for the rate stats).

• Cabrera's 4-for-4 day pushed his batting average up to .387 -- the highest for a Tigers player through games on May 19 since 1979, when Steve Kemp was second in the AL with a .402 mark on that date.

• In Cabrera's first three-homer game, the Tigers lost 5-4 to the Athletics. With an 11-8 loss to the Rangers in this three-homer game, Cabrera is the eighth player to have multiple three-homer games in losses. Johnny Mize had four, while Babe Ruth, Ernie Banks, Dave Kingman, Glenn Davis, Joe Carter and Sammy Sosa also had two.

Phillies shock Chapman

Facing Aroldis Chapman and down 2-1 with one out in the bottom of the ninth, the Phillies got back-to-back home runs from Erik Kratz and Freddy Galvis to defeat the Reds, 3-2.

• Dating back to 1945, these two home runs marked the first time the Phillies hit back-to-back home runs in the ninth inning or later, with the first tying the contest and the second winning it. The Phils are the second team to do this in 2013, following the Reds on May 7 (who did it against the Braves' Craig Kimbrel).

• Philadelphia had last gotten two same-inning home runs in the ninth inning or later, with the first tying the game and the second winning the game, on April 23, 1959. In that win, Gene Freese hit a pinch-hit two-run home run off Juan Pizarro, and then, after two outs were recorded, Granny Hamner hit a walk-off homer -- also against Pizarro -- and the Phillies beat the Braves, 4-3.

Pirates blank Astros

Jeff Locke (seven innings, three hits) and two relievers combined on a three-hit shutout and the Pirates defeated the Astros, 1-0. Pittsburgh has six shutouts, with five of them coming on three or fewer hits. Dating back to 1916, those five are tied for the second most for any team, through 44 games. The 1968 Indians had eight for the most. The rest, all coming in with five: 1946 Yankees, 1952 Phillies, 1963 Dodgers, 1963 Twins, 1969 Reds, 2002 Red Sox and 2008 Rays.

Masterful peformance for Masterson

Justin Masterson allowed three hits in seven scoreless innings, struck out a season-high 11 batters, and picked up the win as the Indians improved to 17-4 in their past 21 contests.

• Masterson's line produced a game score of 80, one start after his four-hit shutout produced a score of 85. Masterson is the first Tribe right-hander with back-to-back game score efforts of at least 80 since Bert Blyleven in 1985.

• Masterson improved to 7-2 with a 2.83 ERA. He is the first Cleveland right-hander to have at least seven wins and an ERA that low at this point in the season (42 team games) since Gaylord Perry was 7-1 with a 1.55 ERA in 1974.

• Jason Kipnis went 2-for-4 with a double, raising his OPS in May to 1.086. The highest May OPS for an Indians player since 1916 with at least 100 plate appearances is 1.336 by Albert Belle in 1994. Kipnis has 14 extra-base hits this month; the most for any Indians player since 1916 in May is 21, a mark compiled by three players -- Hal Trosky, Earl Averill and Odell Hale -- in 1934.

Moore remains magnificent for Rays

Eight is Great
Numbers through the eighth win for the three left-handers in the past 20 seasons who began the year by winning their first eight decisions
Pitcher Year G ERA IP Hits K:BB
Wilson Alvarez 1994 10 2.39 71 2/3 64 42:28
Jimmy Key 1997 9 1.80 60 54 29:21
Matt Moore 2013 9 2.29 55 34 54:26

Southpaw Matt Moore improved to 8-0, allowing one run in seven innings in Tampa Bay's 3-1 victory over Baltimore. Moore is the third left-handed starter over the past 20 seasons to begin his year by winning his first eight decisions (the other two, Wilson Alvarez and Jimmy Key, saw their streaks end before they won their ninth decision).

• Evan Longoria went 1-for-4 in the Rays' victory, and has reached safely in 42 of the club's first 43 games of the season. Since 1916, Longoria is one of 35 players to reach safely in 42 of his team's first 43 games, with two others -- Frank Thomas in 1996 and Derek Jeter in '99 -- reaching safely in all 43. Longoria's 42 are the most for a Tampa Bay player through 43 games, eclipsing the mark -- 39 -- he set in 2010.

Padres snag extra bags

San Diego rolled with 15 hits (seven of them for extra bases) and five steals (three of them by Everth Cabrera), helping it defeat the Nationals, 13-4.

• Before this game, the Padres had never produced a line that included seven extra-base hits and five stolen bases; they are the first NL team to do it since the Pirates on Aug. 11, 2009.

• The three steals give Cabrera 62 since the start of the 2012 season -- the most in the Majors, ahead of Mike Trout's 57. Among the 31 players with at least 30 steals since the beginning of 2012, Cabrera's 88.57 stolen-base percentage is the fifth best.

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