MLB.com Columnist

Roger Schlueter

MLB Notebook: Victorino's night one for the ages

MLB Notebook: Victorino's night one for the ages

On Aug. 4, 1921, in Chicago, Braves right fielder Billy Southworth had himself a whale of a day at the plate, contributing three doubles and a home run to Boston's 13-5 win over the Cubs. Southworth, who set a career high with the four extra-base hits and another with seven RBIs, also had a walk thrown into the mix and became the first right fielder in the live-ball era to have a game in which he reached safely at least five times, collected at least three extra-base hits and drove in at least seven runs.

No American League right fielder would hit these numbers in a game until the A's Reggie Jackson did it during a drubbing of the Red Sox on June 14, 1969, and no Red Sox right fielder would accomplish the feat until Dwight Evans showcased his many skills on Aug. 13, 1988.

In that game, Evans -- who would play more games in right field than any other player in Boston's history -- hit a two-run homer in the first, singled in the fifth, clubbed a two-run home run in the sixth, walked in the seventh and drove in three runs with a bases-loaded triple in the eighth.

Evans was playing in his 17th season with the Red Sox that year. Shane Victorino, who became the latest right fielder to have a day with the aforementioned numbers on Tuesday, hasn't spent quite so much time in a Red Sox uniform, with his exceptional performance coming in his 99th game with the club. 

Victorino homered twice, doubled and set a career high with seven RBIs as the Red Sox rolled over the Orioles, 13-2.

  • Dating back to 1916, Victorino is the second Red Sox No. 2 hitter to collect seven RBIs in a game and the first to do it while also collecting three extra-base hits. On Sept. 21, 1963, Roman Mejias had a pair of home runs and seven RBIs in the second game of a doubleheader. Across the Majors, Victorino is the 13th player since 1916 -- and the first since Corey Hart on May 23, 2011 -- to have a seven-RBI, three-extra-base-hit game from the two-hole.
  • Victorino also reached via a walk and a hit-by-pitch. He is the 75th player since 1916 to have a game in which he reached safely at least five times, collected at least three extra-base hits and drove in at least seven runs. Among this group, two others -- Kevin Seitzer and Bobby Higginson -- did it while batting second. Victorino is the 12th right fielder (regardless of batting position) since 1916 to have a game with these numbers and the third Red Sox right fielder to do it, joining Evans and Tom Brunansky (May 19, 1990).
  • Boston collected eight extra-base hits in the game. The Red Sox -- who lead the AL in extra-base hits -- have eight games this season with at least eight. That leads the Majors. Last season, they had the most such games -- eight -- and in 2011, their 10 led the Majors.

Soriano socking it

Alfonso Soriano hit a pair of home runs and drove in four runs. With this latest effort, Soriano has hit 11 homers and driven in 33 runs in 30 games since joining the Yankees.

  • Soriano has six games with four or more RBIs this season (four with the Yanks). Those six tie him with Chris Davis for the most in the Majors.
  • Soriano leads the Majors with six multihomer games.
  • Soriano's second home run of the game was the 400th of his career, making him the 51st player in history to reach the milestone. Of the 51, Soriano has the fifth-most stolen bases -- 285. Those with more thefts: Barry Bonds (514), Willie Mays (338), Alex Rodriguez (320) and Andre Dawson (314).

Braves' bullpen tough to beat

The Braves got 3 1/3 innings of one-hit ball from their bullpen to support Alex Wood (5 2/3 innings, five hits) as Atlanta blanked Cleveland, 2-0. The Braves improved to 79-52: the best record in the Majors and the team's most wins through 131 games since 2003.

PS: You can't hit us
Since 1988, four bullpens have finished a season with an OPS below Atlanta's bullpen's current OPS-against of .596.
Bullpen OPS-Against IP
1989 A's 0.562 428 1/3
1990 A's 0.577 417 1/3
2003 Dodgers 0.582 472 2/3
1988 Dodgers 0.592 433
2013 Braves 0.596 374 2/3
  • Atlanta's bullpen owns a 2.40 ERA (leads Majors). No relief corps has finished that low since the 1990 Athletics.
  • Atlanta's relievers own a combined .596 OPS against. Since 1988, four bullpens have finished a season with a mark that low.

Niese's nifty night

Jonathon Niese threw a three-hitter for his second career shutout, blanking the Phillies and helping the Mets to a 5-0 victory.

  • Before Niese, the last Mets southpaw to shut out the Phils on three or fewer hits was Sid Fernandez on Sept. 26, 1989.
  • Niese also drove in three runs. Before him, only one Mets pitcher had enjoyed a three-RBI day at the plate while producing a shutout on the mound: Pete Falcone on Sept. 29, 1981, also against the Phillies. In that game, Falcone delivered a home run and three RBIs and held Philadelphia to four hits.

Around the Majors

Flying High in Summer
Cardinals with five-plus wins, zero losses and an ERA at or below 2.08 in August
Pitcher Year Wins ERA
Jesse Haines 1927 6 1.12
Bob Bowman 1939 5 * 1.15
Mort Cooper 1944 6 2.07
Joe Magrane 1989 6 2.08
Joe Kelly 2013 5 2.08
* 3 wins in relief

Cardinals right-hander Joe Kelly allowed one run in six innings and improved to 5-0 with a 2.08 ERA in six August starts. The Cards, who have won each of Kelly's six starts in August, have seen the 25-year-old become the fifth pitcher since 1916 to have an August with at least five wins, no losses and an ERA no higher than 2.08 for the team.

Arizona's Martin Prado went 2-for-4 with a double and is now hitting .369 in August. Prado -- who is leading the Majors with 38 hits in August -- is tied for having the most in this particular month for the D-backs, sharing the top mark with Luis Gonzalez (1999) and Orlando Hudson (2006).

Travis Wood got the better of Clayton Kershaw, and the Cubs defeated the Dodgers, 3-2. Wood -- who allowed one run in seven innings -- improved to 8-10 and lowered his ERA to 3.09, which currently works out to an ERA+ of 125. Only two Cubs qualifying southpaws -- Ken Holtzman (132 in 1970) and Ted Lilly (144 in 2009) -- since 1969 have finished a season with an ERA+ of at least 125.

Kershaw punched out nine Cubs, moving his career total to 1,171. Since 1893, that total is the 10th highest for any pitcher through his age-25 season. Christy Mathewson is directly ahead of him, with 1,213. Of the nine pitchers ahead of Kershaw, two are left-handers: Sam McDowell (1,384) and Fernando Valenzuela (1,274). Among this top 10, Kershaw's 1,148 innings are the fewest, and his 146 ERA+ is the second highest, behind Walter Johnson's 176. Since five of the top 10 have been referenced, the other five are Bert Blyleven, Dwight Gooden, Felix Hernandez, Don Drysdale and Bob Feller.

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