Roger Schlueter

MLB Notebook: Cruz channels Iron Horse

O's slugger records third seven-RBI game in rout

MLB Notebook: Cruz channels Iron Horse

At League Park in Cleveland on Sept. 9, 1936, Lou Gehrig -- batting in his customary No. 4 spot in the lineup -- hit his 44th home run of the year: a second-inning shot with the bases jammed that represented the Iron Horse's 21st career grand slam. It was a grand day for the '36 MVP, as Gehrig drove in three additional runs for his ninth (and final) career game with at least seven RBIs. No player -- either during Gehrig's days or in the decades following the conclusion of his extraordinary career -- has really come close to matching those nine.

Getting even one-third of the way to that total is something of an accomplishment; just ask Nelson Cruz. On the road against the Rays on Sunday, Baltimore's Nelson Cruz put on a show, homering twice and adding a triple in a seven-RBI day. Behind the effort, the Orioles defeated the Rays, 7-5.

Cruz now has three career games with at least seven RBIs (his previous two saw him drive in eight). He is the 22nd player since 1914 to have at least three of these big-time efforts.

The full list, organized by handedness: 

Left-handed hitters: Lou Gehrig (9), Ted Williams (6), Babe Ruth (4), Garret Anderson (4), Jason Giambi (4), Reggie Jackson (3).  

Right-handed hitters: Jimmie Foxx (5), Joe DiMaggio (5), Alex Rodriguez (5), Ralph Kiner (4), Dave Kingman (4), Gee Walker (3), Bob Johnson (3), Gil Hodges (3), Ernie Banks (3), Frank Robinson (3), Orlando Cepeda (3), Johnny Bench (3), Andres Galarraga (3), Nelson Cruz (3). 

Switch-hitters: Eddie Murray (3), Bernie Williams (3)

• Cruz is the first player since Colorado's Jason Giambi on May 19, 2011, to have a seven-RBI (or higher RBI) game and have his RBI total equal his team's run tally. In that effort, Giambi's Rockies defeated the Phillies, 7-1.

• Cruz is the seventh Browns/Orioles player since 1914 to have a game with at least seven RBIs and at least 12 total bases. He follows Goose Goslin (1932), Curt Blefary ('67), Murray ('79 and '85) and Cal Ripken, Jr. ('91 and '96). All but Goslin did this on the road.

Carrasco propelling Tribe's strong pitching
Behind Carlos Carrasco's 8 2/3 innings of four-hit shutout ball, the Indians blanked the White Sox, 2-0, to complete a three-game sweep. The Tribe owns a 2.31 ERA over its last 25 games (and are 17-8 over this stretch, which begans on Aug. 10), and Carrasco has played a significant role in this run of excellence. In six starts since Aug. 10, Carrasco is 4-0 with a 0.70 ERA and has 42 K's against four walks in 38 2/3 innings.

Royals with rare Big Apple shutouts
After limiting the Yankees to three hits in a 1-0 win Friday in the first game of a three-game set in New York, the Royals were back at it again on Sunday, as Yordano Ventura (six innings, three hits) and three relievers combined on a four-hitter in a 2-0 win. Before this series, the Royals had four previous road shutouts on four or fewer hits against the Yanks, with one apiece coming in 1981, '88, '91 and '93.

Wainwright following Smoltz's footsteps
Adam Wainwright went the distance on a seven-hitter and tied for the Major League lead in wins with his 17th as the Cardinals took care of business against the Brewers, 9-1. Since 2007 (his age-25 season), Wainwright is 114-65 with a 3.03 ERA (130 ERA+), and has 1,211 strikeouts in 1,440 2/3 innings. These numbers bear a lot of similarities to those produced by John Smoltz from his age-25 through age-32 seasons (1992-99 for the Braves right-hander).

Smoltz vs. Wainwright
Smoltz 115-71 3.18/131 3.17 1.159
Wainwright 114-65 3.03/130 3.14 1.168

Hit-22: Trout keeps making history
Mike Trout hit his 32nd homer of the year, added his 37th double, drove in his 101st and 102nd runs, and scored three times to reach 97 runs for the season.

• Trout's homer was the 94th of his career, ranking him sixth all-time among players through their age-22 season (he had been tied with Giancarlo Stanton). The only players with more: Mel Ott (115), Eddie Mathews (112), Alex Rodriguez (106), Tony Conigliaro (104) and Frank Robinson (98).

• Trout is on the cusp of becoming the seventh player to have in his age-22 season a 30-double, 30-homer, 100-run, 100-RBI season. The six previous are Jimmie Foxx in 1930, Joe DiMaggio in '37, Ted Williams in '41, Alex Rodriguez in '98, Albert Pujols in 2002 and Miguel Cabrera in '05.

• With the effort on Sunday, Trout reached 300 total bases for the third straight season; he joins Ted Williams and Vada Pinson as the only players to have a trio of years with at least 300 through an age-22 season.

V-Mart standing out among peers
In the Tigers' 6-1 win over the Giants. Victor Martinez went 1-for-4 with a double. He now has the slash line of .335/.405/.575 for the season. Martinez currently stands as the only qualifying player in the Majors to be at .300/.400/.500. The last season with just one player with that slash line was 1991, when Frank Thomas posted a .318/.453/.553 mark. The last season without any player was 1986. In 1930, 29 players in a 16-team league slashed .300/.400/.500, the highest mark in one season. Half of the Majors' 24 teams in 1894 had that slash line, and in 2000, 22 of the 30 clubs reached the mark.

Miggy's run production in rarefied air
Cabrera homered and drove in three runs to reach the 100-RBI plateau for the 11th time in his 12-year career. Cabrera only missed out on triple digits in his rookie year, when he debuted on June 20, 2003 and played in 87 games.

• Cabrera is the third player in history to have 11 100-RBI seasons through his first 12 years, joining Al Simmons and Albert Pujols.

• Cabrera's total of 1,360 RBIs stands as the fifth highest for a player through his first 12 seasons. Joe DiMaggio (1,466), Simmons (1,459), Gehrig (1,450) and Pujols (1,434) had more.

• Cabrera is the third player to have 11 100-RBI seasons through his age-31 season, joining Foxx and Rodriguez, who also have 11.

• Cabrera's total of 1,360 RBIs stands is fifth-highest for a player through his age-31 season. Foxx (1,625), Rodriguez (1,503), Mel Ott (1,465) and Gehrig (1,450) had more.

• Cabrera is the fifth player in history to have at least 11 consecutive 100-RBI seasons: Gehrig (13 straight from 1926-38), Foxx (13 straight from 1929-41), Rodriguez (13 straight from 1998-2010), Simmons (11 straight from 1924-34) and Cabrera (11 straight from 2004-14).

• In his rookie year, Cabrera drove in 62 runs in 87 games, or .71 RBIs per game. During his 11 straight 100-RBI seasons, he has averaged .76 RBIs per game.

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