MLB Notebook: Toronto duo could pace AL in HR, SB
In the same inning Thursday that Edwin Encarnacion hit his 40th home run to get to within one of Josh Hamilton's total for the American League lead, his Toronto teammate Rajai Davis stole his 43rd base of the season. That steal leaves Davis two behind Mike Trout for the most in the league, and gives the Blue Jays the opportunity to make a rare season-ending claim.
Since the AL's first year in 1901, only 10 teams have had the home run champ and the stolen-base king on their roster. The first of the 10 emerged in the AL's second year, when the Athletics' Socks Seybold led in home runs and Topsy Hartsel claimed the top mark in steals. The A's had another (more blandly named) duo do it in '05 (Harry Davis and Danny Hoffman), and then in '09, Detroit's Ty Cobb handled both chores himself.
The 1922 Browns -- with Ken Williams and George Sisler -- were the next to do it, and then the '31 Yankees followed when a couple of guys named Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig tied for the home run crown, while Ben Chapman paced the AL in stolen bases. The Yankees -- with Nick Etten and Snuffy Stirnweiss -- did it again in '44. And then it took another 37 years for it to happen.
In 1981, the Athletics' Tony Armas was one of four players to share the home run title, while Rickey Henderson finished with a comfortable lead in the steals department. The A's and Henderson did it yet again '91, this time with Jose Canseco sharing the home run crown. The '95 Indians followed, with Albert Belle (homers) and Kenny Lofton (steals) taking the honors, and then in '99, the Mariners, thanks to a trade in late April, got to show off the pair of Brian Hunter and Ken Griffey Jr. as leaders in steals and home runs, respectively.
That's it -- that's the group Encarnacion, Davis and the Blue Jays may get to join.
Encarnacion is the eighth Blue Jays player to reach 40 homers in a season, following Carlos Delgado (three seasons with 40-plus homers), Jose Bautista (two seasons), Jesse Barfield, George Bell , Canseco, Shawn Green and Tony Batista. Those eight players since 1977 (Toronto's first season) are the most for any team in the Majors in this span.
Manny Machado's game-ending RBI single in the bottom of the 14th gave Baltimore its second consecutive walk-off win against the Rays, improved the Orioles' record in one-run games to 27-7, and gave the club its 13th straight extra-inning victory.
Machado's single represented the seventh walk-off hit for the Orioles this season, tying them with the White Sox for the fifth most in the Majors. Interestingly, the O's have not yielded a walk-off hit all season. With Thursday's win, Baltimore also improved to 64-0 when leading after seven innings.
The Orioles' .794 winning percentage in one-run games would be the best in baseball history. Their winning streak in extra-inning games is the longest in franchise history, and the longest in the Majors since the 1995 Indians won 13 in a row (they were 13-0 for the season). Overall, Baltimore is a Major League-best 13-2 in extra-inning affairs and has outscored the opposition 26-5 in extra frames.
The O's are 26-13 since the start of August -- the second-best record in the Majors behind the Nationals' 28-13 mark.
Yankees captain Derek Jeter's RBI single in the top of the seventh vs. the Red Sox marked his 3,283rd hit, tying him with Willie Mays for 10th on the all-time list (according to Elias).
Mays' final hit -- also an RBI single -- came on Aug. 29, 1973, when he was 42 years and 115 days old. Jeter is 38 years and 79 days old, and his 3,283 hits are the fifth most in history for any player through his age-38 season. The top four: Cobb (3,821), Hank Aaron (3,391), Pete Rose (3,372) and Tris Speaker (3,292).
Making his first start since Aug. 24, Lance Lynn allowed one run and five hits in six innings and won his 15th game as the Cardinals defeated the Dodgers, 2-1.
In addition to Lynn's 15 victories, the St. Louis staff also has Kyle Lohse with 14, and Adam Wainwright and Jake Westbrook with 13 wins each. The most recent time St. Louis had four pitchers with at least 13 wins was in 2005, when the club had five -- Chris Carpenter, Jason Marquis, Matt Morris, Mark Mulder and Jeff Suppan.
Here and there
Jered Weaver allowed two hits in seven shutout innings and picked up the win as the Angels blanked the Athletics, 6-0. Weaver, who improved to 17-4 with his first victory since Aug. 22, struck out nine, walked one and helped the Angels to their Major League-leading 16th team shutout. The 16 are the most for the club since the 1989 Angels had 20.
After Ezequiel Carrera hit a solo homer to lead off the top of the ninth, Jason Kipnis hit a two-run shot to turn a 4-3 Indians deficit into a 5-4 lead and win. The homers came against the Rangers' Joe Nathan, whose franchise-record streak of 31 consecutive saves came to an end.
Minnesota's Josh Willingham hit a solo home run and drove in another run on a bases-loaded walk, giving him 34 home runs, 105 RBIs and 72 walks on the season. Willingham is the fourth player in Senators/Twins history to have a 30-homer, 100-RBI, 70-walk season. Roy Sievers, in 1957, was the first to do it. Harmon Killebrew then posted eight such years, and Justin Morneau had one, in 2009.
The Royals' Alex Gordon collected his AL-leading 47th double. The 47 also tied Gordon with Jeff Francoeur (2011) for the third most in franchise history. Hal McRae had 54 in 1977, and Billy Butler compiled 51 in 2009.
Roger Schlueter is senior researcher for MLB Productions. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.