Elias Says: August 3, 2017

Dodgers’ amazing streak comes to an end

The Braves defeated the Dodgers on Wednesday, 5–3, ending one of the most remarkable streaks in major-league history. The Dodgers, who had leads of 1–0 and 3–2, had won the previous 53 games in which they had a lead at any point, since losing after leading in San Francisco on May 15.

That was the longest streak of wins in games with a lead in major-league history, by 10 games. In July, the Dodgers broke the record established by the 1906 Cubs, who had a streak of 43 consecutive wins in that situation. That Cubs team from 111 years ago––which won 116 games, a major-league record since tied by the 2001 Mariners––included four Hall of Famers: the renowned trio of Joe Tinker, Johnny Evers, and Frank Chance, and pitcher Mordecai “Three Finger” Brown, who was credited with 10 of those 43 wins.

Between the 1906 Cubs and 2017 Dodgers no team won even 33 straight games after taking a lead: meaning no team in those 111 years came within 10 games of the Cubs’ streak.

Flowers power wins the day

Tyler Flowers had the big hit for the Braves on Wednesday, a two-run pinch-hit home run in the eighth inning. Flowers entered the at-bat 1-for-17 as a pinch-hitter in his major-league career, without an RBI, let alone a home run.

Atlanta has hit six pinch-hit homers this season, tied with San Diego for the most in the major leagues, and all six Braves blasts have come since June 19. No other major-league team has more than two pinch-hit homers since that date.

Big 3 all lose

The Dodgers, Astros and Nationals all lost on Wednesday. It was only the fourth time this season, and the first time since May 20, that all three of those teams were defeated on the same day.

Santana twirls another gem

Ervin Santana threw his fifth complete game of the season, a four-hitter, in the Twins’ 5–2 win in San Diego on Wednesday. In four of those complete games he’s allowed fewer than five hits, tying the highest total for any major league pitcher over the last six seasons (2012 to date). Clayton Kershaw had four in 2014 and Jake Arrieta had four in 2015.

Santana is 3–0 with a 1.40 ERA in five starts in National League parks over the last two seasons, including a four-hit shutout in San Francisco on June 9 this season.

Andrus has found his power stroke

Elvis Andrus hit his 15th home run of the season in the Rangers’ win over the Mariners on Wednesday, matching his total from the last two seasons combined. Andrus entered this season with 35 home runs in 1221 major-league games. It’s the first 15-homer season by a player who entered the year with at least 1000 games played and fewer than 40 homers since the Cardinals’ Red Schoendienst knocked 15 homers in 1953, nearly half of his previous career total (31 in 1140 games).

Molina enjoys Miller time

Yadier Molina hit two home runs in the Cardinals win in Milwaukee on Wednesday, tying a career high. Molina entered this year with only two multi-homer games (one in 2007, the other in 2011), but he’s now done it twice this year; he had two blasts against the Cubs on May 14. Molina has now hit 12 homers at Miller Park, including his two-homer games in 2007 and on Wednesday, his highest total at any road venue.

Iglesias works overtime

Raisel Iglesias closed out the Reds’ win over the Pirates on Wednesday with six outs of scoreless relief, for his fifth two-inning save of the season. That ties the most two-inning saves over the last 17 seasons (2001 to date); the only other pitchers with five in a season over that time were Aquilino Lopez for Toronto in 2003 and Joakim Soria for Kansas City in 2009.

Orioles rotation takes an unexpected turn

Jeremy Hellickson turned in the latest strong performance by an Orioles starting pitcher, throwing seven scoreless innings in his Birds debut on Wednesday. Orioles starting pitchers are 4–0 with a 0.76 ERA over their last five games, lowering their season ERA to 5.65 from 5.98. (Immediately before this stretch, Baltimore’s starters had a 7.81 ERA over their previous 43 games.) The only other American League team whose starters had an ERA under 1.00 over a five-game stretch this season was the Royals, in April.

Morrison’s surprising homer

The Rays ended Dallas Keuchel’s winning streak with a 3–0 victory on Wednesday in which Logan Morrison hit a two-run home run in the first inning. Over the last three seasons, the only other left-handed batters to homer off Keuchel at Minute Maid Park were Kyle Seager and Robinson Cano in the same game, on May 7, 2016. Before Morrison, no lefty had homered in Houston off Keuchel with a man on base since Josh Hamilton did so on April 5, 2014.

Mets pen saves the day

The Rockies jumped out to a 5-0 lead on the Mets on Wednesday, but New York scored 10 unanswered runs to go along with six innings of scoreless relief. That’s the longest scoreless relief outing at Coors Field by a visiting bullpen in over seven years, since the Padres’ pen had an eight-inning, no-run performance there on April 10, 2010.

It was the 64th time that a team has lost at Coors Field after leading by five or more runs since the venue opened in 1995. That’s 15 more such losses than at any other stadium over the last 23 seasons.

Tigers blank Yanks

Jordan Zimmerman threw seven scoreless innings and then after a lengthy rain delay two relievers completed the Detroit’s shutout at Yankee Stadium. The Yankees entered the game as the only major-league team that had not suffered a shutout at home this season.

It was Detroit’s first regular-season road shutout against the Yankees since Walt Terrell blanked his former team on August 10, 1991, a span of 111 games (although the Tigers won Game 2 of the 2012 ALCS in the Bronx, 3–0). That had been tied for the second-longest current streak of games without a regular-season road shutout against one opponent. The Mariners have gone 137 games without a shutout in Cleveland (since 1987) and the Indians have a 111-game streak against the Rangers (dating back to 1993).

Angels match interleague record

The Angels defeated the Phillies on Wednesday for their 11th straight win over Philadelphia, matching the longest team-versus-team interleague winning streak. The other 11-game streaks were by the Nationals against the Mariners (2005 to 2014) and by the Athletics over the Pirates (2002 to 2013).

Momentum, meet today’s starting pitcher

The Diamondbacks blanked the Cubs on Wednesday, 3–0, after losing to Chicago on Tuesday, 16–4. It’s the second time this season that a team shut out an opponent after allowing 15 or more runs to that team the previous day. The Tigers defeated the Mariners on April 25, 19–9, then Seattle won the next day, 8–0. There was only one such instance over the previous four seasons (Tampa Bay against Washington in 2015).

Happ ends on a high note

J.A. Happ struck out 10 batters in the Blue Jays’ 5–1 win over the White Sox on Wednesday, his highest total in any game this season. Happ capped his performance by striking out the side in the seventh inning, something he’s done in only one other start in the major leagues. Last year on July 30, in his most recent double-digit strikeout game, he set down the Orioles in order on three strikeouts in the seventh inning.

Gordon’s big night

Dee Gordon reached base safely four times, stole two bases and scored three runs in the Marlins’ win over the Nationals on Wednesday. Three other players have met all three of those minimums in a game from the leadoff spot this season: Delino DeShields (April 26), Billy Hamilton (May 5) and Cameron Maybin (June 9). Gordon has had three other games of that type (one in 2014, two in 2015).