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ALL ABOUT ALVAREZ
From Elias: The Pirates defeated the Cardinals on Wednesday, 5-0 behind two hits, a homer and three RBI by Cardinals-killer Pedro Alvarez. Alvarez now has seven homers in 15 games against St. Louis this season - tied for the most home runs against an opponent this season (Chris Davis has seven against the Blue Jays). No player has as many RBI against a team as Alvarez's 23 against the Cardinals.
Alvarez is the first player since 1998 to have at least seven home runs and 23 RBI against one opponent in 15 or fewer games. Two players did that against the Royals in 1998: Manny Ramirez (12 games, 8 HR, 25 RBI) and Juan Gonzalez (11 games, 7 HR, 26 RBI).
The Pirates took the season series from the Cardinals, 8 games to 7. That's the most wins that Pittsburgh has had against the previous season's World Series winner since the Pirates were 10-2 against the Reds in 1991, after losing to Cincinnati in the 1990 NLCS.
HARPER HITS TWO
From Elias: Bryce Harper hit two home runs on Wednesday to become only the third teenage centerfielder to have a multiple-homer game in major-league history. Ken Griffey Jr. did that twice in 1989 for the Mariners and Brian McCall did so for the White Sox on Sept. 30, 1962. Those were the only two homers of McCall's seven-game major-league career.
Jacob Turner is the fifth-youngest player in the major leagues and after allowing two home runs to Harper Wednesday, he's allowed homers to two of the four players younger than him. Mike Trout hit a homer off Turner on July 17. (The other players younger than Turner are Manny Machado and Tyler Skaggs).
HEADLEY'S HOT AUGUST
From Elias: Chase Headley drove in two runs on Wednesday, giving him 30 RBIs in August and making him the first Padres player with 30 or more RBIs in one month since Ryan Klesko had 40 in May 2001. The only franchise that's gone longer since its last player with a 30-RBI month is the Nationals/Expos, whose last was Moises Alou in June 1994.
ANOTHER IGNOMINIOUS DISTINCTION FOR HOUSTON
From Elias: The Giants defeated the Astros on Wednesday to drop Houston to 40-90 on the season. The Astros, who were 47-90 through the end of August last season, are only the third team in major-league history to accumulate 90 losses before September in consecutive seasons. The only other teams to do that are the Mets in 1962 and 1963 and the Pirates in 1952 and 1953.
AXELROD BACK WITH A BANG
From Elias: Dylan Axelrod made his first major-league start since July 16 and held the Orioles to one run in 7 1/3 innings on Wednesday. The only other pitcher to go at least 30 days between major-league starts this season and come back with a performance of more than seven innings with only one run allowed is Jair Jurrjens. Jurrjens went 60 days between starts for Atlanta and returned to the Braves on June 22 and allowed one run in 7 2/3 innings against the Red Sox.
ELLIS' SLAM TURNS OUT TO BE VERY IMPORTANT
From Elias: A.J. Ellis belted an eighth-inning grand-slam home run that looked like frosting, boosting the Dodgers' 6-1 lead over the Rockies to 10-1. But the blow became vital in retrospect, after Colorado scored seven runs in the bottom half of that inning and Los Angeles held on for a 10-8 victory.
It was Ellis' first hit in eight bases-loaded at-bats this season, and it followed months of frustration for Ellis in clutch situations. From May 28 to August 28, Ellis had only four hits in 42 at-bats with runners in scoring position; his .095 batting average in those situations had been the lowest among the 253 major-leaguers with at least 35 at-bats with runners in scoring position over that period of time.
The Dodgers have hit as many grand slams at Coors Field (9) as they did in 47 seasons of games against the Giants at the Polo Grounds.
METS ARE COMEBACK KINGS IN PHILLY
From Elias: The Mets won in Philadelphia on Wednesday for the seventh time this season and in five of those games the Mets have come from behind to win. No other team has more than three come-from-behind road wins against one opponent this season. That ties the Mets' most come-from-behind road wins against one opponent in one season - they had five against Washington in 2005, Pittsburgh in 1988 and Philadelphia in 1972 (which was also the last time the Phillies had five losses after leading at home against a single opponent).
PLOUFFE HITS 20TH HOMER
From Elias: Trevor Plouffe, who hit his 20th home run of the season on Wednesday, is the first Twins player to have 20 or more homers in his rookie or year-after-rookie season since Marty Cordova won the A.L. Rookie of the Year Award on the strength of his 24 home runs in 1995.
ESCOBAR ENDS MALAISE
From Elias: Yunel Escobar went 4-for-5 with five RBI and all four hits were extra-base hits: three doubles and a home run. He's the third visitor to have four extra base hits and five RBI in a game at Yankee Stadium, old or new, joining Pat Seerey (1945 Indians) and Roy Howell (1977 Blue Jays). Prior to today, Escobar had had four extra-base hits and five RBI over his last 27 games combined (July 22 to August 28).
INDIANS FINALLY SCORE ON ATHLETICS
From Elias: The Athletics ran their scoreless streak against Cleveland to 29 innings before the Indians scored on Wednesday night. It was Oakland's longest scoreless streak in one season against an opponent since a 31-inning streak against the Angels in 1994 and it was the longest by any team against Cleveland since Seattle had a 32-inning scoreless streak against the Indians in 1991.
FIERS REACHES 100 STRIKEOUTS
From Elias: Mike Fiers struck out his 100th batter of the season tonight as he reached 99 innings pitched for the year. He's the first rookie in Brewers history with 100 strikeouts in his first 100 innings of a season.
STEWART GREETS RED SOX NATION
From Elias: The Angels rocked Zach Stewart, who was playing his first game for Boston, for nine runs on Wednesday. Stewart is the first pitcher in more than 100 years to allow nine runs in his first game for the Red Sox. The last to do that was Louis LeRoy, who gave up nine runs in his only game for the Red Sox, on Apr. 20, 1910.
RAYS ROCK HARRISON
From Elias: Matt Harrison allowed seven runs (all earned) on 12 hits in 5¿ innings on Wednesday, after throwing eight shutout innings, allowing just two hits, in his last outing, against the Twins on Friday. Harrison is just the second pitcher in the last 50 seasons to string together an eight-inning, two-hit, no run performance with a seven-run, 12-hit performance in consecutive starts in one season. The other was Joe Kennedy for Tampa Bay in 2003.
REDS TURN ON THE POWER IN LATE INNINGS
From Elias: The Reds were down 2-0 through six innings on Wednesday but they scored six runs on four home runs in the seventh and eighth. Chris Heisey hit two and Brandon Phillips and Dioner Navarro had one apiece. It's only the second time in the last 50 seasons that the Reds were blanked through six innings and went on to hit four homers; the other instance was a 4-3, 10-inning win at home against Pittsburgh on June 14, 2002.
PADRES HOT STRETCH COMES OUT OF NOWHERE
From Elias: The Padres have won nine of their last 10 games, including a win over the Braves on Wednesday, after they started this stretch 18 games under .500. It's the first time in team history that San Diego has won nine (or 10) of 10 games after starting the span that many games below .500.
ROYALS EKE ONE OUT VS. TIGERS
From Elias: The Royals' 1-0 win over the Tigers was only their seventh ever 1-0 win over Detroit and only the second in the last 25 years, along with one on Sept. 1, 2004.