MLB Notebook: Gio putting up zeroes
Randy Johnson had many great months in his career, but June 1997 is one that sticks out as particularly dominant.
Making six starts for the Seattle Mariners, Johnson went 4-1, struck out 19 in one start (his only loss), reached double digits in strikeouts in two other starts, finished with 68 strikeouts against 39 combined hits and walks, and he had a three-start stretch of being nearly unhittable.
On June 2, Johnson threw a two-hit shutout, followed that gem with an eight-inning, one-hit effort, then demonstrated more dominance with an eight-inning, two-hit start: 25 innings, five hits. But Johnson did allow one run over those three appearances. In the third inning of the third game, he served up a solo home run to the Rockies' Eric Young, and the southpaw's three-game run received its only blemish.
While not nearly as overpowering as the Big Unit's big June, Washington left-hander Gio Gonzalez is putting together a nice run of his own this month.
In the Nationals' 3-1 victory over the Padres on Tuesday, Gonzalez allowed two hits in six shutout innings and picked up the win to improve to 2-0 on the season. In his past three starts, the southpaw has allowed two hits in seven shutout innings, two hits in seven scoreless innings and two hits in six innings with no runs.
Going back to 1918, Gonzalez is the only pitcher to have three consecutive appearances in which he finished a start with at least six shutout innings and no more than two hits allowed. Four other pitchers since '18 have had three consecutive starts of at least six innings and no more than two hits, but each of the four allowed at least one run in at least one of those outings. The lines for all five:
Nolan Ryan, 1981: 19 2/3 innings, six hits, two runs, 19 K's, 0.92 ERA
Al Leiter, 1996: 18 2/3 innings, five hits, seven runs, 21 K's, 3.38 ERA
Johnson, 1997: 25 innings, five hits, one run, 36 K's, 0.36 ERA
Damian Moss, 2002: 22 innings, four hits, two runs, 14 K's, 0.41 ERA
Gonzalez, 2012: 20 innings, six hits, 0 runs, 21 K's, 0.00 ERA
On his 40th birthday, Chipper Jones hit his third home run of the season, giving him 457 for his career.
Jones' 457 home runs rank 33rd on the all-time list. He is also 37th all-time in total bases (4,598) and 28th all-time in extra-base hits (1,022).
This was the fifth home run Jones had hit on his birthday. Since 1918, he is the fifth player with five, joining Al Simmons, Derrek Lee, Todd Helton and Alex Rodriguez.
Since 1918, Jones is the fifth player to homer on his 40th birthday, joining Bob Thurman (1957), Joe Morgan ('83), Wade Boggs ('98) and Tony Phillips ('99).
Johan Santana struck out 11 while allowing one run on three hits in 6 2/3 innings in the Mets' 2-1 win over the Marlins, reaching double digits in strikeouts for the 50th time in his career.
Santana is the active leader in double-digit strikeout games, with 50. He is followed by Kerry Wood (41), Tim Lincecum (31), Jake Peavy (30), CC Sabathia (28) and A.J. Burnett (27).
Santana is the 16th live-ball era pitcher to have at least 50 double-digit strikeout games. Among those 16, he is the sixth southpaw .
David Price tossed a five-hitter for his second career shutout, as the Rays beat the Angels, 5-0.
Price struck out six and walked one while producing a game score (an equation used to measure a pitcher's dominance) of 82 -- the fifth time in his career he has posted a score of at least 80.
Price is one of eight active left-handers to have at least five appearances with a game score of at least 80 through his first 98 appearances. Cole Hamels and Jon Lester each had eight, Barry Zito and Ricky Romero each had seven, Clayton Kershaw and Derek Holland each had six, and Gonzalez also had five. Holland has 83 appearances in his career, while Romero's next start will be his 98th game.
David Ortiz went 2-for-4 with a home run and three RBIs in Boston's 11-2 win over Minnesota. Ortiz has 28 hits (11 for extra bases) and 15 RBIs through Boston's first 16 games. The 28 hits through the club's first 16 games are the most since Joe Cronin had 30, in 1937, the 11 extra-base hits are the most since Kevin Youkilis had 11, in 2009, and the 15 RBIs are the most since Mike Lowell had 16, in '09.
Ortiz's 1.200 OPS through his first 16 games of the season is the best for him since 2001, when he owned a 1.291 OPS (with six doubles, one triple, five homers and 15 RBIs) while playing for the Twins.
Here and there
The Pirates defeated the Rockies, 5-4, and became the first team since the 1965 Bucs to begin a season with no more than five runs scored or allowed in each of the club's first 16 games. The last team to open a season with 17 straight games of no more than five runs scored and five runs allowed was the '43 Tigers.
The Giants' Pablo Sandoval went 1-for-3 and has now hit safely in all 17 games on the season. Sandoval's hitting streak from the start of the season is the longest for a Giants player since Johnny Rucker began 1945 by hitting safely in 18 in a row. Sandoval's hitting streak to begin the year is the longest in the Majors since Jorge Cantu began the 2010 campaign with a 17-game streak.
In his fourth career start, Yu Darvish threw scoreless ball for 8 1/3 innings, struck out 10 and picked up the victory as the Rangers blanked the Yankees, 2-0. Darvish is the first Rangers pitcher since Bobby Witt, in 1986, to have a double-digit strikeout game so early in his career. In '86, Witt struck out 10 in his second appearance and fanned 11 in his fourth game.
Brewers closer John Axford allowed one hit in a scoreless ninth inning and converted his 47th consecutive save opportunity to tie Brad Lidge for the fourth-longest saves streak in baseball history.
Roger Schlueter is senior researcher for MLB Productions. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.