MLB Notebook: Dickey improving with age
In 1958, Warren Spahn completed 23 of his starts, threw 290 innings, faced 1,176 batters, and averaged an allowance of 1.148 walks and hits for every inning pitched. All of these figures led the National League.
Spahn also tied for the league lead that year in victories (with 22), making him the second pitcher in baseball history -- after Ray Kremer in 1930 -- to be in his age-37 season and lead either league in wins. Since Spahn's achievement, four other pitchers in their age-37 season -- Steve Carlton ('82), Jack Morris ('92), David Wells (2000) and Curt Schilling ('04) -- have also led their league in victories.
It remains to be seen if knuckleballing right-hander R.A. Dickey can add this accomplishment to his ever-expanding résumé of coolness.
Dickey on Thursday became the Majors' first nine-game winner, throwing 7 1/3 scoreless innings on four hits, while striking out eight and walking two in the Mets' 3-1 win over the Nationals.
Dickey is the first Mets pitcher to have nine wins through 58 team games since Tom Glavine, in 2006. In club history, he is the 10th pitcher to have nine or more. The others, besides Glavine and Dickey: Tom Seaver had 10 in 1969 and '75, and nine in '72; Jerry Koosman had 10 in '68; Bobby Jones had 10 in '97; Dwight Gooden had nine in '85 and '88; Frank Viola had nine in '90.
With his eight strikeouts, Dickey became the 10th pitcher in Mets history to fan at least eight batters in at least five straight appearances. David Cone owns the longest streak, with 10 straight in 1992.
With Thursday's outing, Dickey owns a scoreless streak of 24 2/3 innings. Koosman, who threw 31 2/3 straight innings without allowing a run in 1973, holds the franchise record.
Lance Lynn fanned a career-high 11 and tied Dickey for the Major League lead in wins by helping the Cardinals to a 14-2 victory over the Astros.
Lynn is the fourth Cardinals pitcher in the past 40 seasons to have at least nine victories through the club's first 58 games. Joaquin Andujar had 12 in 1985, and 10 in '84, and Kent Bottenfield had nine wins through 58 team games in '99.
Cardinals outfielder Carlos Beltran hit his league-leading 16th home run of the season, drove in two runs and scored twice.
He has 120 career games in which he has scored two runs and driven in two as well. Those 120 are the fourth most for any switch-hitter in the live-ball era, behind the 156 by Chipper Jones, 146 by Mickey Mantle and 141 by Eddie Murray.
The home run left Beltran three extra-base hits behind Bernie Williams for the ninth most for any switch-hitter in history.
David Freese enjoyed his first career multihomer game, hit his first career grand slam and tied a career best with six RBIs. The contest marked the third time this season a Cardinals player had driven in at least six runs (Beltran has done it twice). The Cardinals and Rangers are the only two teams this season to have a trio of six-RBI games from a player. Texas had one each from Josh Hamilton, Nelson Cruz and Brandon Snyder.
Cardinals leadoff hitter Rafael Furcal went 3-for-5 with two runs scored and two RBIs. Braves leadoff hitter Michael Bourn went 3-for-4 with two runs scored and three RBIs. Furcal (11 games with three or more hits) and Bourn (10) are ranked 1-2 in the Majors for the most games with at least three hits. Among NL leadoff hitters since 1920, Matty Alou, in 1969, collected the most games with at least three hits, with 30.
Behind Brandon McCarthy's seven innings of one-run ball, the Athletics defeated the Rangers, 7-1, to take three of four in the series.
There have been five pitchers this season to go at least seven innings and allow no more than one run vs. Texas; three of those five did it in this series.
Before McCarthy and his work on Thursday, A's teammates Jarrod Parker and Bartolo Colon each threw eight scoreless frames (in the first and third games, respectively). The two non-Athletics pitchers to have a line like this against the Rangers in 2012: Ulbaldo Jimenez (seven innings, no runs on May 6) and Felix Hernandez (eight innings, one run on May 21).
Here and there
The Dodgers improved their Major League-best record to 37-21, defeating the Phillies, 8-3. With the win, the Dodgers completed a sweep of the series -- their first four-game sweep of the Phillies in Philadelphia since May 24-26, 1946.
Yankees ace CC Sabathia struck out 12 batters to increase his career total to 2,103. Sabathia is the 15th pitcher in history to have at least 2,100 K's through his age-31 season. Sabathia is eight strikeouts behind Carlton for the 14th most.
Clay Buchholz threw a four-hitter for his third career shutout -- all against the Orioles -- as Boston blanked Baltimore, 7-0. Buchholz's first shutout came on Sept. 1, 2007, when he tossed a no-hitter in his second Major League appearance. The second shutout came in a five-hitter on June 4, 2010. Buchholz has 13 career appearances against Baltimore; in his non-shutout games, he owns a 5.69 ERA in 49 innings.
Roger Schlueter is senior researcher for MLB Productions. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.