MLB Notebook: Pujols has historic first 12 seasons
Albert Pujols entered the 2012 season with a career slash line of .328/.420/.617. The numbers -- quite gaudy when viewed from just about any angle -- made the right-handed slugger one of six players in baseball history to have at least 3,000 plate appearances and a .300/.400/.600 slash line through his first 11 seasons. The other five are Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Jimmie Foxx, Hank Greenberg and Ted Williams.
Pujols' 2012 numbers are far below those produced in that historic, 11-year run (he is currently at .284/.350/.506 for the season), but for the past two months he has been hitting like the man who terrorized pitchers from 2001 through '11. Since the beginning of June, Pujols' line is right on track with his established career norms (.328/.410/.614).
Albert Pujols homered twice on Tuesday and helped the Angels to a 6-2 win over the Rangers. Texas now owns a three-game lead over the Angels for first place in the AL West.
The two homers gave Pujols 20 for the season, making Pujols the third player in baseball history to hit at least 20 in each of his first 12 seasons. The other players who accomplished this feat are Eddie Mathews and Frank Robinson.
All-time, for players through their first 12 seasons Pujols is No. 1 in home runs (465), doubles (483), total bases (4,093) and extra-base hits (963). He is also fourth in RBIs (1,396), sixth in runs scored (1,348) and tenth in OPS+ (169).
Weaver allowed two runs in 6 1/3 innings, and won his eighth straight start, improving his record for the season to 14-1. Weaver leads the American League with a 2.29 ERA.
He's the third pitcher this season -- following San Francisco's Matt Cain and Pittsburgh's A.J. Burnett -- to win eight consecutive starts. During his streak Weaver has allowed 40 hits and 12 walks in 53 innings. Over that same stretch, Weaver has 35 strikeouts and owns a 1.87 ERA.
Burnett threw a one-hit shutout with eight strikeouts and two walks. He improved his record to 13-3.
Burnett, who lost his bid for a no-hitter with two outs in the eighth, is the first Pirates pitcher to toss a one-hit shutout since Todd Ritchie on July 13, 2001.
Burnett's line produced a game score of 91 -- the highest of his career and the highest for a Pirates pitcher since Ritchie's one-hit shutout also produced a 91. In Burnett's no-hitter on May 12, 2001 he had a score of 85, as he had seven strikeouts to go along with nine walks.
Burnett's one-hitter represents the 13th time this season a pitcher has thrown a complete game and allowed one or no hits. Those 13 are the second-most in any season since 1998. There were 15 such games in 2010.
McCutchen went 3-for-5 with a double to raise his batting average to .371.
The last time a qualifying player entered August with a mark that high was in 2003, when Albert Pujols was hitting .372.
In addition to throwing seven scoreless innings and picking up his second win of the year, Lee also singled, drove in a run and stole a base.
Lee is the first Phillies pitcher to have a hit, an RBI and a stolen base in a game since Shane Rawley in 1984. He is the first pitcher to have such a day at the plate, and throw at least seven shutout innings since the Cubs' Rick Sutcliffe threw a four-hit shutout and went 2-for-4 with three RBIs and a stolen base on April 17, 1987.
McCann homered, doubled and drove in two runs as the Braves defeated the Marlins, 7-1. Atlanta has won seven straight. During the winning streak the team ERA is at 1.43.
In his first 64 games of the season, McCann hit nine home runs. In his past 18 games, he has also hit nine home runs.
McCann's 18 home runs for the season tie him with A.J. Pierzynski for the second-most for any catcher. Jarrod Saltalamacchia has the most home runs by a catcher, with 20.
Since 2005, McCann's 154 home runs are the most in the Major Leagues for any catcher, with Miguel Olivo having the second-most (116).
The Reds defeated the Padres, 7-6, to finish their July with a 19-7 record.
The .731 winning percentage is the best for a Reds' team in any month since 1995, when they went 20-6 (.769) in May.
Beltran doubled and homered on Tuesday, giving him 805 career extra-base hits -- one more than fellow switch-hitter Chili Davis.
Among switch-hitters, Beltran's 805 are the fifth most in history. Mickey Mantle owns the fourth most, with 952.
Holliday finished July with a .363/.449/.681/1.130 line.
Among players with at least 75 plate appearances for the month, Holliday's batting average was the 10th-highest, the on-base percentage was the fifth-highest, the slugging percentage was the seventh-highest and the OPS was the fifth-highest.
Shields threw a three-hit, complete-game shutout with 11 K's and no walks, as the Rays blanked the Athletics, 8-0.
Shields' start produced a game score of 92 -- the third-highest of his career and the 14th time this season a pitcher has reached 90.
Shields' three career starts with game scores of at least 90 tie him with Matt Garza for the most in Tampa Bay franchise history.
The 14 game scores of 90-or-better this year tie this season with 1999, 2003 and '04 for the sixth-most since 1998. There were 21 such games in 1998 and 2011, 18 in '02 and '10, and 17 in '01.
The 11-strikeout performance gave Shields three straight games with at least 10 punch-outs and 18 career games with double digit K's.
Shields is the first pitcher this season to have three consecutive double-digit strikeout games. Shields is the first American League player to do it since 2010, when Jon Lester had a four-game streak and Edwin Jackson had a three-game streak.
Shields' 18 games with 10-or-more strikeouts are the most in Tampa Bay franchise history. Shields had been tied with Scott Kazmir.
Vargas allowed two runs in seven innings and picked up the victory, as the Mariners won their sixth-straight contest.
Vargas finished the month with a 5-0 record and a 1.64 ERA. Vargas tied a Mariners franchise record for the most wins in any month.
Miley allowed one run on three hits in eight innings, as the D-backs defeated the Dodgers, 8-2.
Through Miley's first 29 career games, he has finished an outing with at least seven innings and no more than one run allowed seven times. Seven such games through 29 career starts tie Miley with Brandon Webb and Daniel Hudson for the most ever for a D-backs pitcher. Miley's 2.98 ERA is ninth-lowest ERA in the National League.
Roger Schlueter is senior researcher for MLB Productions. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.