MLB Notebook: Red-hot Posey closing in on rare feat
Flipping season-by-season through National League statistics since 1901, it doesn't take long to isolate catchers who qualified for the batting title and posted an OPS of at least .950.
Cubs Hall of Famer Gabby Hartnett did it in 1930 and '37, and then Dodgers Hall of Famer Roy Campanella produced three such seasons -- in '51, '53 and '55 -- and won the league's MVP Award all three years. Long after Campanella was done playing and the Dodgers had moved from Brooklyn, Mike Piazza -- over a seven-year span between 1995-2001, strung together six seasons with an OPS of at least a .950.
Through 2011, that's it.
This season, Phillies catcher Carlos Ruiz is at .959, but he hasn't played since Aug. 2, and it's questionable as to whether he will accumulate enough plate appearances to qualify for the batting title. And then there is San Francisco's Buster Posey, who, thanks in large part to a scorching two and a half months, is currently at .947 and looking like a decent bet to join Hartnett, Campanella and Piazza.
In the Giants' 9-3 win over the Rockies on Saturday, Posey went 2-for-4 and drove in two runs on his 19th home run of the season. Since the beginning of June, Posey has played in 58 games and posted a .357/.436/.609 line with 13 doubles, 13 home runs and 48 RBIs.
In the Royals' 7-3 win over the Orioles, Alex Gordon hit two solo home runs.
Gordon's first came as the first batter in the first inning -- the third time this month he had homered to lead off a game. Gordon has nine leadoff homers in his Royals career, fourth most in team history. Willie Wilson and David DeJesus each had 11, and Johnny Damon had 10.
Through the first two months of the season, Gordon was hitting .237/.330/.366 and had 17 extra-base hits in 194 at-bats. Since June 1, Gordon owns a .333/.399/.510 line with 33 extra-base hits in 261 at-bats.
San Diego's Jason Marquis threw a two-hit shutout, blanking Pittsburgh in a 5-0 win.
This game marked the third time in 2012 a pitcher had tossed a complete game on two hits or fewer against the Pirates. Those three are the most for any one team. Matt Cain and Justin Verlander each had one-hitters against Pittsburgh.
This season, there have been 21 complete games on two hits or fewer. Since the expansion to 30 teams in 1998, the 2010 season had the most such games, with 31.
Derek Jeter doubled and singled in the Yankees' 5-2 win over the Blue Jays to get to 150 hits for the season -- the most in the AL, and a mark he has reached in 17 consecutive seasons.
Jeter is playing in his age-38 season. He needs 59 hits to surpass Pete Rose (1979) for the most by a player in that age-season. No player has ever led his league in hits in his age-38 season, and Honus Wagner had the most hits by a shortstop in his age-38 season, with 181 in 1912.
Jeter joins Hank Aaron as the only players in history to collect at least 150 hits in 17 straight years. Aaron did it from 1955-71.
Rangers vs. Tigers
Playing in his fifth career game, Mike Olt's third career hit -- a pinch-hit RBI single -- gave the Rangers a 2-1 walk-off win against the Tigers.
The Tigers, who got a leadoff home run from Austin Jackson, fell to 40-18 when scoring first, and they have 26 blown leads this season -- tied for the fourth most in the American League.
The victory moved the Rangers' record to 46-31 when facing a right-handed starter for a .597 winning percentage that is tops in the AL.
Jackson's leadoff home run was his fifth of the season and ninth of his career. Jackson's five this year are the most for a Tigers leadoff man since Curtis Granderson had seven in 2009.
Freddie Freeman doubled, homered and drove in five in the Braves' 9-3 win over the Mets. Freeman has 97 career extra-base hits, the most for a Braves first baseman through his age-22 season. Freeman's 97 are the sixth most for any Braves player through his age-22 season, behind Eddie Mathews' 204, Aaron's 193, Andruw Jones' 188, Bob Horner's 140 and Jason Heyward's 129
Atlanta's Kris Medlen went 6 1/3 innings, allowed one run and picked up the win. Medlen has made three starts with the Braves and has combined with fellow recent addition Ben Sheets to toss 48 2/3 innings, post a 1.48 ERA and win six of seven decisions over eight starts.
Here and there
Scott Moore's RBI single in the bottom of the 10th gave the Astros their second walk-off win in as many games. Before the back-to-back dramatic victories, Houston had not enjoyed a walk-off hit since Sept. 26 of 2011.
Jake Westbrook allowed one run in 7 2/3 innings, struck out three and improved to 12-8 on the season as the Cardinals beat the Phillies, 4-1. Since the start of 2011, Westbrook has made 13 starts in which he has fanned no more than three batters but recorded a victory. Those 13 are the most in the Majors in that span, with the Rangers' Matt Harrison having 12.
David Price picked up his 15th win, allowing two runs in seven innings. Price, who went 19-6 for the Rays in 2010, is the first pitcher in franchise history to have multiple 15-win seasons.
Ryan Ludwick had a two-run double in the eighth inning to turn a 2-1 Reds deficit into a 3-2 lead, and Cincinnati held on to defeat Chicago, 4-2. In the 26 games the Reds have played since losing injured All-Star first baseman Joey Votto, the club has gone 18-8, thanks in large part to Ludwick. Over that span, Ludwick has played in 24 games and has a .346/.411/.716 line with seven home runs and 26 RBIs.
The Nationals ran their winning streak to eight games, beating the D-backs, 6-5. Washington owns the best record in the Majors, at 71-43, with the 71 victories through 114 games the second most in franchise history. The 1994 Expos finished their strike-shortened season with a record of 74-40.
Roger Schlueter is senior researcher for MLB Productions. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.