MLB Notebook: Seven is Lucroy's lucky number
On July 1, 1938, Washington Senators pitcher Harry Kelly faced the unenviable reality of a Yankees lineup that had future Hall of Famers Joe DiMaggio, Lou Gehrig and Bill Dickey hitting in the Nos. 4-6 slots.
On this particular day, Kelley fared pretty well against DiMaggio and Gehrig, holding the duo to a pair of hits (a double for Gehrig and a single for DiMaggio) and no RBIs. But Kelley -- a right-hander who had allowed just one run in his previous 18 innings -- couldn't make it past all three without being scarred.
In a seven-RBI day, Dickey homered twice off of Kelley, hitting a three-run shot in the fourth and a grand slam the following inning. It was the second time in his career Dickey had driven in at least seven runs, making him the first catcher in the live-ball era to have a pair of seven-RBI games.
Thursday, Brewers backstop Jonathan Lucroy went 3-for-5 with a grand slam and drove in seven runs in a 12-11 loss to the Cubs. It was the second time this season Lucroy had collected seven RBIs in a game, with the other performance taking place on May 20.
Lucroy is the only catcher since 1918 to have a pair of seven-RBI games in a season, and he joined Dickey, Smoky Burgess, Johnny Bench and Ramon Hernandez as just the fifth catcher in the live-ball era to have multiple seven-RBI games in a career.
Lucroy is the 23rd player since 1918 to have at least two games in a season with at least seven RBIs. Before him, Derrek Lee (2009) had been the most recent to do it. In 1930, Gehrig had three such games. Lucroy is also the first Brewers player to have multiple seven-RBI games in his career.
Wild game at Wrigley
Alfonso Soriano's walk-off single in the ninth lifted the Cubs past Lucroy's Brewers at Wrigley Field. Among the notable happenings in the game:
Chicago was down, 9-3, after the top of the sixth inning but scored six in the bottom half of the frame. They also rallied from a two-run deficit in the ninth. Entering this game, the Cubs' largest comeback win of the season had been from three runs down, and they'd owned a 3-74 record when trailing entering the ninth.
The two clubs combined for 15 extra-base hits, with the Cubs collecting eight. It was the ninth game this season to feature at least 15 combined extra-base hits. The top mark in 2012 is 18, in the Mariners' 21-8 win over the Rangers on May 30.
The Cubs' eight extra-base hits came from seven doubles and a triple. The most recent time Chicago had at least eight extra-base hits in a game without a home run was on Aug. 16, 2007.
Lucroy became the second player this year to drive in at least seven runs in a loss. Curiously, the other player was also a catcher: Philadelphia's Carlos Ruiz.
The defeat gave the Brewers 30 losses in relief -- the most in the Majors in 2012. Over the past 30 seasons, the mark for the most relief losses in a single year is 39, by the 2004 Rockies and '09 Nationals.
Philadelphia's Jonathan Papelbon worked a scoreless ninth for his 30th save in 2012.
Papelbon became the first pitcher to reach 30 saves in seven of his first eight big league seasons. Trevor Hoffman and Troy Percival each had six 30-save seasons through their first eight years.
Papelbon's total of 249 saves through his first eight years is the fourth most. Hoffman had 271 and Troy Percival and Rod Beck each had 250.
The Cardinals' Matt Holliday collected his 1,500th hit. He is the 51st player in history to have at least 1,500 through his first nine seasons.
Among the 51, Holliday's 137 OPS+ is tied for 24th, and he is one of nine of the 51 to have at least 39 percent of his hits go for extra bases. Albert Pujols, at 44.7 percent, is the leader in that category.
Baltimore's Zach Britton put together his first career double-digit strikeout game, fanning 10, issuing no walks and allowing one run and seven hits in eight innings in a 5-3 win over the White Sox.
Britton was the first Orioles southpaw to have a 10-strikeout, no-walk game since Erik Bedard in 2007, and was the youngest southpaw (at 24 years and 252 days) to have such a game since the franchise moved to Baltimore. The previous youngest had been Billy O'Dell (25 years and 208 days), who had 10 strikeouts in a five-hitter on Sept. 6, 1958.
The Nationals defeated the Cardinals, 8-1, with starter Edwin Jackson striking out 10. Washington starters are averaging 8.12 strikeouts per nine innings -- second in the National League to the Brewers' rate of 8.41.
Bryce Harper hit his 15th home run, fourth most for any teenager in history. Harper trails Tony Conigliaro (24), Mel Ott (19) and Ken Griffey Jr. (16).
Here and there
Behind Jeremy Guthrie's 7 1/3 innings of one-run ball, the Royals defeated the Tigers, 2-1. Kansas City has gone 17-11 in August, which is only good enough for the fifth-best record in the American League for the month. Nine of the 14 AL teams have gone over .500 in August, with the five teams under .500 compiling a combined 43-95 record.
The Angels defeated the Red Sox, 5-2, to complete a season sweep. In the six games, the Angels outscored Boston, 47-29. Before this year, the Angels had never gone undefeated in a season against the Red Sox.
Roger Schlueter is senior researcher for MLB Productions. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.