MLB Notebook: Tigers feeling at home on the road
On May 23, 1984, the Tigers -- playing at Anaheim Stadium -- sent Dan Petry to the hill to match up against the Angels' Tommy John. Petry allowed two runs in seven innings, Tigers hitters combined for 12 hits (three going for extra-bases) and Detroit came away with a 4-2 win. The club was 34-5, had won 16 straight road games, owned a 2.64 ERA, a 1.135 WHIP and boasted a .301 batting average with an .826 OPS. The 2014 Tigers are not able to claim any of those numbers through their own 39-game start to the season, but in some respects, they are pretty close. When comparisons to the 1984 Tigers are made, "pretty close" is a pretty nice place to be.
The Tigers extended their winning streak on the road to 11 games, defeating the Red Sox, 6-2, on Sunday and completing a three-game sweep.
Detroit's 11-game road winning streak is the third best for a single season in franchise history, behind the 1984 team's 17-game streak (tied for the longest in Major League history) and a 12-game run in May-June in 1950.
With the victory, the Tigers are 14-4 away from Comerica Park. They own the best road winning percentage in the Majors, and are one of two teams with a mark above .700 (the A's are 16-6).
The Tigers had last swept the Red Sox in a Fenway series of three or more games on June 6-9, 1983 (a four-game sweep).
In this game, the Tigers held Boston to zero extra-base hits -- the second time they did this in the series. Since the leagues expanded to three divisions in 1994, Detroit is the first non-American League East team to have two games in a season in which it went into Fenway and limited the Red Sox to singles.
The top four hitters in the Tigers' lineup combined for 10 hits, five RBIs and five runs, and all four -- Ian Kinsler, Torii Hunter, Miguel Cabrera, and Victor Martinez -- had at least one extra-base hit. Martinez leads the AL in batting average, with Cabrera and Kinsler standing fourth and fifth, respectively. Hunter is No. 11. Among AL teams, the Tigers own:
• The highest team average and OPS for hitters batting leadoff
• The highest team average and second highest OPS for hitters in the No. 2 slot
• The highest team average and fourth highest OPS for batters in the three-hole
• The highest team average and OPS for batters in the cleanup spot
The 2014 Tigers own a .692 winning percentage, a 3.13 ERA and a 1.170 WHIP. Through 39 games, the winning percentage is the best for the team since the .872 mark in 1984, the ERA is the lowest since the 2.64 put together by the 1984 team and the WHIP is the lowest since the '84 club's 1.135.
Rollins gets Phils rolling
The first two Phillies batters of Sunday's game -- Jimmy Rollins and Wil Nieves -- homered, and from there, Philadelphia defeated Cincinnati, 8-3. Philadelphia had last gotten homers from its first two batters of the game on Sept. 9, 2004, when Rollins and Placido Polanco went yard in the first against Atlanta's Russ Ortiz.
Philadelphia is now 776-654 (.543) when Rollins is in the starting lineup, batting first. Since 2001 overall, the Phillies are 1,157-989 (.539).
Come what May for A's
The Athletics defeated the Indians, 13-3, on Sunday, completing a three-game sweep in which they outscored Cleveland, 30-6.
Overall, Oakland has been cleaning up in May, scoring 87 runs through its first 16 games -- among AL teams, only Toronto has scored more runs (93) this month. The 1930 A's own the team record for most runs in a May, plating 211 in 30 games.
Oakland's run-scoring predilection extends beyond just a hot May, as this win marked the eighth time this season (five in April) the club has reached double digits. Those eight give Oakland twice as many as any other AL team (the Rangers and Angels each have four).
In the A's win, Josh Donaldson and Brandon Moss each scored four runs, with Moss contributing two doubles, a triple and two walks. Moss became the first Athletics player since Dick Williams on May 23, 1959, to have a game with at least four runs, at least three extra-base hits and no home runs. Adding to the rarity, Moss was batting cleanup. The last cleanup hitter before him to have a line like this was the Giants' Pedro Feliz on Aug. 16, 2005; Moss is only the 10th No. 4 hitter since 1914 to do it. The first eight: Wally Pipp (1917), Goose Goslin (1922), Joe Cronin (1932), Arky Vaughan ('34), Taffy Wright ('39), Granny Hamner (1954), Dale Murphy (1984) and Kevin Young (1998). Moss is the only one of the 10 to have two walks as part of the line.
Here and there
• Making his 16th career start against the Twins, Felix Hernandez allowed two runs in eight innings and picked up the win as Seattle defeated Minnesota, 6-2. Hernandez owns a 2.08 career ERA against the franchise, the lowest for any active hurler with at least 15 starts against the club. Among non-active pitchers since 1914, right-hander Jim Scott has the claim for the lowest ERA against the Twins franchise, with a 1.72 ERA in 16 starts from 1914-1917. Scott bests Babe Ruth, who made 22 starts against the Senators and in 182 innings and authored a 1.78 ERA.
• The Angels' Albert Pujols hit a pair of home runs, giving him 48 career multi-homer games and 504 career long balls. Pujols' second homer placed him in a tie with Eddie Murray for 25th all time. Among the 26 members of the 500-home run club, Murray ranks 26th in HR percentage, with 3.93 percent of his plate appearances concluding with a round-tripper. Pujols ranks seventh, behind Ruth, Barry Bonds, Harmon Killebrew, Jim Thome, Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa.
• The Rockies turned a triple play in the third inning on Sunday, and then after watching the Padres tie the game with a two-run homer in the top of the ninth, they saw Justin Morneau win the contest with a two-run homer in the bottom of the 10th. Colorado's triple play was the third in team history. The first was turned on April 10, 2003, against the Cardinals, and the second came on April 29, 2007, against the Braves -- an unassisted feat turned by shortstop Troy Tulowitzki.
Roger Schlueter is senior researcher for MLB Productions. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.