MLB Notebook: Just win, Buehrle
Blue Jays left-hander notches AL-leading ninth victory Tuesday vs. Rays
On June 8, 1983, Blue Jays right-hander Dave Stieb went the first seven in a four-hit, two-run effort that was a large part of a Toronto win over Oakland. Stieb picked up his American League-leading ninth win of the season on that Wednesday afternoon, and once all of the games that day were in the books, he could also claim the AL's highest strikeout total and the league's third-lowest ERA, at 2.10.
Fourteen years later, Roger Clemens enjoyed an equally illustrious start to a season while making pitches for the Blue Jays. On May 31, 1997, Clemens allowed eight hits in eight innings vs. the A's, but he surrendered only two runs and improved to 10-0 on the season. And like his predecessor Stieb, Clemens also ended the day able to claim the lead in two-thirds of the AL pitching Triple Crown categories, topping the league in wins and ERA (at 1.85), while not being too far off in the third leg (he was fourth in strikeouts).
Mark Buehrle is currently third in the AL with a 2.33 ERA, and he is tied for 40th in the league in K's. But when it comes to victories, he has a place right beside Stieb and Clemens.
Nine is better than fine for Buehrle
Buehrle allowed four runs (three earned) in 6 2/3 innings Tuesday, but thanks to an offense that launched three homers, the southpaw came away with his AL-leading ninth win, as the Blue Jays defeated the Rays, 9-6.
Buehrle is the third Toronto pitcher -- after Clemens (10 wins in 1997) and Stieb (nine wins in '83) -- to have as many as nine victories through the team's first 53 games. Over the past 20 seasons, Buehrle is the fourth left-hander to have at least nine wins through his team's first 53 games, joining Jimmy Key in '97, Randy Johnson in 2000 and Dontrelle Willis in '05. Tom Glavine (10 wins through 52 team games in 1991) was the most recent southpaw to have more than nine through 53.
Buehrle now has 195 career wins, making him one of 43 pitchers since 1920 to have at least that many through his first 15 seasons. Among that group, his WHIP ranks 31st, his ERA+ ranks 29th and his K% ranks 32nd.
Encarnacion pacing potent lineup
In the Blue Jays' victory, Edwin Encarnacion hit his 16th round-tripper of the season -- a solo homer in the fifth that represented his only hit of the night. Encarnacion now has 14 homers and 20 extra-base hits in May.
Already the owner of the Blue Jays record for the most homers in May, Encarnacion is now tied with Jose Bautista (14 home runs in June 2012) for the most in any month in team history. The 20 extra-base hits are also the most for a Toronto player in a May, and leave Encarnacion four shy of matching the franchise record for any monthly split. Carlos Delgado's 24 in July 2000 represent the standard.
The Blue Jays own a team OPS of .838 in May, an astounding 49 points higher than any other team in the Majors. In its team history, Toronto has enjoyed two higher OPS in May: in 2006, the club posted an .864 for the month, and in '03, the Jays finished May with an .858.
Yovani comes through in a pinch
The Brewers defeated the Orioles, 7-6, in 10 innings on a game-ending pinch-hit double from pitcher Yovani Gallardo.
The last time the Majors saw a scenario like this -- a full-time pitcher delivering a walk-off hit while serving as a pinch-hitter -- the Brewers were again the authors of the uncommon outcome. On April 19, 2003, southpaw Glendon Rusch delivered a pinch-hit game-ending single in the bottom of the 14th to give Milwaukee a 3-2 win over Houston. Before Rusch's heroics, the Marlins' Dennis Cook -- on Aug. 1, 1997 -- had been the most recent hurler to do such a thing.
Since his debut season in 2007, Gallardo is second among pitchers with 12 home runs, has the most extra-base hits (31) and the third-most total bases (131). Among the 28 hurlers with at least 300 plate appearances (Gallardo has 419), he is tied for the second-highest OPS, at .585.
Lynn goes the distance
Cardinals right-hander Lance Lynn recorded his first career shutout (and his first career complete game), limiting the Yankees to five hits with two K's and three walks. Behind Lynn's effort, St. Louis defeated New York, 6-0.
Lynn became the second Cards pitcher to hurl a shutout in Interleague Play, following Chris Carpenter's one-hitter against the Blue Jays on June 14, 2005.
Lynn was also the fifth Cardinals pitcher in the past 30 seasons -- and the first since Jake Westbrook last year -- to hurl a shutout with more walks than strikeouts. The others over this span: Danny Cox in 1985, Joe Magrane in '89 and Danny Jackson in '95.
The most recent time the Yanks were on the short side of a pitcher hurling a shutout with more walks than strikeouts came on Aug. 10, 1991, vs. Walt Terrell.
Here and there
• In the Brewers' victory, Carlos Gomez hit his 11th home run of the year. Over the past two seasons combined, Gomez has 88 extra-base hits, a total that ties him for seventh most in the Majors. Gomez also has collected 49 steals since the beginning of the 2013 season -- the most among the eight players with at least 88 extra-base hits. Looking at the other seven, the steals totals in descending order are arranged as: Mike Trout (38), Paul Goldschmidt (18), Encarnacion (nine), Chris Davis (six), Josh Donaldson (six), David Ortiz (four) and Miguel Cabrera (three).
• In a no-decision, Twins starter Phil Hughes fanned three with no walks, likely ending his May with 24 K's and no bases on balls. If that is indeed the case (he's not scheduled to start again until Sunday), the right-hander would be the 12th pitcher since 1914 to have a month (or a March/April or September/October) with at least five starts and no walks, and the first since Kevin Slowey (27 1/3 innings, 17 strikeouts) in September 2011.
• Giants right-hander Tim Hudson hurled seven scoreless innings, fanned five with no walks, and came away with his fifth victory of the year as San Francisco blanked Chicago, 4-0. It marked the sixth time this season Hudson had finished a day's work with at least seven innings and no walks, giving him a tie for the most at this point in a Giants season (by team games) in a century. In 1914, Christy Mathewson had six. Hudson's six this season already match his career high for any full season (2002). Mathewson had 18 such games in 1914, the most for a Giants pitcher in one season in the past 101 years.
Roger Schlueter is senior researcher for MLB Productions. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.