6/12/2013 9:04 A.M. ET
MLB Notebook: Harang hangs zeros up on board
Mariners right-hander, 35, tosses two-hit shutout with 10 K's and no walks
By Roger Schlueter / MLB.com
On July 1, 1920, 32-year-old Walter Johnson beat the Red Sox, 1-0, throwing a no-hitter with 10 strikeouts and no walks (a seventh-inning error cost Johnson a perfect game). It would be another 44 years until a pitcher older than Johnson would hurl a shutout on two hits or fewer while posting at least 10 K's and no walks. On June 21, 1964, Jim Bunning -- four days older than Johnson was in his no-no in '20 -- hurled the seventh perfect game in history, fanning 10 on his way into the history books. In '88, 34-year-old John Candelaria had a pair of two-hit shutouts with no walks, with 13 and 12 K's, respectively.
Since Candelaria's twin gems, baseball has had five pitchers beyond their 35th birthday have games like this. Included within this quintet are a pair of perfect games, a 14-strikeout two-hitter from an eventual Triple Crown winner, a two-hitter by a pitcher just 17 starts removed from a perfect game, and the latest, a sterling performance from a pitcher -- Aaron Harang -- who has two shutouts this season, after not having any since 2009.
Tuesday, Harang threw a two-hit shutout with 10 strikeouts and no walks, and the Mariners defeated the Astros, 4-0. At 35 years and 33 days old, Harang is the fifth-oldest pitcher since 1916 to have a shutout with no more than two hits allowed, at least 10 K's and no walks. Randy Johnson, at 40 years and 251 days old on May 18, 2004, was the oldest.
Like a fine wine
Harang was the second Mariners pitcher to have a shutout on no more than two hits while striking out at least 10 and issuing no walks. Felix Hernandez had 12 K's in his perfect game on Aug. 15, 2012.
Cole does it all in debut
Making his Major League debut, Pirates right-hander Gerrit Cole went 6 1/3 innings, allowed two runs and seven hits, and drove in a pair of runs with a single in his first plate appearance.
Cole was the third Pittsburgh pitcher since 1916 to have at least two RBIs in his debut. On Sept. 30, 1934, Steamboat Struss (seven innings, seven hits, six runs) had two RBIs in a 7-5 loss to the Cubs (Struss took the loss in this, his only Major League appearance). On Sept. 14, 1939, Oad Swigart (6 1/3 innings, nine hits, seven runs) took the loss despite two RBIs, with the Bucs falling to the Dodgers.
Cole was the first pitcher to have two RBIs in his debut since the Nationals' Tommy Milone had three on Sept. 3, 2011, and Cole is the first to do it while also recording the win since the Tigers' Rick Porcello (two RBIs) on June 12, 2009 -- against the Pirates.
Cole was also the first Pittsburgh starter to collect a win in his debut since Paul Maholm threw eight innings in a 6-0 win on Aug. 30, 2005. At 22 years and 276 days old, Cole is the fourth-youngest Bucs starter since 1916 to record a win in his debut. Lee Tunnell, at 21 years and 309 days on Sept. 4, 1982, was the youngest.
Three Cards help to deck Mets
At 21 years and 345 days, Cardinals right-hander Michael Wacha (six innings, five hits, two runs) picked up his first Major League win. With St. Louis topping the Mets, 9-2, Wacha became the youngest Cards starter to record a win since Bud Smith on Sept. 22, 2001. In that game, Smith, at 21 years and 334 days old, went five innings and allowed a run in a 4-1 win over the Pirates.
David Freese went 2-for-4 in the game to extend his hitting streak to 20 games. Freese -- the first player in 2013 to hit safely in 20 straight games -- is the first Cardinals player to post a 20-game hitting streak since Ryan Theriot in 2011. Freese is batting .382 during his streak. Before it began, he was sitting at .209 for the season (he's now up to .287).
Also in the Cards' win, Allen Craig was 2-for-4 with a three-run home run. Since the beginning of the 2012 season, Craig is batting .403 with runners in scoring position (77-for-191) with a 1.103 OPS. For all players with at least 200 plate appearances in the situation since 2012, that batting average is the highest and the OPS is the second highest, behind Miguel Cabrera's 1.165.
The Reds defeated the Cubs, 12-2, with the victory notable for a couple of reasons. First, the win gave Dusty Baker his 1,620th career victory, moving him out of a tie with Ralph Houk into sole possession of 16th place.
The victory also gave the Reds 11 straight wins against the Cubs at Wrigley Field. According to the Cubs' media notes, this marks the first time the Cubs have dropped 11 consecutive home games to the same team.
Here and there
• In Oakland's 6-4 win over New York, Bartolo Colon issued four walks (his most in nearly two full years) but didn't allow any runs in six innings, and he improved to 8-2 on the season. It is the eighth time since the start of the 2012 season that Colon has finished an outing with at least six innings and no runs allowed, with those eight tying him for the fifth most in the Majors. Hernandez and Hiroki Kuroda each have 10 such games, while Jered Weaver and Clayton Kershaw each have nine. The others with eight: Johnny Cueto, R.A. Dickey, Gio Gonzalez, Mat Latos, Bud Norris and Barry Zito.
• Raul Ibanez hit his 13th home run in the Mariners' win over the Astros. The 13 place Ibanez in a tie with Carlton Fisk (1989) for the 13th most for any player in his age-41 or older season. Next up would be Willie McCovey ('79) and Reggie Jackson ('87), each with 15.
• Evan Longoria went 1-for-4 with his 12th home run in the Rays' 8-3 win over the Red Sox. Longoria has reached safely in 59 of Tampa Bay's 64 games this season, with the 59 tying for the fourth most in the Majors. Dustin Pedroia has reached safely in 61 games, Mike Trout and Cabrera have reached safely in 60, and joining Longoria at 59 is Joey Votto.
Roger Schlueter is senior researcher for MLB Productions. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.