MLB Notebook: A's pound BoSox like it's 1929
In 1929, the great Lefty Grove normally didn't need a whole lot of assistance from his offense. Grove led the American League with a 2.81 ERA that season, and in 13 of his 37 starts, he went at least nine innings and held the opposition to two runs or fewer.
But with the A's offense that Connie Mack had assembled in 1929, Grove could sometimes just cruise along and even cut his day short, saving some pitches for another more tense ballgame down the road.
Wednesday, May 1, offered one of those latter types of contests. With Philadelphia in Boston, Grove allowed two runs in the first but then tightened up. By the end of the fifth it was 9-2, and when the A's put up a 10-spot in the sixth to make it a laugher, Grove's day was done.
His future Hall of Fame partners Al Simmons and Jimmie Foxx each had five hits in the game, with Simmons driving in six and Foxx ending up with five RBIs. When things were all said and done, Philadelphia had a total of 29 hits (two shy of the AL record for a nine-inning game) and a 24-6 win.
The 18-run margin of victory for an Athletics team against the Red Sox would not be matched again until Friday, when the A's defeated the Red Sox 20-2.
The 18-run differential was the largest in the Majors since the Indians defeated the Royals, 19-1, on May 16, 2011. It was the largest for the Athletics since they beat the Rangers, 23-2, on Sept. 30, 2000, and the largest loss for the Red Sox since they fell to the Yankees, 22-1, on June 19, 2000.
The 20 runs for Oakland marked the team's highest total since scoring 23 on Sept. 30, 2000. Their total of 19 hits in the game was the most since Sept. 26, 2009, when they collected 19 in a 15-10 win against the Angels. Their 10 extra-base hits in the game were the most since Aug. 26, 2011, when they had 10 in a 15-5 win against the Red Sox. Their five home runs in the game were the most since Sept. 11, 2009, when they had five in a 12-5 win against the Twins.
George Kottaras drove in five runs Friday, while Brandon Moss and Josh Reddick each contributed four RBIs for the A's. The most recent game in which three Athletics players each had at least four RBIs was on Aug. 24, 2003, when Billy McMillon led the way with five and Miguel Tejada and Ramon Hernandez each had four.
Moss went 4-for-5 with four runs scored and four RBIs. Moss was the second Athletics player this season to have a four-hit, four-run, four-RBI game. Reddick accomplished the feat on May 11. The most recent season during which two Athletics each had a game like this was 2001 (Eric Chavez and Tejada).
Oakland has won seven straight and currently sits four games behind the Rangers in the AL West while holding down the top spot in the AL Wild Card standings.
The Giants' Buster Posey went 3-for-3 with a double, three RBIs and a walk, and he upped his slash line to .329/.407/.534.
Since 1901, 13 different catchers have posted a .300/.400/.500 season while qualifying for the batting title, with it happening a total of 25 times. The most recent catcher to finish the season at each of those three levels was Joe Mauer in 2009, while the most recent National League catcher to do it was Mike Piazza in 1997.
The Orioles defeated the Yankees, 6-1, to move to within two games of New York for first place in the AL East. Baltimore owns the second-best record for any AL team not leading a division (they're one game behind the Athletics).
Right-hander Miguel Gonzalez, a 28-year-old rookie, picked up his sixth win of the year after throwing seven scoreless innings and allowing four hits -- all singles against a team that leads the league in slugging -- and a walk. He struck out a career-best nine. In five August starts Gonzalez went 3-1 with a 1.91 ERA and allowed only one home run in 33 innings.
Nick Markakis went 3-for-5 for the O's. In 46 games since moving to the leadoff spot, Markakis is batting .340 with a .389 on-base mark, a .503 slugging percentage and 19 extra-base hits, and the Orioles have gone 28-18.
With the victory Friday, Baltimore improved its road record to an AL-best 36-28.
The Rangers' Adrian Beltre went 4-for-5 with a pair of doubles, closing out August with a flourish.
In 29 games during the month, Beltre hit .333 with a .384 on-base percentage and a .622 slugging mark. Beltre's two doubles gave him 459 for his career, tying him with Ty Cobb for the 10th most in history for any player through his age-33 season.
The Angels' Nos. 2-4 hitters -- Torii Hunter, Albert Pujols and Kendrys Morales -- combined to go 8-for-14 with six RBIs, and the Angels defeated the Mariners, 9-1.
With that production behind him, Mike Trout scored three runs to increase his total to a new rookie franchise record of 106.
Trout, who had been tied with Devon White (103 runs as a rookie in 1987), has scored three or more runs 10 times this season -- the most for any player since Sammy Sosa did it 11 times in 2001, and the most for any AL player since Alex Rodriguez did it 10 times in '00. It's also the most in Angels franchise history.
Here and there
Joe Nathan successfully converted his 26th consecutive save opportunity and set a new Senators/Rangers franchise record. Nathan had been tied with John Wetteland (1997-98). During the 26 games, Nathan has thrown 24 2/3 innings, allowed two runs on 12 hits and has fanned 33 batters.
Chicago's A.J. Pierzynski hit his 24th home run of the season. Those 24 are the third most in history for a catcher in his age-35 season or older. Carlton Fisk had 37 in 1985 (his age-37 season) and 26 in '83.
Miguel Cabrera doubled and homered to increase his Major League-leading total of extra-base hits to 67. No Tigers player has led the Majors in this category since Hank Greenberg had 99 in 1940. Greenberg (103 extra-base hits in '37) holds the team record for the most in a season.
Gio Gonzalez threw a five-hit shutout to improve to 17-7 on the season. The shutout -- the first in his career -- moved Gonzalez into a tie for the NL lead in victories. The 17 wins are the second most for a left-hander in Expos/Nationals history, behind the 20 by Ross Grimsley in 1978.
R.A. Dickey threw a five-hit shutout to improve to 17-4 on the season. The shutout was the third of the year for Dickey -- the most in the NL and the most for a Mets pitcher since David Cone had five in 1992. Dickey is tied with Johnny Cueto and Gonzalez for the league lead in wins.
Roger Schlueter is senior researcher for MLB Productions. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.