MLB Notebook: Altuve off to Biggio-like start
In his 20-year career, Craig Biggio reached base safely 4,505 times: the 17th most in baseball history, the eighth most in National League history, and the absolute most for anyone in Houston Astros franchise history.
Biggio's total came from being hit by 285 pitches, 1,160 walks and 3,060 hits -- with 210 of those hits coming in 1998, when he set a team record that still stands. When the Astros had completed their 63rd game that season, Biggio, then the club's second baseman, owned a .327 batting average, a .406 on-base percentage and 80 hits.
The 2012 Astros just completed their 63rd game of the season on Thursday, with their current second baseman -- Jose Altuve -- using a two-hit night to bring his season total to 81.
Most MultiHit Games in 2012
The Reds compiled a season-high 17 hits and beat the Indians, 12-5, to complete a three-game sweep.
In the three-game set, Cincinnati's Brandon Phillips went 8-for-13 with two home runs and seven RBIs. In his past 26 games, Phillips is batting .337, slugging .564 and owns 11 extra-base hits with 25 RBIs. In his career, Phillips -- who played for the Indians from 2002-05 -- is a .356 hitter against Cleveland, with nine homers and 30 RBIs in 38 games.
Joey Votto went 1-for-3 with a three-run home run and walked twice. Votto has reached base safely in 58 of the Reds' 62 games this season. Those 58 are the most in the Majors, one ahead of the totals by the Braves' Dan Uggla and the Orioles' Adam Jones. The Padres' Chase Headley ranks fourth, with 56.
Oakland's Jarrod Parker allowed just three hits in seven scoreless innings and picked up the win, as the visiting Athletics beat the Rockies, 8-2.
Parker was only the third pitcher this season to finish a start at Coors Field with at least seven innings and no runs allowed. On April 9, Barry Zito threw a four-hit shutout, and on May 18, Kevin Millwood tossed a two-hit shutout.
The 23-year-old Parker has six starts this season with at least six innings pitched and no more than one run allowed -- the most on the A's. Oakland has 19 games of this type, which is tied with the Brewers and D-backs for the seventh most in the Majors. The Dodgers lead the Majors with 24.
Justin Verlander allowed two runs on five hits in eight innings, struck out eight with no walks and got the win in the Tigers' 5-3 victory over the Cubs.
Verlander, who leads the American Leagues in innings and strikeouts, is fourth in WHIP and OPS against and sixth in hits per nine, has now thrown at least six innings in 56 consecutive starts. With the 56 in a row, Verlander is five shy of tying Catfish Hunter (1975-76) for the third-longest such streak since 1920.
Matt Wieters doubled twice in a 4-for-5, five-RBI night, while outfielder Steve Pearce set a new career high with five RBIs, and Baltimore cruised by Pittsburgh, 12-6.
The dual effort marked only the third time since 1918 that two players for the franchise each drove in at least five runs in the same game. On July 31, 1941, Roy Cullenbine and Johnny Berardino each had five RBIs. On June 13, 1999, Cal Ripken, Jr. drove in six runs and Will Clark added five RBIs.
The Royals defeated the Brewers, 4-3, on Brayan Pena's game-ending single that plated two runs. With the come-from-behind win, Kansas City completed a three-game sweep, winning each game by one run.
Kansas City improved to 24-20 since April 25. Their winning percentage since that date (.545) is the fourth-best in the AL.
In the three-game series, Milwaukee's three starters (Zack Greinke, Randy Wolf, and Shaun Marcum) combined to allow four runs in 21 2/3 innings. In contrast, Brewers relievers combined to allow six runs in five innings, and took the loss in all three games. For the season, Brewers relievers own a 4.61 ERA -- second worst in the NL. In 2011, Milwaukee owned the fifth-best bullpen ERA (3.32) in the NL.
In Philadelphia's 6-1 win over the Twins, Joe Blanton threw a seven-hitter for the victory and his second complete game of the season. Blanton's higher-profile mates on the Phillies' staff -- Cole Hamels, Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee -- have no complete games this season. At the this point last year (through 65 team games), that trio had six, with each having at least one.
Jim Thome went 1-for-3 with a three-run home run, giving him 607 for his career. Thome, who needs two homers to tie Sammy Sosa for seventh on the all-time list, has hit 24 home runs in 277 career at-bats at Target Field. Thome's 24 home runs at Minnesota's ballpark represent 20 percent of all the homers hit there by left-handed batters.
Here and there
Cleveland's Michael Brantley went 1-for-4 with a double to extend his hitting streak to 21 games -- the longest in the Majors this season. Brantley is batting .341 (28-for-82) during his run.
Adam Dunn hit his 22nd homer of the season to tie Josh Hamilton for the Major League lead. Dunn's 22 homers through 63 team games represent the second- highest total in White Sox history, behind the 23 from Frank Thomas in 1994. The only other White Sox to have as many as 20 through the 63rd game were Thomas (20 in 1995) and Thome (21 in 2006).
Minnesota's Trevor Plouffe homered in his third straight game. Plouffe has four doubles, seven home runs and a 1.368 OPS in 11 games in June.
Roger Schlueter is senior researcher for MLB Productions. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.