MLB Notebook: 'Grand' day off the bench
On June 21, 1961, in Chicago, Roy Sievers came to bat for the first time in the fourth inning, when he pinch-hit for first baseman J.C. Martin. With the bags packed, the White Sox already up, 8-3, and Johnny Antonelli on the mound, Sievers put one over the fence for a grand slam.
Two innings later he came to bat again, and with Antonelli still pitching for the Indians, hit a three-run home run. Sievers, who began the day on the bench, ended the game with seven RBIs; no non-starting player has ever driven in more runs in a live-ball era ballgame. But Sievers wasn't the only White Sox hero off the bench that day. Don Larsen had come on in relief, after starter Frank Baumann allowed three runs in two innings, and went the rest of the way, allowing seven hits in seven shutout innings.
Larsen also holds a connection to the latest player to have a big RBI day after beginning the game on the bench: Curtis Granderson. Granderson and Larsen are two of 33 Yankees players since 1918 to have a pair of extra-base hits in a substitute role, with Larsen's day coming 55 years ago, on Aug. 14, 1957, when he pitched seven innings in relief of Whitey Ford.
Granderson -- who entered the game in the sixth inning -- fell a triple shy of the cycle and drove in five runs as the Yankees defeated the Orioles, 13-3. Granderson is the only Yankees player since 1918 to have a five-RBI game as a substitute; he is the third player in the Majors to do it this season, following the Cubs' David DeJesus on May 11 (13-inning game) and Oakland's Seth Smith on July 27. Smith's effort for the Athletics was also against the Orioles. The last substitute to finish his day with at least three hits and at least five RBIs was the Blue Jays' Kelly Gruber, who did it against the Yankees on April 11, 1988. That day, Gruber drove in five runs and had a single, a double and two homers.
Derek Jeter went 2-for-4 and hit his 15th home run of the season in Sunday's win. Jeter -- with 3,279 hits -- is now four behind Willie Mays for 10th on the all-time hits list.
Jeter lifted his 2012 hit total to a Major League-leading 191. Five players in baseball history have collected at least 200 hits in an age-38 season or older: first baseman Jake Daubert in 1922 (205 hits in age-38 season); outfielder Sam Rice in '28 and '30 (202 hits in his age-38 season in '28 and 207 in '30), first baseman Pete Rose in '79 (208 hits in his age-38 season) and designated hitter Paul Molitor in '96 (225 hits in his age-39 season).
The Braves' 10-inning, 3-2 victory moved the team's ERA in the second half of the season to 3.01, the best in the NL and second in the Majors to the Rays' 2.42 mark.
Facing a Nationals team that had averaged 8.6 runs, 13.8 hits and 6.6 extra-base hits in their past five games, Miami's Ricky Nolasco twirled a four-hit shutout and the Marlins defeated the Nats, 8-0. Nolasco also threw a shutout against Washington on Aug 28; he is the only pitcher this year to throw one against the Nationals. Before him, the last pitcher to have a pair of shutouts in a season against the Expos/Nats franchise was Tommy Greene in 1991.
B.J. Upton hit three home runs, James Shields threw a two-hit shutout with eight K's and no walks, and the Rays defeated the Rangers, 6-0.
Upton is the third player in Tampa Bay franchise history to hit three homers, joining Jonny Gomes (July 30, 2005) and Evan Longoria (Sept. 18, 2008). Upton -- who homered on the first pitch he saw in the first inning for his seventh career leadoff home run -- is the 21st leadoff hitter since 1918 to homer three times in a game, and the first to do it since Chris Heisey on June 22, 2011.
Uton's three homers gave him 21 for the season, and with his 29 steals, it made him a 20-20 player for the third time in his career. He is the 19th player in history to have at least three 20-20 years through his age-27 season. Vada Pinson, Bobby Bonds, Darryl Strawberry and Carlos Beltran each had five, for the most.
Shields' shutout produced a game score of 91, the second time this season he's produced a score of at least 90, and the fourth time in his career he's reached that level. He's the fourth pitcher this season -- joining R.A. Dickey, Matt Cain and Felix Hernandez -- to have two 90-game score performances. Shields' four career 90-game-score starts are the fourth most for any active pitcher. Roy Halladay and Chris Carpenter each have six, and Justin Verlander has five.
Zack Greinke allowed two runs in seven innings, Mike Trout homered to lead off the game for the second straight day, and the Angels defeated the Tigers, 3-2.
With the outing, Greinke improved to 4-0 with a 1.88 ERA in 28 2/3 innings in his past four starts.
Trout, who has four leadoff homers this season, has a total of 27 home runs on the year. Those 27 tie him with Al Kaline for the sixth most in history for a player in his age-20 season or younger. The five ahead of him are Mel Ott (42 in '29), Frank Robinson (38 in '56), Alex Rodriguez (36 in '96), Tony Conigliaro (32 in '65) and Ted Williams (31 in '39).
Chase Headley hit his 27th home run of the season -- a seventh-inning grand slam -- and the Padres defeated the D-backs, 8-2. Headley leads the National League with 102 RBIs; no Padres player since Dave Winfield in 1979 has led the league in that category. Headley has a Major League-leading 15 games with three or more RBIs, the most for a Padres player since Phil Nevin had 15 in 2001.
Tommy Milone fanned 10 with no walks in six innings of two-run ball and picked up the win in the Athletics' victory over the Mariners. Milone has a pair of 10-strikeout, no-walk games this season to become the first Oakland pitcher since Mark Mulder in 2002 to have more than one.
Barry Zito (6 1/3 innings, four hits) and five relievers combined on a five-hit shutout, and the Giants defeated the Dodgers, 4-0.
The shutout was the 165th for the Giants against the Dodgers since 1901. Since then, the Dodgers have blanked the Giants 170 times. The Dodgers have been shut out 13 times this season, third most in the Majors. They have been blanked by the Giants four times, the most times since 1967.
The shutout was the 13th of the season for the Giants, which paces the NL and is tied (with the Athletics) for the third most in the Majors. The Angels lead with 15, and the Rays have 14.
Buster Posey hit his 20th home of the season in a 2-for-4 night, moving his slash line to .327/.402/.531. Since the start of June, Posey owns a line of .345/.428/.567 with 37 extra-base hits and 60 RBIs in 82 games.
Roger Schlueter is senior researcher for MLB Productions. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.