MLB Notebook: Tribe rolls through Windy City
During their four-game sweep of the White Sox at Comiskey Park in mid-August, 1948, the Indians had the benefit of three future Hall of Famers making starts against the Pale Hose. The Sunday doubleheader saw Bob Feller and Bob Lemon each notch complete-game victories, with Lemon finishing off the four-game set by twirling a seven-hit shutout. The day before those two made their starts, Steve Gromek -- the owner of 123 career victories but not a plaque in Cooperstown -- took the hill for the Tribe and went 8 2/3 innings for the win. And the day before Gromek made his turn, it was a 42-year-old rookie -- Satchel Paige -- who opened the four-game series and set the tone for what was to come, hurling a neat five-hitter for his first Major League shutout. Over the course of the four games, the four Indians starters combined for 35 2/3 of the 36 contested innings, allowed a total of four runs, and came away with four victories.
On Sunday at U.S. Cellular Field, Cleveland's Justin Masterson threw a six-hit shutout, beating the White Sox, 4-0. It was the third shutout of the season for Masterson (who is the American League's outright leader in the category), and his second of the year against Chicago.
Masterson is the first Indians pitcher since Sam McDowell in 1966 to author a pair of shutouts against the White Sox in one season. And his three shutouts through 82 team games are the most for an Indians pitcher since Bert Blyleven had four in 1985.
Cleveland's 4-0 win finished off a four-game sweep of the White Sox and gave the Indians a 15-13 record for June.
Before this set, the Indians had not swept a four-game series against the White Sox in Chicago since August 13-15, 1948. And before 2013, the last season to see the Indians post a winning record in June was 2007, when they were also 15-13.
• Ian Desmond homered, doubled and drove in three runs in the Nationals' 13-2 win over the Mets. Desmond finished June with 28 RBIs -- the second-most ever for the franchise in the month. In 1994, Moises Alou drove in 30 runs.
• Hitting in the eighth spot in the batting order, Royals right fielder David Lough was 4-for-4 with three doubles and a home run, and Kansas City defeated Minnesota, 9-8.
Lough is the fifth Royals player to have four extra-base hits in a game, joining Hal McRae (1974, batting cleanup), George Brett (1979, batting third), Lonnie Smith (1986, batting second) and Johnny Damon (2000, batting leadoff).
Lough is the 11th player since 1916 to collect four extra-base hits while batting in the eighth spot. The others: Tony Lazzeri (1936), Joe Gordon (1938), Jim Mason (1974), Freddie Patek (1980), Rick Miller (1981), Bill Haselman (1997), Doug Mirabelli (2000), Craig Paquette (2002), Miguel Cabrera (2003), and Damian Miller (2006).
• Yasiel Puig doubled and tripled as part of a four-hit day, and the Dodgers defeated the Phillies, 6-1. Puig finished June (his first month in the Majors) with a line of .436/.467/.713/1.180, with 44 hits. Among all first-year players since 1916:
Puig's 1.180 OPS is the fifth highest in any month (min. 100 plate appearances.); his .436 batting average is the highest in any month (min. 100 plate appearances). Lloyd Waner -- in September/October 1927 -- had owned the highest, with a .432 average; Puig's .713 slugging percentage is the tied for the 10th highest in any month (min. 100 plate appearances). Mandy Brooks owned an .845 mark in June 1925. Puig is tied with Wally Berger in September 1930.
• Oakland's Josh Donaldson homered, doubled and drew a walk in a 2-for-3 day that raised his OPS to .909.
Among Major League third basemen, Donaldson is fourth in OPS (behind Miguel Cabrera, Evan Longoria and David Wright); fourth in OPS+ (behind Cabrera, Wright and Longoria); is third in wOBA (behind Cabrera and Wright); is fourth in wRC+ (behind Cabrera, Wright and Longoria);
• The Pirates defeated the Brewers, 2-1, in 14 innings to improve their record to a Major League-best 51-30. The Pirates have won nine straight to help give them their most wins through 81 games since the 1972 team also had 51.
The Bucs' victory came via a pinch-hit RBI single from Russell Martin, who became the first Pittsburgh pinch-hitter with a game-ending hit in the 14th inning or later since World War II ended.
Thanks in part to the dominating pitching in this game (see below), the Pirates' team ERA in June finished at 2.99 -- the lowest for the franchise in any June since the 1972 club posted a 2.59 ERA.
Seven Pirates pitchers combined to allow four hits and one unearned run in the 14 innings. The last team -- before the Bucs -- to have a game with exactly 14 innings and no more than four hits and no earned runs allowed was the Athletics on July 20, 2004. The last time the Pirates had a performance like this was on Aug. 24, 1989.
In the victory, Vin Mazzaro threw five perfect innings in relief, becoming the first Pirate to do that since July 23, 1919, when Elmer Ponder threw 5 2/3 perfect innings.
• Manny Machado hit his sixth home run and 38th double of the season in the Orioles' 4-2 win over the Yankees.
Machado has 46 extra-base hits this season. Those 46 are the most before the All-Star break for any player in his age-20 or younger season, surpassing Alex Rodriguez's 45 in 1996.
Machado's 38 doubles tie him with Craig Biggio (1999) for the second most for a player before the All-Star break. Only Edgar Martinez, with 42 in 1996, had more.
• In the O's win, Chris Davis hit his 31st home run -- his 56th extra-base hit for the season.
Davis is the 22nd player to reach 31 homers by the All-Star break. Among these 22, his current OPS (1.135) would rank seventh.
His 56 extra-base hits are tied for the 10th most for a player before an All-Star Game. The most is 66, by Martinez in 1996. Davis is tied with Derrek Lee (2005), David Ortiz (2004), Preston Wilson (2003), Kevin Mitchell (1989), Lance Berkman (2001), Garret Anderson (2003) and Mike Sweeney (2001).
Davis owns a .332 batting average and 80 RBIs. Between 1933-2012, two players entered the All-Star break with at least 30 homers, at least 80 RBIs and a batting average of at least .330. In 2001, Luis Gonzalez was batting .355 with 35 home runs and 86 RBIs at the break, and in 2009, Albert Pujols ended his first half with a .332/32/87 line.
Roger Schlueter is senior researcher for MLB Productions. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.