In honor of Cal Ripken Jr. of the Baltimore Orioles playing in the first of a record 2,632 consecutive major league baseball games on this date in 1982, let’s look at some less meaningless streaks that have been extended or ended in the baseball today.
- The Los Angeles Angels defeated the Yankees last night, 5-1, for their eighth straight victory. The Angels are now 26-25 on the season, just 5.5 games behind the Rangers. This is the first time the Angels have been over the .500 mark since they were 1-0 this the season. By the way, the Yanks are 13-16 against teams over .500.
- The first-place (!) Chicago White Sox won their seventh straight by defeating the Rays, 6-2. Philip Humber (2-2) had been 0-2 with an 8.22 ERA over six starts since his perfect game and earned the win. The ChiSox have won 11-of-12 and are six games over .500 for the first time since they ended the 2010 season 88-74. The White Sox +36 run differential is second only to the Rangers +92 in the AL
- The Oakland Athletics lost for the seventh time in a row, which should not be surprising. Perhaps the only thing surprising in last night’s 3-2 loss was that the Twins won. Somehow I expected both teams would find a way to lose. The game did have a terrific ending as Josh Willingham hit a three-run two-out walkoff homer to give Minnesota what may prove to be their highlight of the season.
- The Red Sox streak of 48 games of .500 or below baseball ended last night as Boston defeated the Tigers, 6-3, to move over the .500 mark for the first time this season. The victory moved the oft-injured Bostonians to 25-24 on the season after they failed to move over .500 attempting to do it at 0-0, 10-10, 11-11, 21-21, 22-22, and 23-23. This was the latest the Red Sox moved above .500 since 1996, when Boston moved to 66-65 on Aug. 25. The Sox have won 7-of-10 and while they are still in last place in the all over .500 AL East, they trail the first place Orioles by just 3.5 games.
- The Sox beat Justin Verlander who, despite his off night, continued his streak of pitching at least six innings per start. He has now done it in 53 straight starts going back to 8/22/2010.
- There have now been three 20-game hitting streaks this season (and none longer) as Adam Jones hit two homers, extending his hitting streak to 20 games, in the Orioles 8-6 loss to the Blue Jays. The O’s have lost four straight. In the 20 games, Jones is hitting .358 (29-81) with eight homers and 17 RBI. Earlier in the season, Pablo Sandoval and Angel Pagan had 20-game hitting streaks. George Sisler has the longest streak in franchise history hitting in 41 straight games in 1922 for the St. Louis Browns. Since the the team moved to Baltimore, the longest hitting streak belongs to Eric Davis who hit in 30 straight in 1998.
- It is great to see Adam Dunn rebound from his non-hyperbolic disastrous 2011 season, but it is with a combination of schadenfreude and fascination that I continue to follow Dunn’s streak of 32 straight games with at least one strike out. Dunn has played in 50 games this season and has gone whiffless in only two.
- While Dunn didn’t homer last night, Dayan Viciedo did and the White Sox have now homered in 15 consecutive games, tying the Rangers for the longest streak this season and the longest since the Jays hit in 19 straight in 2010.
- This season, the Giants have had two streaks of six games overall in which they haven’t homered and one of five. They are currently in a streak of eight games in which their home fans have not seen them hit a homer. Despite that, the Giants have now won 12-of-18, including 3-1 last night over the Diamondbacks, and in the absence of home runs, the team is getting hits from Melky Cabrera…lots of them. The Melk Man had three hits last night, giving him 50 for the month passing Willie Mays for the most ever in May by a San Francisco player and the second most in any month. Randy Winn had 51 in September, 2005.
Special shout-out to Mets pitcher Jeremy Hefner who earned his first major league victory by defeating the Phillies, 6-3, and getting his first hit, a homer no less. Hefner became the first major league pitcher to hit his first homer in his first win since Dennis Tankersley did it with the Padres on May 26, 2002. Interestingly, not only was it Tankersley’s last and only major league homer, it was his last and only major league win.