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Roger Schlueter

MLB Notebook: Stanton powering surprising Marlins

Miami slugger is first in franchise history to collect 40 RBIs through 35 team games

MLB Notebook: Stanton powering surprising Marlins

When Hack Wilson drove in an astounding 191 runs in 1930, the Cubs outfielder averaged about 1.23 RBIs per game played. But that year, Wilson didn't get off to an extraordinary start (at least in terms of piling up the RBIs). By the conclusion of his team's 35th game, Wilson had driven in 36 -- good enough for second most in the National League at that point, behind Chuck Klein's 39. By the end of July, Klein was still ahead of Wilson, 116 to 104.

And then August happened. In 30 games that month, Wilson posted a 1.284 OPS, knocked out 13 homers and drove in 53 runs to turn that 12-RBI deficit from a month earlier into a 16-RBI advantage.

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These are the kinds of stories that are fun to ponder in light of Giancarlo Stanton's superb -- if not historic -- start to the 2014 campaign.

Giancarlo off to torrid start
After enjoying a homestand in which they won eight of nine, the Marlins continued their recent success Thursday with an uncommon road win, defeating the Padres, 3-1.

With the victory, Miami improved to 3-10 on the road this season. The difference in this latest victory came from a two-run home run from Stanton in the 11th inning, giving the No. 3 hitter an NL-leading 40 RBIs and a league-leading 11 homers. The 40 RBIs through 35 team games are the most in Marlins franchise history, with Stanton's total surpassing Moises Alou's mark of 34 in 1997.

Stanton is the fifth player in the past 10 seasons to have at least 40 RBIs through his team's first 35 games. Evan Longoria had 45 in 2009, Josh Hamilton collected 44 in '12, Albert Pujols tallied 43 in '06, and Miguel Cabrera had 40 last season. None of these four players finished the year with the most RBIs in his league.

Stanton's 11 home runs through 35 team games rank as the fifth highest in Marlins history. Cliff Floyd set the mark with 13 in 2001.

Indians break out the heavy lumber
The Indians collected nine extra-base hits in a 9-4 victory against the Twins, with left fielder Michael Brantley contributing a double and a homer in a three-hit day.

Cleveland had three players -- Mike Aviles, Asdrubal Cabrera and David Murphy -- each collect two doubles. Since 1914, this game marked the eighth time the team has done this, with the most recent previous occurrence having taken place in a 14-2 win over the Cardinals on July 6, 2001. In that game -- one that also saw Jim Thome hit three homers -- Einar Diaz, Juan Gonzalez and Wil Cordero each produced a pair of two-base hits. In the past 101 seasons, the Tribe has never had more than three players accomplish the feat in a game.

Both Brantley and Cabrera fell a triple shy of the cycle -- the first time since 2009 the Indians have experienced two players doing that in the same game. In '09, they had two such games within the first 28 contests of the season (April 18 against the Yankees and May 6 against the Red Sox).

Astros cut down on whiffs to beat Tigers
Houston snapped Detroit's eight-game winning streak, defeating the Tigers 6-2. In this game, Astros batters fanned only three times, matching the second-lowest total the team has posted since moving to the American League for the 2013 season.

Last year, the Astros and Tigers faced each other seven times, and in those seven games, Houston's offense totaled 76 strikeouts. Since 1914, the Tigers-Astros matchup in 2013 produced the 38th-highest strikeout rate per nine innings (with a minimum of seven games).

The highest mark came from Cubs pitchers against D-backs hitters in 2010, when Chicago's hurlers averaged 11.57 strikeouts per nine in seven games. The high mark for any AL matchup came last year, when Detroit's staff averaged 11.42 K's per nine against the Mariners.

Road warriors
The Orioles defeated the Rays, 3-1, in St. Petersburg to complete a three-game sweep and improve to 11-8 on the road. The O's .579 road winning percentage is the sixth highest in the Majors, and among all AL teams when they are on the road, the club is first in batting average, second in slugging percentage and second in OPS, at .772.

Since moving to Baltimore for the 1954 season, the club's highest OPS on the road for a full season belongs to the 1996 team, which posted an .846 mark away from home. That .846 mark is the fourth highest for any team since 1954, with the '94 Yankees (.866), '96 Mariners (.852) and '99 Yankees (.847) the only teams with higher rates.

Another wrinkle in Dodgers-Giants rivalry
In a no-decision, the Giants' Ryan Vogelsong finished his start with 7 1/3 innings of one-run ball, and San Francisco eventually came away with a 10-inning, 3-1 victory over the Dodgers.

Vogelsong has made three starts against the Dodgers this season, and while he has not picked up a victory in any of the games, his team has won all of them. Since both teams swapped coasts for the 1958 season, the high mark for this sort of thing (within the Giants-Dodgers rivalry, the most team wins in an individual pitcher's starts) belongs to three hurlers on each side, with all six claiming five such games in one season.

For the Giants, Mike McCormick (1960), Juan Marichal ('69) and Mike Krukow ('86) each claimed the five, while for the Dodgers, the five in one season belong to Don Drysdale ('59), Burt Hooton ('78) and Clayton Kershaw (2011). Among these six, only Marichal and Kershaw recorded individual wins in all five of the team wins.

Here and there
• In Toronto's 12-6 victory over Philadelphia, Jose Bautista (1-for-4) extended his streak of reaching safely to 35 games. Since 1985, Bautista's run is tied for the 11th longest to open a season, and it is tied for the fourth-longest streak in a season in franchise history. Bautista is three shy of matching the record of 38 set by Carlos Delgado from July 31-Sept. 11, 1998.

• Making his second appearance of the 2014 season, Mariners right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma allowed four singles in eight shutout innings, fanned seven with no walks, and Seattle defeated Kansas City, 1-0. Among the 100 pitchers with at least 30 combined starts since the beginning last year, Iwakuma's 0.990 WHIP is the fourth lowest. The three men with the lower marks: Kershaw (0.925), Jose Fernandez (0.962) and Max Scherzer (0.968).

• Facing a Rockies offense that had produced a .377/.407/.627 line and had averaged more than eight runs per game over its previous seven contests, Matt Harrison (5 1/3 innings, three hits) and four Rangers relievers combined on a five-hit shutout, and Texas came away with a 5-0 win. The Rangers lead the Majors with seven team shutouts, with those seven through 35 games representing the most in franchise history. The seven through 35 games for Texas in 2014 also stands as the most at this point for any AL team since the 1989 Angels also had seven.

Roger Schlueter is senior researcher for MLB Productions. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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