On Sept. 17, 1957, with the Red Sox hosting the Kansas City Athletics, Ted Williams walked to the plate to lead off the eighth inning with the Red Sox down by one.
Williams, who was pinch-hitting for Boston's pitcher, reliever Murray Wall, hadn't played a game since Sept. 1, and he was facing Tom Morgan, who had also just entered the contest. Williams tied the game with one swing, taking the right-hander Morgan deep for the 452nd home run of his career.
Williams' game-tying home run that day started an incredible run for the Red Sox icon, who would, at the age of 39, finish that season with an equally incredible line, including a .388 batting average, a .526 on-base percentage, a .731 slugging percentage, a 1.257 OPS and a 233 OPS+. Starting with that pinch-hit home run in the eighth inning on Sept.17, Williams had a streak of plate appearances that went: home run, walk, home run, intentional walk, home run (grand slam), walk, walk, walk, home run, single, walk, single, walk, walk, walk, hit-by-pitch. Sixteen plate appearances, 16 straight times reaching base. No American League player before or since has had a longer streak of reaching base safely than Williams in September 1957.
Jose Bautista went 3-for-3 on Saturday with two home runs -- his first multi-homer game of the season. Dating back to his last plate appearance on April 20, Bautista has reached base safely in 10 straight plate appearances. The sequence has gone: single, double, triple, home run, walk, walk, home run, home run, walk, single. Lyle Overbay owns the Blue Jays' team record, having reached safely in 12 plate appearances in May 2008.
In the Cubs' 10-8 win over the Dodgers on Saturday, Chicago's first three hitters -- Starlin Castro, Darwin Barney and Marlon Byrd -- combined to collect nine hits in 15 at-bats, score four runs, drive in six, double twice and steal three bases.
Castro's four-hit day (the second of the season for the shortstop) gave him 35 hits through the Cubs' first 20 games. Since 1920, only two other shortstops besides Castro -- Lyn Lary with 39 hits in 1937 and Arky Vaughn with 35 hits in '35 -- collected as many as 35 hits through his team's first 20 games.
Since 1920, only two other Cubs players besides Castro -- Frank Demaree and Billy Herman in '36 -- have collected as many as 35 hits through the club's first 20 games. That year, Demaree had 36 hits and Herman had 35.
Making his 350th career appearance (and 349th career start), Tim Hudson won his 168th game Saturday. That total -- through 350 appearances -- is one more than Lefty Grove and tied with Bob Gibson and Jack Morris for the 19th most since 1920.
In his 327th career appearance (all of them starts), CC Sabathia won his 158th career game Saturday. That total -- through 327 appearances -- is 19th most for any pitcher since 1920.
Most Career Grand Slams
In the Yankees' 15-3 win on Saturday vs. the Oriole, Alex Rodriguez went 2-for-5 with a homer, two runs scored and six RBIs. The home run -- an eighth-inning grand slam -- was the 618th of his career, and 22nd slam. The 22 grand slams are the second most in history, behind Lou Gehrig's 23.
Rodriguez's six-RBI game marked the 14th time he has driven in at least six in a game. That total ties Rodriguez with Gehrig for the most in the live-ball era. The six RBIs gave Rodriguez 1,847 for his career. He passed Carl Yastrzemski (1,844) and is 13 RBIs shy of tying Mel Ott for 11th most all-time.
Rodriguez's other hit Saturday was a two-run double. He now has 1,127 career extra-base hits, four behind Tris Speaker for 11th all-time.
Andre Ethier went 1-for-4 on Saturday and extended his hitting streak to 20 games. Ethier is the first Dodgers player since Nomar Garciaparra (a 22-game hit streak in 2006) to hit in at least 20 straight.
Jim Thome drew two walks Saturday in the Twins' 10-3 win over the Indians. It was the 368th time in his career Thome had drawn at least two walks in a game. Since 1919, only Barry Bonds (660), Williams (510), Babe Ruth (501), Rickey Henderson (493), Joe Morgan (422), Mickey Mantle (393), Eddie Yost (381) and Frank Thomas (373) have more multi-walk games.
Ryan Braun went 2-for-5 with two runs scored, hit his seventh home run and drove in three Saturday. Braun has reached safely in all 20 of the Brewers' games this season -- the second-longest streak to begin the season in club history. Only Robin Yount (23 games in 1983) owns a longer streak.
Daisuke Matsuzaka (8 IP, 1 hit, 9 K's) and Daniel Bard combined on a two-hit shutout Saturday in Boston's 5-0 win over the Angels. Over their past 10 games, Red Sox starters have gone 6-2 with a 1.65 ERA (12 earned runs in 65 1/3 innings).
It was the second straight start in which Matsuzaka went at least seven innings and allowed a single hit. He is the eighth pitcher in the past 25 years to have two consecutive starts of at least seven innings and one or zero hits allowed. He joined Dave Stieb (1988), David Cone ('91), Ron Villone ('99), Randy Johnson (2001), Pedro Martinez ('02), Freddy Garcia ('06) and Vincente Padilla ('09). Besides Matsuzaka and Martinez, the only other Red Sox pitcher since 1919 to have two straight games like this was Howard Ehmke, in 1923.
Roger Schlueter is senior researcher for MLB Productions. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.