Caught in a Pinch. With four pinch hits in the inning, the Rangers tied a major league record during a six-run outburst in the eighth against the Royals last Thursday. Rusty Greer, Mike Pagliarulo, Shawn Hare and Ivan Rodriguez all singled as Texas rallied to within 8-7. But one inning later, with the score tied 9-9, the Rangers had the bases loaded with two outs and pitcher Matt Whiteside up next, and they were out of pinch hitters. Texas had forfeited its designated hitter when DH Mickey Tettleton was pressed into catching duty, and Whiteside hadn't batted since 1986, when he was a senior in high school. So Ranger manager John Oates sent pitcher Bob Tewksbury, a career .153 hitter when he was in the National League, to the plate. Tewksbury, the first American League pitcher to bat this year, struck out. "I thought I might win the game," said Tewksbury, "but later, I thought, Who was I trying to kid?" Texas won anyway, 10-9 in the 10th.
Double or Nothing. Padre pitcher Joey Hamilton got his first major league hit last Friday night, doubling to the centerfield warning track against the Mets' Pete Harnisch. The hit came in Hamilton's 58th at bat. "I could have stopped at first and taken it all in, but I wanted to get as many total bases as I could," he said. "The fans were going nuts. I looked in our dugout, and everyone was bowing to me. After the game, the guys laid a row of bath towels all the way to my locker, where there was a cooler with a six-dollar bottle of champagne in it. They wrote some things on the ball, like Las Vegas had 1,000-to-1 odds that I'd get a hit tonight. They say good things come in bunches. My next thing is to run off a 12-game hitting streak."
The King of Whiff. Dodger outfielder Billy Ashley, who is 6'7" and has a very long swing, had already struck out 51 times in 118 at bats through last weekend. During one stretch of 34 at bats, from May 25 to June 7, he whiffed 20 times. Ashley was also easily leading the National League in percentage of swings missed: 98 misses in 259 swings, or 37.8%. By comparison Gregg Jefferies of the Phils, struggling with a .270 average, had swung and missed only seven times in 242 strokes (2.9%) through Sunday. Tony Gwynn of the Padres had swung and missed 106 times over the last three years.