- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
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It was one of the most memorable lines ever to grace a major league box score:
[This article contains a table. Please see hardcopy of magazine or PDF.]
The day after Rennie Stennets of the Pirates (5-3) wrote it, however, it was virtually forgotten. It should not be, nor should Pittsburgh's 22-0 destruction of Chicago at Wrigley Field that day, the most lopsided shutout since Providence trampled Philadelphia 28-0 in 1883. Stennett's feat was rarer than slugging four homers in a game (that has been done nine times) or pitching a no-hitter, of which there have been 102 in the NL and 80 in the AL. Only once before had anyone had seven hits in seven at bats in a nine-inning game, and that was back in 1892 when Catcher Wilbert Robinson and Baltimore drubbed St. Louis and a 25-year-old named Cy Young by a score of 25-4. Robinson's hits were six singles and a double. Stennett, in his first six times up, had four singles and two doubles. Then in the eighth he hit an opposite-field liner to right for a triple. And Stennett was not through. In Philadelphia the next day he legged out infield hits in his first two at bats and, after finally being retired, singled to right in the seventh. Stennett's nine straight hits in two games tied a modern mark, and his 10 hits in those two contests established a post-1900 record that fell two short of Cal McVey's alltime high in the league's first season, 1876. Although just 24, Stennett is already one of the smoothest-fielding second baseman in the majors, and his hitting spree helped raise his average to .291, exactly what he hit a year ago.
As for the race, the Mets and Cards were eliminated; the struggling Phillies (4-3) trailed the Pirates by six games. The Phillies lived and died by the home run. They beat the Pirates 4-1 as Mike Schmidt hit his 37th and Greg Luzinski his 33rd. Then, despite Schmidt's 38th and Luzinski's 34th, the Phillies lost to the Mets 9-7 when Ron Hodges slugged a two-run homer in the 11th. More homers—Dave Kingman's club-record 35th and Rusty Staub's 18th—carried the Mets (4-3) past the Cubs 7-5. And New York's Mike Vail tied the league mark for rookies by hitting in 23 consecutive games.
Doubles by Jerry Morales and Jose Cardenal in the ninth enabled Chicago (2-6) to beat Pittsburgh 6-5. Another double, by Reggie Smith of the Cardinals (3-4), brought a 7-6 defeat of the Phillies. After losing three one-run games, including a 4-3 affair to the Mets on an 18th-inning walk, the Expos took four in a row.
PITT 88-65 PHIL 82-72 ST. L 79-75
It's been this kind of a year for Atlanta (1-6): Dusty Baker, who had four hits and five RBIs in a 12-0 laugher over San Francisco, announced he wanted to be traded. In Atlanta that is not so surprising. The Atlanta Journal reported that 11 Braves have asked to be traded. Oh well, it is said that the Braves' management wants to trade 18.
Pitching news: Randy Jones of San Diego (0-6) twice missed getting his 20th win. Jack Billingham, who wants playoff assignments for Cincinnati (5-2), may have lost the chance. Hit hard again, he has a 7.20 ERA in his last six starts. And Burt Hooton of Los Angeles (5-1), after earning his 11th straight victory, missed getting a club-record 12th in a row when he was yanked after 11 innings against Houston. The Dodgers went on to take the game 5-4 in 13 innings on Lee Lacy's single and Jim Wynn's run-producing double.