MLB Notebook: Span sparking Nationals' late run

Washington's push for Wild Card spot coincided with start of leadoff man's hit streak

By Roger Schlueter 9/18/2013 10:33 A.M. ET

On Aug. 16 -- a day with an overflowing slate of 16 games -- the Nationals lost, 3-2, in 10 innings to the Braves.
During the loss -- one that put the Nats at 59-62 and 9 1/2 games behind the Reds for the second Wild Card slot in the National League -- leadoff hitter Denard Span took an 0-for-5. It was the 35th time he had collected at least one official at-bat but ended his day with no hits.
Since then, Span has not added a game to that tally. And the Nationals, who looked all but out of it, have reeled in 22 wins in 30 games to thrust themselves back into the postseason conversation, 4 1/2 games behind the Reds, with 11 games remaining on Washington's schedule.
In Washington's doubleheader Tuesday vs. Atlanta, Span went 1-for-4 in each contest to extend his hitting streak to 28 games. The run is the longest in the Majors this season (surpassing Michael Cuddyer's 27-game streak in May-June) and stands as the third longest in Expos/Nationals history, behind Vladimir Guerrero's 31-game streak in 1999 and Ryan Zimmerman's 30-game run in 2009. Span has batted .378 during his streak.
In the Nationals' 4-0 win in Game 2 of their doubleheader sweep, Zimmerman hit his 25th home run of the season. Zimmerman has 10 home runs in September, tying Tim Wallach in 1985 and Adam LaRoche in 2012 for the second most for the franchise in a September/October.
Lucky No. 51
The Orioles defeated the Red Sox, 3-2, with Manny Machado collecting double No. 51 and Chris Davis launching his 51st home run of the year.
Machado's 51 doubles tie him with Pete Rose in 1978 and Wade Boggs in '89 for the third most for a third baseman. George Kell hit 56 in '50, while Jeff Cirillo tallied 53 in 2000.
Machado's 68th extra-base hit broke him out of a tie with Mickey Mantle (1952) and Orlando Cepeda ('58), giving him sole possession of sixth place for the most extra-base hits in history for a player in his age-20 or younger season. Machado needs three more to catch Frank Robinson (1956) for the fifth most.
Davis's 51st home run:
Gives him the most in Brewers/Browns/Orioles history, surpassing the 50 from Brady Anderson in 1996.
Ties him with five others for the 32nd-most home runs in a season. The others with 51: Johnny Mize (1947), Ralph Kiner ('47), Willie Mays ('55), Cecil Fielder ('90) and Andruw Jones (2005).
Gives him 92 extra-base hits, which ties him with Anderson in 1996 for the most in franchise history. Eleven others (besides Davis and Anderson) have had 92 extra-base hits -- a figure stands as the 46th most in history.
Redbirds swing big lumber
The Cardinals collected 18 hits -- the second time in the past three games they've amassed at least 18 -- and defeated the Rockies, 11-4, to regain sole possession of first place in the NL Central.
Some notes on some of that hitting:
Yadier Molina collected his 40th double of the year, making him the second Cardinals backstop in franchise history to have that many in a season. In 1978, Ted Simmons had 40.
Matt Holliday collected his 30th double and 20th home run as part of a four-hit night. Holliday has 653 career extra-base hits -- the 20th-highest total for any player in history through his first 10 seasons.
With Holliday collecting his 50th and 51st extra-base hits of the season, the Cardinals have four players with at least 50 (Matt Carpenter, Molina and Carlos Beltran are the other three). They and the Orioles are the only two teams so far with four players to reach the half-century mark.
Carpenter had three hits, scored three runs and drove in a pair. He has scored 119 runs, has 75 RBIs and has collected 68 extra-base hits for the season. He is the 18th modern-era second baseman to reach each of those three totals, and the first Cardinals second-sacker to do it since Rogers Hornsby in 1925.
Quintana rewarded for solid work
White Sox southpaw Jose Quintana allowed a run in six innings and improved to 8-6 on the season in a 4-3 win over the Indians. Quintana, who has endured (according to the White Sox's media notes) an American League record 17 no-decisions this season, lowered his ERA to 3.49, good for a 125 ERA+.
The White Sox have -- with Quintana and Chris Sale -- two pitchers with an ERA+ of at least 120, at least 25 starts and fewer than 12 wins. Since 1901, five teams have been able to make this claim at the end of the season:
1972 Cubs: Bill Hands and Burt Hooton
1990 Expos: Oil Can Boyd and Dennis Martinez
2003 D-backs: Miguel Batista and Brandon Webb
2009 Dodgers: Clayton Kershaw and Randy Wolf
2010 Mets: R.A. Dickey and Johan Santana
Here and there
Josh Donaldson's single in the bottom of the ninth gave the A's a 2-1 win over the Angels and gave Oakland's third baseman his third hit of the night. Donaldson has 275 total bases this season, and he has added 69 walks to his line. This is the third time in franchise history a third baseman has reached those two baselines. Sal Bando, in 1969 and '73, had the first two such seasons.
In the first game of Atlanta's doubleheader vs. Washington, Evan Gattis clubbed his 20th home run, becoming the 52nd first-year player to reach that number. Among the group, Gattis' 5.92 HR percentage (20 home runs in 338 plate appearances) is among the top five. Those with higher marks: Wally Berger, Bob Horner, Kevin Maas and Ryan Braun.
In the Padres' 5-2 win over the Pirates, Jedd Gyorko went 3-for-5 with his 19th home run. Gyorko is one of four first-year second basemen to hit at least 19, joining Dan Uggla (27 in 2006), Joe Gordon (25 in 1938) and Alexei Ramirez (21 in 2008).
Tigers righty Anibal Sanchez fanned 10 in 6 1/3 innings vs. the Mariners on Tuesday, marking the third straight game Detroit got at least 10 strikeouts from its starter. The Tigers have 17 games this season in which their starter has struck out at least 10. Those 17 tie Detroit with the 1967 Twins, '71 Tigers and '98 Mariners for the 10th-most games by an AL team since '16.
Seattle's Raul Ibanez hit his 28th home run of the season to tie Barry Bonds (28 homers in his age-42 season in 2007) for the second most in history for a player in an age-41 or older season. Ibanez and Bonds sit behind Ted Williams and his 29 homers in his age-41 season in 1960.