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Roger Schlueter

MLB Notebook: Hamilton off to historic start

MLB Notebook: Hamilton off to historic start

MLB Notebook: Hamilton off to historic start
In that famous year of the pitcher -- 1968 -- there were still some wonderful offensive performances to appreciate.

For example, there was the Senators' Frank Howard over in the American League. That season, Howard got off to an OK start, compiling seven homers in the first four weeks, which was good enough to place him fourth in the AL in homers after the close of play on May 11. And then he -- much like Josh Hamilton has done this season -- made Major League ballparks the setting for his personal home run derby.

Howard homered in each of his next six games, hitting two homers in four of those contests. When the man who was sometimes called the Capital Punisher had ended his barrage, he'd set Major League records for the most homers over five consecutive games and the most over six consecutive games (when going deep in each).

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If anyone had cared to wonder about things like this, Howard had also matched a Phillies outfielder named Cy Williams (1923) for the most home runs hit through his team's first 33 games. Hondo was on his way to a Major League-leading 44 home runs that season, a figure that was a full eight big flies better than the closest competitor.

Hamilton
Hamilton homered twice and drove in two runs in a 3-for-4 night, helping lead the Rangers to a 10-3 victory over the Angels on Friday.

Hamilton's 17 home runs tied him with Williams (1923) and Howard ('68) for the most through a team's first 33 games. Williams had driven in 47 runs, Howard had 34 RBIs and Hamilton has a Major League-leading 40 in 33 team games.

Hamilton's 40 RBIs through 33 team games are the second most in Rangers history, two behind the total accumulated by Juan Gonzalez in 1998.

Over his past five games, Hamilton has eight home runs. Over his past 11 games, he's hit nine home runs, driven in 21 and has 18 hits in 41 at-bats.

Dunn
In Chicago's 5-0 win over the Royals, White Sox slugger Adam Dunn hit his 11th home run in a 2-for-2, two-walk ballgame.

With the 11th home run, Dunn tied his season total from 2011. Dunn also doubled, giving him 20 extra-base hits this season. He had 27 last year.

This game marked the seventh time in his career Dunn had collected two extra-base hits and two walks in a contest. The top-five career tallies for this sort of performance, since 1918, are Barry Bonds (32), Babe Ruth (31), Lou Gehrig (23), Ted Williams (22), and Jimmie Foxx and Mickey Mantle (20). Jim Thome, with 18 such games, leads all active players.

Beltran
Carlos Beltran homered twice, doubled, tripled, and drove in four runs for the Cardinals in their 9-7 loss to the Braves.

The multihomer game was the third of the season for Beltran, who has 33 in his career. The three this season through the Cardinals' first 32 games make Beltran the 12th player since 1998 to have at least three so early in a season. Carlos Delgado had four multihomer games through Toronto's first 32 contests in 2001, and Beltran is tied with 10 others with three.

Amazingly, Beltran is the second Cardinals switch-hitter in the past two years to hit three this early in a season. Last year, Lance Berkman also did it. The only other switch-hitter in the live-ball era to have three through his team's first 32 games was Mickey Mantle, in 1956.

The four extra-base hits gave Beltran 780 for his career and moved him past Ted Simmons (778) for the 10th most in history for a switch-hitter.

Inge
Oakland's Brandon Inge homered for the second straight game (and fourth time in five games) and drove in four runs for the second straight game (and fourth time in five games) in the A's 11-4 win over the Tigers.

According to the Athletics, via Elias, Inge is the first player since Gehrig, in 1931, to have four games with at least four RBIs within a five-game stretch.

Inge has played 10 games for Oakland, which has played a total of 33 games. Before Inge, the last A's player to have a quartet of four-RBI games within the team's first 33 contests was Al Simmons, in 1929. That season, Simmons played in 29 of the team's first 33 games.

Inge is the only Athletics player since 1918 to twice have back-to-back four-RBI games in the same season. He is the first player in the Majors to do it since Beltran did it with the Mets in 2006, with both of his back-to-back games coming in July.

Capuano
Chris Capuano allowed one run on four hits in seven innings and won his fourth straight start and fifth consecutive decision in the Dodgers' 7-3 victory over the Rockies.

Capuano has made seven starts this season, and in three of them (three of his past four) he has finished with at least seven innings pitched and no more than one run allowed. The most recent Dodgers left-hander to have at least three such starts through the Dodgers' first 32 games was Fernando Valenzuela, in 1986.

During his five-game winning streak, Capuano has made six starts, thrown 39 innings, allowed six runs on 28 hits, owns a 1.38 ERA and has fanned 35.

Cano
The Yankees' Robinson Cano went 4-for-4 vs. the Mariners, giving him 388 career multihit games in 1,085 career games played.

These 388 through 1,085 games tie Cano with fellow second baseman Charlie Gehringer for the 56th most since 1918. The top five: Al Simmons (485), Ichiro Suzuki (476), Paul Waner (464), Chuck Klein (461) and Lloyd Waner (455).

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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