When baseball took its All-Star break in July, the Braves were tied with the Nationals for first place.
The Braves promptly won their first game after the break for a major league record-tying ninth year in a row.
That’s just one of the myriad milestones achieved since the all-star break. Thanks to our vigilant friends at the Elias Sports Bureau, we can now recap for you various and sundry other oddities from baseball’s amazing second half:
July 18: Jeff Samardzija becomes the second pitcher in history to win only three of his first 20 starts despite an earned run average under 3.00.
July 19: Adam Jones and J. J. Hardy of the Orioles homer in the first inning the day after both were hit by pitches. Last occurrence: July 4, 1958, when Jim Landis and Earl Battey of the White Sox did so.
July 22: Jake Peavy loses his ninth straight decision, tying a record for former Cy Young award winners held by Barry Zito, Denny McLain and Warren Spahn.
July 24: The Cubs surrender a nine-run inning to the Padres without allowing an extra-base hit. This is a first in Padres history, and an MLB first since 2007.
July 25: Yasiel Puig becomes the first Dodger to hit three triples in a single game. Jimmy Sheckard did it on Opening Day, 1901, when the team was known as the Superbas.
Aug. 1: Mike Trout registers his third 25-homer season before his 23rd birthday, joining Hall of Famers Mel Ott, Eddie Mathews and Frank Robinson. Justin Verlander becomes the third Tiger in the last 70 years to win at least 10 games in nine straight seasons, joining Mickey Lolich (’64-’75) and Jack Morris (’79-’88.)
Aug. 2: The Tigers score in every inning and beat the Red Sox, 11-5. That’s the fewest runs scored in such a game since 1901. Cardinals second baseman Kolten Wong and shortstop Jhonny Peralta both homer in the same game for the second time this season. They’re the first Cardinal middle infielders to do so since Julian Javier and Dick Groat in 1963.
Aug. 5: The Rangers become Kings for a day, ripping the White Sox, 16-0. They’re the first team in 77 years to win a shutout by at least 15 runs when entering the game at least 25 games below .500. The game was the largest shutout in Rangers history. Adam Dunn made his MLB pitching debut for the White Sox. With 457, he had the most career home runs of anyone making their pitching debut since Jimmie Foxx, who had 456 when he first pitched in 1939.
Aug. 7: Two days after becoming the first Cub to hit an extra-inning homer in his MLB debut, Javier Baez hits two more homers. He’s the first to hit three homers in his first three MLB games since Joe Cunningham of the 1954 Cards, who hit all of 64 in his 12-year career.
Aug. 8: Baez becomes the first Cub to strike out four times in his Wrigley Field debut.
Aug. 9: Caleb Joseph of the Orioles becomes the first rookie catcher to homer in five straight games. Baez becomes the first player since 1900 to strikeout seven times in his first two home games.
Aug. 15: Johnny Cueto, the first to reach 15 wins, is the first Red to earn that distinction since ex-Atlanta Cracker Jim Merritt did so in 1970.
Aug. 16: David Ortiz joins Ted Williams and Carl Yastrzemski as the only players to hit 400 home runs with the Red Sox.
Aug. 18: The Cubs hold the Mets to four hits in each game of a four game series, a feat last accomplished by the 1963 Houston Colt 45s, also against the Mets, at the Polo Grounds.
Aug. 21: Joe Panik of the Giants hits his first MLB homer as part of a four-hit game. Hall of Famers who also did so: Duke Snider, Ted Williams, and Nellie Fox. The Twins score 20 runs on 20 hits. There have been eight 20/20 games in MLB history, and the Twins have three of them.
Aug. 23: Baez becomes the first player in MLB history with six or more homers (seven) and 30 or more strikeouts (34) in his first 20 MLB games.
Sept. 1: Dunn is the first to homer in his first game with three different teams after already hitting 250 career homers. He joins Frank Robinson by homering in his first at-bat with a new team after hitting 450 career homers. Babe Ruth and Willie Mays also homered in their first game with a new team after hitting 450 career homers.
Sept. 3: The Twins’ Kennys Vargas reaches the 40-hit (43) and 30-RBI (31) plateau in his 32nd career game. Only two players reached it faster: Albert Pujols (29th game) and Joe DiMaggio (28th).
Sept. 10: Rafael Montero and Jacob deGrom of the Mets start back-to-back shutouts, the first Mets rookies to do so since Jerry Koosman and Jim McAndrew in 1968. In May, Yankees rookies Masahiro Tanaka and Chase Whitley also turned the trick, against the Mets, whose starters were Montero and deGrom!
Sept. 16: Wilmer Flores of the Mets becomes the first in MLB history with a six-RBI game at short and second in the same season. Only six others have done so in their careers.
Sept. 20: The Phils’ Jerome Williams beats the A’s for the third time this season, with his third different team, an MLB first.
Sept. 27: The Brewers’ Jonathan Lucroy sets a club record with 53 doubles, and a record for doubles by a catcher with 47 (Pudge Rodriguez had 46 in 1996.) He also hit 34 doubles on the road, second all-time to Lou Gehrig’s 36 in 1927.
Sept. 28: Derek Jeter retires having gotten at least one hit in 77 percent of his career games, second only to Joe DiMaggio (78 percent). Jose Altuve finishes with 17.08 percent of the Astros’ hits, the third highest percentage ever, behind Nap Lajoie (17.2 percent with Cleveland in 1910) and George Burns (17.13 percent with the 1918 A’s). Baez finishes his rookie season with a three-strikeout game, ending up with 95 strikeouts in 229 plate appearances, the highest strikeout rate for any player in history with at least 200 plate appearances.
Denton Ashway is a contributing columnist for The Times. His column appears weekly.