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New Cardinals trio off to hot start, Willingham's grand day and more


This post-trade deadline edition of Diamond Digits looks at three Cards making the rest of the NL see red, a team seeing double and a National who enjoyed clearing the bases so much, he decided to do it twice in the same game.

Slugging percentage of the three big trade acquisitions by the Cardinals -- Mark DeRosa, Matt Holliday and Julio Lugo -- since they reached St. Louis.

General manager John Mozeliak couldn't have imagined that his moves, all executed well before the July 31 trade deadline, could have turned out this well, this fast. In 147 at-bats between them, the trio of new Redbirds have combined for nine doubles, three triples, 11 home runs, 25 RBIs and averages of .327/.366/.653. Since the longest-tenured Cardinal of the group, DeRosa, came over in a June 27 trade with Cleveland, and despite a trip to the 15-day disabled list, he's blasted seven home runs, tying him with Prince Fielder, Chase Utley and Jayson Werth during that span (four behind the NL pace set by Arizona's Mark Reynolds). In just nine games, Lugo, who had been designated for assignment by the Red Sox before being swapped for Chris Duncan on July 22, has already compiled more than half of the total bases he had in Boston this season (24 to 40) in less than a third of the plate appearances (40 to 123). Holliday, acquired for a package of minor leaguers on July 24 was the last piece to the puzzle. He's proceeded to bat a ridiculous .541 with even more absurd .946 slugging and .600 on-base percentages since. With Chris Carpenter, Joel Piñeiro and Adam Wainwright all pitching well, Mozeliak's moves have cemented his team in the NL playoff race.

Consecutive games with at least two doubles for the Blue Jays, a streak broken last Wednesday against the Mariners.

Actually, the Jays, major league leaders with 238 doubles this season, legged out at least one two-bagger in a span of 31 consecutive contests before being held to two singles and a home run against Seattle, the longest stretch in the majors this season. In the expansion era, the record for most consecutive games with at least one double is 75 set by the 1996 Cleveland Indians. While well short of that mark, Toronto narrowly missed the mark for a streak of two doubles, set in 2005 by the Cubs at 18.

Grand slams hit by Nationals left fielder Josh Willingham against the Brewers at Miller Park on Monday July 27.

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Willingham became just the 13th man in big-league history -- and just the third in National League annals -- to blast two home runs with the bases jammed in the same contest, and the first since Boston third baseman Bill Mueller nailed the Rangers on July 23, 2003. Willingham touched up starter Jeff Suppan in the fifth inning and came back against reliever Mark DiFelice in the sixth. Oddly, nearly half of the 13 double-granny hitters, like Willingham, did their damage in consecutive innings, and that doesn't include the most impressive of them all, Fernando Tatis, who on April 23, 1999 hit two grand slams for the Cardinals in the same inning, off of the same pitcher, Chan Ho Park. Willingham's eight RBIs set the Nationals team record and matched the Expos/Nats franchise mark for runs knocked in set by Tim Wallach in 1990. One final oddity: The last player to blast two while in the lineup as an outfielder? Former Nationals manager Frank Robinson, as an Oriole, against the Senators in Washington on June 26, 1970.

Kendry Morales, 1B, Angels

The knock against Morales during his first few big-league seasons was that he didn't have much power. In fact entering this season Morales hit just 12 career home runs in 377 at-bats. Well, rewrite the scouting report because the Angels first baseman is on a longball tear, blasting five home runs in six games this week to raise his seasons total to 23 (in 358 at-bats), tied for eighth in the AL. The rest of his numbers in six games against the Indians and Twins were monstrous, leading the majors in slugging (1.077), RBIs (13), tied in extra-base hits (7) and total bases (28).

Honorable Mention: Holliday, Willingham, Mike Lowell, Jose Lopez, Kevin Youkilis, Shin-Soo Choo, Michael Young, Tim Lincecum, Chris Carpenter and Josh Beckett.

Mark Buehrle, SP, White Sox

Oh, what a difference a week makes. Still basking in the afterglow of the 18th perfect game in major league history, Buehrle's return to the mound was nothing to celebrate. In his two starts of the week, Buehrle gave up 12 earned runs and 17 hits in just 10 2/3 innings in losses to the Twins and Yankees. His season ERA which had fallen to 3.28 after his perfecto, ballooned to a season-high 3.79 after the streaking Yankees delivered a 12-hit, seven-run beating on Sunday. While there were pitchers with worse ERA's than Buehrle's 10.13 for the week, the stark contrast to what was expected after his perfect game gave him the nod.

Dishonorable Mention: Yuniesky Betancourt, Alex Gonzalez, Chris Young, Pudge Rodriguez, Travis Hafner, MattDiaz, Jason Kendall, Vin Mazzaro, Craig Stammen and Kevin Gregg.