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Giants’ streak of allowing no more than 3 runs ends at 18 games

Posted by Andy on September 26, 2010

The Giants just finished an amazing streak of 18 straight games without allowing more than 3 runs. Check out the longest such streaks since 1920:

Rk Strk Start End Games W L CG SHO SV IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA Opp
1 CIN 1943-09-25 1944-04-28 20 16 4 19 7 0 186.0 122 26 24 46 75 1 1.16 BSN,PHI,BRO,CHC,PIT,STL
2 SFG 2010-09-05 2010-09-24 18 12 6 0 5 7 161.0 90 25 21 36 155 8 1.17 LAD,ARI,SDP,MIL,CHC,COL
3 NYY 1986-09-20 1987-04-06 16 12 4 5 1 6 146.0 102 29 26 44 64 11 1.60 DET,BAL,TOR,BOS
4 OAK 1981-04-09 1981-04-24 16 15 1 13 4 1 145.0 89 23 23 46 78 6 1.43 MIN,CAL,SEA
5 CLE 1972-04-29 1972-05-20 16 13 3 8 2 5 152.0 95 27 25 54 91 3 1.48 KCR,TEX,CHW,NYY,DET
6 TOR 1991-06-26 1991-07-13 15 13 2 1 4 8 136.0 90 23 20 33 87 6 1.32 MIN,SEA,TEX
7 SFG 1963-06-06 1963-06-19 15 9 6 5 2 3 134.2 103 30 26 40 80 6 1.74 CHC,HOU,LAD
8 CHW 1954-07-04 1954-07-18 15 11 4 8 5 3 129.0 90 23 21 45 59 4 1.47 CLE,BAL,DET,WSH,PHA
9 CHC 1946-08-15 1946-08-29 15 12 3 8 2 2 135.0 110 25 19 37 62 4 1.27 CIN,PIT,PHI,BSN,NYG,BRO
Provided by View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 9/26/2010.

The Giants have the longest streak within one season since 1920. Elias has reported that the White Sox had 20 straight such games in the 1917 season.

A few interesting things:

  • Despite allowing no more than 3 runs and an average of just 1.4 runs per game over the streak, the Giants still went "only" 12-6, not as good a record as might be expected.
  • The 1986 Yankees allowed 11 homers in 16 games and still didn't give up more than 3 runs in any of them--wow.
  • The A's 1981 streak might be the most impressive one here. They went 15-1 over 16 games while allowing an average of just 1.4 runs per game.

22 Responses to “Giants’ streak of allowing no more than 3 runs ends at 18 games”

  1. Neil L Says:

    The '86 Yankees put together their streak against some pretty decent teams. Detroit, Boston and Toronto were the other top teams in the AL East that year.

    However, they needed the 10-inning season-opening win against the Tigers the following year to make it onto this list.

    I know the streak-finder only uses consecutive games and doesn't distinguish between seasons, but I've always felt it doesn't feel like a "true" streak when something spans two seasons. Different personnel, different circumstances....

    Not being critical of the post idea, Andy, just airng a personal bias.

  2. Ed Says:

    The 72 Indians were the only team to do it while compiling a losing record (72-84). Their pitching was pretty good that year (4th in ERA) but their lack of hitting did them in.

  3. Frank Clingenpeel Says:

    The wartime Reds record should be taken with less validity, of course. It wasn't long after that when Cincy put a 15-year-old {Nuxhall} into a game; the Browns were using a one-armed outfielder {Pete Gray}, and a one-legged coach,Bert Shephard was used as a pitcher by the Nats

  4. paul Says:

    Perhaps not surprising but noteworthy nonetheless: The 2010 giants are the only team on the list without a CG. Long live the relief pitcher.

  5. Neil L Says:

    And 1943 Cincy was the opposite side of the coin, 19 out of 20 games completed by the starter. It seems like baseball from another universe now. Why didn't pitcher's arms fall off then? No Tommy John surgery to prolng careers. I understand about wartime dilution of talent.... but, still.

  6. cheese Says:

    They're up 3-0 in the 4th right now. Nothing like the present for a new streak!

  7. Neil L Says:

    The current Giants' streak is definitely more impressive than 1943 Cincinnati's because of league differences in ERA. Current season 4.10, while in 1943 it was 3.33.

    What incredible staff consistency for San Francisco to accomplish the feat this year since it requires good starters, hold-men and closers and a bit of luck.

    Went looking for the six "missing" innings of the 1953 White Sox team on the list, 9x15=135, and found them. Four road losses and a 7-inning game on July 18 to finish up a doubleheader at Philadelphia.

    They played three double-headers during the streak which looks like it spanned the All-star break!? Three off-days from July 12th-14th.

    This database is amazing.... can't wait to get up to speed with the rest of you in here.
    Frank, always look forward to your posts because of the amount of baseball you've lived through. Have I got my math right from another forum, that you were 8 or 9 years old in 1943?

  8. John Autin Says:

    @7 -- "This database is amazing...."
    Neil L., welcome to the fast lane! I've only been posting here for a few weeks, but I've been cranking holy heck out of the Play Index for a couple of years. Bill James had his "Favorite Toy" -- now I've found mine. And it just keeps getting better. This year, they filled in about a 15-year gap in game-searchability, so it now runs unbroken from 1920 to yesterday, with just a few scattered games missing.

    BTW, I have no connection to B-R, but I hope you sponsor some pages. The more $$$ they take in, the sooner Sean & Co. can implement my wish list of Play Index enhancements. 🙂

  9. John Autin Says:

    Hi, Cheese (nyuk, nyuk) -- Matt Cain just spoiled his own perfecto with a throwing error to open the 5th, then a 1-out walk; still has the no-no ... but I assume you're watching.

    P.S. I'm tickled that the Rockies are starting 39-year-old Jason Giambi and 37-year-old Jay Payton (after a full year's absence) in their last-gasp drive. It makes me feel so '90s....
    (And no, I'm not mocking those guys at all; I know they've both been productive.)

  10. John Autin Says:

    On a tangent:

    With Matt Cain still unhit (?) through the 7th, I'm wondering if anyone has a serious theory on why his W-L record consistently understates his performance. I know he keeps getting stiffed on run support, and yes, the Giants have been a pretty bad offensive team during his tenure. I know there doesn't *have* to be an explanation beyond bad luck. I'm just curious if anyone has a reasonable explanation for this:

    Matt Cain's ranking among all pitchers over the last 4 seasons (2007-10, not including today):

    Innings -- 6th (more than Lincecum, Hamels, Oswalt...)
    Quality Starts -- 6th
    High-Quality Starts* -- 10th (* min. 7 IP, no more than 2 ER)
    ERA+ -- 10th (out of 85 pitchers with 500+ IP)
    Wins -- 50th
    W-L % -- 67th (out of 87 pitchers with 60+ decisions)

    Any thoughts?

  11. John Autin Says:

    (Drat -- Obviously, I jinxed Cain by mentioning Jay Payton....)

  12. John Autin Says:

    IF the Padres do not rally -- losing 6-2 in the 7th -- the Giants will reclaim 1st place by half a game, though they'll be tied in the loss column.

    IF that happens, it would be the 11th time in 18 days that there was a change at the top of the NL West standings. The longest streak of "status quo" has been 2 days. The margin has been 0.5 G from 9/14 on.

    Starting with a baseline of the Padres ahead by 1 game after games of Sept. 8, here are the lead changes:

    9/9 -- Tied
    9/10 -- Padres by 1
    9/11 -- Tied
    9/12 -- Padres by 0.5
    9/15 -- Giants by 0.5
    9/17 -- Padres by 0.5
    9/18 -- Giants by 0.5
    9/21 -- Padres by 0.5
    9/22 -- Giants by 0.5
    9/24 -- Padres by 0.5
    [9/26 -- Giants by 0.5]

    (With info from

  13. Gerry Says:

    "I've always felt it doesn't feel like a "true" streak when something spans two seasons." Neil L, does this apply to Ripken and Gehrig?

  14. SJBlonger Says:

    Just because it's not serachable in the play index, let not forget that 20-game streak by the 1917 White Sox (viewable on B-R here, May 10-June 7: In the first 17 games, the Sox gave up no more than two runs. Needless to say, over 20 games it was a pretty successful streak, (16-3-1).

  15. JDV Says:

    ¿Qué qué?

  16. JDV Says:

    Sorry...15 was a response to the original 15 which was since appropriately deleted.

  17. Andy Says:

    Laugh, yeah, 15 was a spam comment about pitching tents that was pretty funny, but it had to go... 🙂

  18. Johnny Twisto Says:

    I am stunned that the '86-'87 Yankees are on this list. Pitching always seemed to be their problem in those years. Most of the starters they used during that streak were gone shortly thereafter.

  19. Joe Garrison Says:

    That Oakland streak in 1981 started the season. They went 24-6 in their first thirty games. They allowed no more than three runs in all of those six losses. Their first "bad game" did not come until game number 31 of the season.

    Talk about scripting your first 30 plays!

  20. Daniel L Says:

    the Answer to Matt Cains record.

    Off the top of my head..if you look at pitchers with 160+ innings in a season in the NL and you look at run support. 2010 he is around 6th worst. In 2009 he was like 8th worst. 2008 he had THE worst. 2007 he had THE worst. and 2006 i think he was around 20th. So most seasons he LITERALLY had no run support. You know who has the 2nd most this year?? Jonathan Sanchez. go figure. stupid Giants Offense.

  21. Neil L Says:

    No, Gerry, sorry. I meant a team streak. Clearly individual streaks must be respected from season to seaon.

  22. Neil L Says:

    Joe, so the current Raiders could take a page from the '81 A's season! {sorry for the cheap shot, silver and black nation!}