Shelley Duncan enters rare club

Shelley Duncan belted two home runs off Justin Verlander on Wednesday afternoon, joining Carlos Quentin as the only players to do so this season.

But that’s not that rare club.

It was Duncan’s second multi-home run game of the season, despite the fact that he’s hit just eight homers all season.

Assuming he fails to hit another home run this year (a very realistic possibility) he’ll join Jose Hernandez, Frank Duffy and possibly Jack Hannahan as the only Indians with two multi-home run games in a season in which they hit eight or fewer total homers (since 1970).

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Two more pinch-hit RBI for Duncan

Shelley Duncan is not having a very good season, but he’s quietly building a legendary résumé as a pinch hitter.

In six pinch-hit opportunities Duncan has one walk, four hits and seven RBI. In his brief Indians career he now has 12 pinch-hit RBI.

Over the last 25 seasons only Ben Broussard has more pinch-hit RBI, but that should come with a slight asterisk. Of Broussard’s 16 RBI, eight came on just two swings of the bat. In 2004 Broussard hit two pinch-hit grand slams. He later added another while with Seattle, tying the major-league record with three career pinch-hit grand slams.

The baseball-reference pinch-hit data goes back to 1950. During that span, Dale Mitchell is the Indians leader in pinch-hit RBI with 30.

Shelley Duncan is Mr. Clutch

I was going to wait until tomorrow to write this up, but when I saw the name it produced I was too excited to wait.

Shelley Duncan pinch hit for Travis Buck (who had pinch-ran for Travis Hafner) in the 10th inning of tonight’s win over the Royals. Duncan promptedly ripped a RBI double into the left-field corner to give the Tribe a 4-3 lead.

It was the Indians first go-ahead pinch-hit RBI in extra innings since Kenny Lofton singled in Josh Barfield in a game against the Tigers in August, 2007.

But that’s not the best of it.

You have to go all the way back to 1988 to find the last go-ahead pinch-hit extra-base RBI in extra innings, when Ron Kittle homered against the White Sox in the 11th inning to break a 4-4 tie.

Hows that for a random note? From Ron Kittle to Shelley Duncan – two names that will live forever in Indians lore.

In between Kittle and Duncan, Ellis Burks, Jody Gerut, Lou Merloni and Lofton were the only others with pinch-hit go-ahead RBI in extra innings.