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We sometimes see leaderboards showing which teams have scored, say, 6 or more runs in the most games this season. But have you ever wondered who’s scored exactly 6 runs in the most games? Well, wonder no more!

All these leaderboards are since 1918 only, since that’s what was easily searchable with Baseball-Reference’s Play Index. I think that is a pretty good place to divide this, though, since it roughly corresponds with Babe Ruth

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‘s emergence as a slugger and the end of the Dead Ball Era.

Most Times Scoring 0 Runs

Rk Tm Year 0-Run Gms W L Link Total Gms % Record
1 NYM
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1963
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30 0 30 Games
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162 18.5% 51-111 (10th in NL)
2 TEX
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1972
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27 0 27 Games
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154 17.5% 54-100 (6th in ALW)
3 NYM
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1967
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26 0 26 Games
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162 16.0% 61-101 (10th in NL)
4 BSN
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1943
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24 0 24 Games
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153 15.7% 68-85 (6th in NL)
WSH
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1955
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24 0 24 Games
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154 15.6% 53-101 (8th in NL)
PHA
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1943
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24 0 24 Games
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154 15.6% 49-105 (8th in AL)
ATL
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1978
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24 0 24 Games
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162 14.8% 69-93 (6th in NLW)
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com
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Generated 8/16/2012.

Of these teams, only one (the 1943 Braves) didn’t finish in last place. That’s not surprising, of course, since getting shut out is a guaranteed loss, meaning that these teams effectively forfeited around 1/6 of their games. The leaders, the 1963 Mets, scored 0 runs 30 times and 5 or more runs just 36 times. Here’s a fun comparison: the epically bad ’62 Mets (who went 40-120) only got shut out 6 times in those 120 losses, and they scored 5+ in 57 games. Yet somehow they won 11 more games in 1963 (thanks to much better pitching).

Those ’43 Braves are the only team on the list that finished above .500 when not getting shut out (they were 68-61 in those games); the ’78 Braves were an even 69-69 when scoring 1 or more runs. It’s interesting that two teams from 1943 (the Braves and the A’s) made the list, though of course they were in different leagues, so they didn’t play each other. I guess that was just a good year for shutouts in MLB.

The 2012 leader so far in this category is a surprise: the playoff-contending A’s, who have been shut out 14 times; that puts them on pace for about 20, still well short of the all-time leaders. The Marlins lead the NL with 13 times being shut out.

Most Times Scoring 1 Run

Rk Tm Year 1-Run Gms W L Link  Total Gms % Record
1 PHI
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1942
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36 1 35 Games
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151 23.8% 42-109 (8th in NL)
NYM
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1965
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36 6 30 Games
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162 22.2% 50-112 (10th in NL)
3 CHW
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1968
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35 7 28 Games
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162 21.6% 67-95 (8th in AL)
4 SFG
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1985
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33 3 30 Games
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162 20.4% 62-100 (6th in NLW)
LAD
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1968
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33 6 27 Games
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162 20.4% 76-86 (7th in NL)
HOU
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1964
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33 4 29 Games
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162 20.4% 66-96 (9th in NL)
HOU
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1968
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33 4 29 Games
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162 20.4% 72-90 (10th in NL)
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com
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: View Play Index Tool Used
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Generated 8/16/2012.

Oh, the ’60s. Five of the top 7 teams came from that decade, including three teams from 1968 alone. Two of those teams (the Dodgers and Astros) played each other; out of 18 matchups, the Dodgers scored 1 run five times and the Astros scored 1 run twice.

The king of 1-run games, however, wasn’t from that decade. The 1942 Phillies tied for the most such games with the ’65 Mets, but they did so in 11 fewer games. What’s more, the Phillies won just one of those games, giving them 35 losses when scoring 1 run, far and away the most ever. The 1964 Angels hold the record for most 1-0 wins, with 10 (they went 10-19 overall when scoring 1 run).

The Diamondbacks lead MLB in games scoring 1 run so far this season, with 22; that puts them on pace for about 30. Somewhat improbably, the D’backs have yet to win a game 1-0 despite all those chances. The record for most times scoring 1 run without a win is held by the 1988 Orioles, who went 0-30 in that situation.

Most Times Scoring 2 Runs

Rk Tm Year 2-Run Gms W L Link  Total Gms % Record
1 CIN
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1982
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38 8 30 Games
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162 23.5% 61-101 (6th in NLW)
2 BSN
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1942
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37 10 26 Games
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148 25.0% 59-89 (7th in NL)
PIT
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2010
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37 9 28 Games
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162 22.8% 57-105 (6th in NLC)
NYM
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1977
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37 5 32 Games
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162 22.8% 64-98 (6th in NLE)
CAL
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1988
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37 7 30 Games
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162 22.8% 75-87 (4th in ALW)
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com
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Generated 8/16/2012.

The 1982 Reds have the most 2-run games all-time, but to me, the more impressive performance was by the 1942 Braves, who scored 2 runs in precisely a quarter of their games. (That’s not good, but it’s better than getting shut out a ton, as the Braves did the following year–see above.)

The record for most losses when scoring 2 runs is held by the 1977 Mets, with 32. The most wins when scoring 2 runs? That’d be the 1964 White Sox, who somehow went 19-14 in that situation thanks to a lot of well-timed pitching performances; they only went 15-16 when scoring 3 runs.

The 2012 leader in 2-runs-scored games are the Padres and Dodgers, with 23 each. They’re on pace for 31 or 32 over the full season. The Padres already have 10 wins in that situation, putting them on pace to win 14; they’d be the first to do that since the 1988 Dodgers.

Most Times Scoring 3 Runs

Rk Tm Year 3-Run Gms W L Link  Total Gms % Record
1 BAL
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1990
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38 11 27 Games
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161 23.6% 76-85 (5th in ALE)
NYY
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1965
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38 17 21 Games
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162 23.5% 77-85 (6th in AL)
3 PHI
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1944
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37 16 21 Games
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153 24.2% 61-92 (8th in NL)
SFG
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2002
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37 17 19 Games
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161 23.0% 95-66 (WC; Lost WS)
CHC
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1971
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37 22 15 Games
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162 22.8% 83-79 (3rd in NLE)
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com
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Generated 8/16/2012.

Once again, the leader(s) have 38 games, but the highest percentage goes to a team from the 1940s who played fewer games overall. Notice also that, unlike the other teams on this list, the 2002 Giants actually were an excellent team, making it to the World Series on the strength of Barry Bonds

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and a solid pitching staff.

The 1971 Cubs went a remarkable 22-15 in these games, which are normally a below-.500 proposition. That ties them with the 1979 Astros (who were an even better 22-11) for the most wins while scoring 3 runs. The record for the most losses when scoring 3 runs is 30, held by the miserable expansion Expos of 1969 (they were 6-30 in that situation).

This year, the Rays and Mets are tied for the most times scoring 3 runs, with 24 each, putting them both on pace for 33 such games.

Most Times Scoring 4 Runs

Rk Tm Year 4-Run Gms W L Link Total Gms % Record
1 SDP
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1973
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35 23 12 Games
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162 21.6% 60-102 (6th in NLW)
PIT
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1986
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35 17 18 Games
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162 21.6% 64-98 (6th in NLE)
3 PHI
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1928
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34 11 23 Games
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152 22.4% 43-109 (8th in NL)
TOR
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1991
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34 20 14 Games
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162 21.0% 91-71 (1st; Lost ALCS)
TEX
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1973
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34 14 20 Games
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162 21.0% 57-105 (6th in ALW)
ATL
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2010
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34 19 15 Games
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162 21.0% 91-71 (WC; Lost NLDS)
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com
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Generated 8/16/2012.

Traditionally, scoring 4 runs is an inflection point; in high-scoring years, teams can post very poor records (like the 1928 Phillies’ 11-23), while in low-scoring years, teams typically do much better (such as the Padres’ 23-12 record in 1973). Similarly, you see some good overall results from teams on the list (the 1991 Blue Jays and 2010 Braves both made the playoffs) and some awful results (the other 4 teams all finished 6th or worse).

The 1967 Tigers (25-7) had the most wins in this situation, while the 1953 Pirates (7-23) tied with the ’28 Phillies (11-23) for the most losses. In 2012, the Braves have the most games with 4 runs scored, with 23 so far (12-11 record). Atlanta is on pace to score 4 runs 32 times.

Most Times Scoring 5 Runs

Rk Tm Year 5-Run Gms W L  Link Total Gms % Record
1 NYY
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1988
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33 24 9 Games
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161 20.5% 85-76 (5th in ALE)
2 PHI
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1993
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32 21 11 Games
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162 19.8% 97-65 (1st; Lost WS)
MIL
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1980
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32 20 12 Games
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162 19.8% 86-76 (3rd in ALE)
4 SEA
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1987
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31 18 13 Games
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162 19.1% 78-84 (4th in ALW)
5 NYY
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1989
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30 18 12 Games
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161 18.6% 74-87 (5th in ALE)
TOR
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2003
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30 18 12 Games
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162 18.5% 86-76 (3rd in ALE)
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com
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Generated 8/16/2012.

Now we’re starting to get into clearly favorable territory; generally, unless the environment is very offense-friendly, scoring 5 runs will win most games. And indeed, all of these teams had good records when scoring 5 runs. Overall, these teams were a bit above average, with only the 1993 Phillies finishing better than 3rd or winning more than 86 games.

The leaders, the 1988 Yankees, also are tied for the record for most wins when scoring 5 runs; the 1978 Dodgers went an astonishing 24-3 in those games en route to a pennant. The 1939 St. Louis Browns (later the Orioles) hold the record for most losses when scoring 5 runs, going 5-18. That terrible record was caused by a terrible pitching staff, a big year for offense overall, and a hitter-friendly park (Sportsman’s Park III). All in all, that year’s Browns  allowed 1035 runs and went 43-111.

The 2012 Marlins have a great chance to make this list; they’ve scored 5 runs 23 times already (no one else has done it more than 18 times). They’re on pace to score 5 runs in 32 games, which would tie them for 2nd-most ever. Being a fan of both the Braves and junk stats, I’m hoping that Miami can score 5 runs in 11 more games to break the record, but somehow lose all 11 of those games.

Most Times Scoring 6 Runs

Rk Tm Year 6-Run Gms W L  Link Total Gms % Record
1 ATL
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1983
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33 24 9 Games
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162 20.4% 88-74 (2nd in NLW)
2 BAL
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1977
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31 28 3 Games
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162 19.1% 97-64 (2nd in ALE)
3 NYG
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1927
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29 19 10 Games
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154 18.8% 92-62 (3rd in NL)
4 DET
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1927
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28 18 8 Games
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153 18.3% 82-71 (4th in AL)
5 OAK
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2001
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27 22 5 Games
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162 16.7% 102-60 (WC; Lost ALDS)
BAL
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2007
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27 18 9 Games
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162 16.7% 69-93 (4th in ALE)
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com
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Generated 8/16/2012.

As you might expect from teams that scored 6 runs a lot, these teams were almost uniformly above-average, including the Moneyball A’s of 2001, who won 102 games. The one exception is a huge one, however, as the 2007 Orioles were awful, going 69-93 despite all those times scoring 6 runs. That’s what you get for having your innings-pitched leader be Daniel Cabrera

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, I guess. Again, we have 2 teams from the same year–1927 in this case–but alas, they were in different leagues, so they never played each other.

The 1977 Orioles come in 2nd in total games scoring 6 runs, but they have the most wins in that situation, with 28. Another Orioles team, this one from 1999, holds the record for most losses, somehow going just 9-14 when scoring 6 that year.

The Yankees are pacing the field in 6-run games in 2012, doing it 23 times already. That puts them on pace do it 32 times, just 1 off the record held by the 1983 Braves.

Most Times Scoring 7 Runs

Rk Tm Year 7-Run Gms W L Link Total Gms % Record
1 TEX
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2011
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25 21 4 Games
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162 15.4% 96-66 (1st; Lost WS)
2 STL
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2000
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24 20 4 Games
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162 14.8% 95-67 (1st; Lost NLCS)
3 CLE
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1997
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23 20 3 Games
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161 14.3% 86-75 (1st; Lost WS)
BOS
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1977
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23 18 5 Games
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161 14.3% 97-64 (2nd in ALE)
COL
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2004
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23 13 10 Games
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162 14.2% 68-94 (4th in NLW)
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com
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Generated 8/16/2012.

Last year’s Rangers broke the record for most times scoring exactly 7 runs, and yet for some reason, I don’t remember hearing much coverage of that feat in the mainstream media. Lame. The Rangers’ 21 wins when scoring 7 runs was also a record.

Once again, we have a huge outlier, as the 2004 Rockies won 18 fewer games than any of the other teams on the list. However, in this case, it’s pretty easy to understand why: the high-altitude environment of Coors Field. Those Rockies lost 10 games when scoring 7 runs, which is the most all-time.

The Royals and Tigers lead MLB in 7-run games so far in 2012, with 13 apiece. They’re on pace for 18, which is well short of the leaderboard.

Most Times Scoring 8 Runs

Rk Tm Year 8-Run Gms W L Link  Total Gms % Record
1 PHA
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1932
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19 15 4 Games
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154 12.3% 94-60 (2nd in AL)
NYY
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1927
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19 16 3 Games
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154 12.3% 110-44 (1st; Won WS)
DET
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1936
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19 17 2 Games
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154 12.3% 83-71 (2nd in AL)
COL
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1999
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19 13 6 Games
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162 11.7% 72-90 (5th in NLW)
BAL
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1961
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19 16 3 Games
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162 11.7% 95-67 (3rd in AL)
ARI
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1999
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19 15 4 Games
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162 11.7% 100-62 (1st; Lost NLDS)
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com
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Generated 8/16/2012.

How about that: a six-way tie, including two teams from not just the same year (1999), but the same division (the NL West). That year, the Rockies and Diamondbacks played 13 times. Arizona scored 8 runs once; Colorado did it twice. Those 3 games actually came on back-to-back-to-back days in the same series. The teams’ divergent results overall can be explained by their ballparks (though the D’backs’ Chase Field–neé the BOB–is also a hitters’ haven) and the fact that the D’backs had an excellent pitching staff led by a little lefty you may have heard of: Randy Johnson

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.

The 1936 Tigers, at 17-2, tied for the most wins in games when they scored 8 runs. The other team with 17 wins was the 1928 Yankees, who were undefeated in that scenario one year after going 16-3. Two teams from 1930–the Phillies and Cubs–tied for the most losses when scoring 8. Both teams managed to go 4-8 in that scenario that year, including a combined 0-4 against each other. That was a crazy year for offense, as you might have guessed.

In 2012, the Brewers have scored 8 runs the most, doing it 11 times so far. That puts them on pace to do it 15 times.

Well, that’s it (the frequencies for scoring 9+ runs aren’t high enough to merit lists). Remember: root for the Marlins to score 5 runs every day, and for the Yankees to score 6. No more, no less.

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One Response to Most Team Games Scoring Exactly __ Runs In A Season

  1. Tommy Walker
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    says:

    The hell they aren’t. At least tell us who had two games scoring the highest number of runs. I’m betting on the Wrigley Cubs.

    Didn’t escape my notice that you found a new adverb for the ’62 Mets, calling them “epically bad”, rather than adjust your scale as for what constitutes “legendarily bad”. This stubbornness is unattractive, to cling to “legendarily” in describing the better of the two expansion teams of 1969. When two teams lose the same number overall, the team that loses the most 1-run games must be considered the better team. The *Padres* were bad; the Expos matched them in losses because they were more unlucky.

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