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The Braves just swept the Marlins, winning 3 straight by scores of 1-0, 3-2, and 3-2. How many teams have won more consecutive games without topping 3 runs in any game?

Thanks to Baseball-Reference’s marvelous Play Index

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, specifically the Streak Finder, this is easy. Since 1919, here are the 34 teams to win at least 4 straight games without scoring more than 3 runs in a game:

Rk Team Strk Start End Games R BA OBP SLG Opp
1 CAL 1972-09-24 1972-09-30 6
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14 .191 .246 .279 MIN,TEX
2 BAL 1958-09-20 1958-09-26 6
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14 .197 .280 .293 NYY,WSH
3 NYM 1969-08-16 1969-08-19 5
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11 .187 .244 .271 SDP,SFG
4 SFG 1963-06-11 1963-06-15 5
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11 .176 .220 .331 LAD,CHC,HOU
5 SDP 2009-05-17 2009-05-21 4
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10 .176 .290 .294 CIN,SFG
6 SDP 2008-06-04 2008-06-07 4
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8 .268 .352 .417 CHC,NYM
7 SFG 2003-08-30 2003-09-02 4
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9 .216 .293 .328 ARI,COL
8 MIN 2002-09-27 2003-03-31 4 12 .272 .289 .448 CHW,DET
9 SFG 2002-08-19 2002-08-22 4
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10 .218 .269 .311 FLA,NYM
10 CIN 2001-04-13 2001-04-17 4
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10 .231 .284 .323 NYM,MIL
11 HOU 1999-07-16 1999-07-19 4
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10 .202 .327 .271 DET,CLE
12 ATL 1995-07-22 1995-07-25 4
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11 .256 .347 .400 SDP,PIT
13 MON 1991-06-17 1991-06-20 4
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10 .150 .238 .184 HOU,CIN
14 NYM 1974-08-12 1974-08-16 4
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11 .209 .286 .271 LAD,CIN
15 DET 1972-06-14 1972-06-18 4
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11 .192 .277 .344 MIN,CAL
16 CHW 1972-04-19 1972-04-23 4
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9 .246 .298 .344 TEX,KCR
17 BAL 1970-08-16 1970-08-19 4
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11 .189 .299 .299 OAK,MIL
18 BAL 1968-07-07 1968-07-13 4
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11 .217 .291 .392 NYY,WSA
19 DET 1968-06-11 1968-06-13 4
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11 .229 .298 .314 MIN
20 CLE 1968-06-03 1968-06-06 4
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8 .248 .317 .310 CHW
21 CAL 1967-09-15 1967-09-18 4
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10 .231 .259 .299 KCA,CHW
22 KCA 1966-09-13 1966-09-16 4
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10 .177 .250 .272 CLE,WSA
23 LAD 1966-07-04 1966-07-07 4
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7 .270 .313 .336 CIN,ATL
24 STL 1966-05-28 1966-05-31 4
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12 .254 .328 .369 CIN,HOU
25 HOU 1964-09-18 1964-09-21 4
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9 .194 .256 .250 NYM,SFG
26 PIT 1963-07-11 1963-07-15 4
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10 .226 .278 .331 HOU,SFG
27 NYM 1963-05-07 1963-05-10 4
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12 .203 .314 .347 PHI,CIN
28 PIT 1958-08-01 1958-08-03 4
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7 .276 .315 .333 STL
29 CLE 1951-06-30 1951-07-02 4
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10 .218 .273 .328 DET,CHW
30 BRO 1951-06-03 1951-06-07 4
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11 .195 .316 .292 CHC,STL
31 PIT 1946-08-12 1946-08-16 4
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12 .254 .282 .365 CIN,STL
32 WSH 1945-08-01 1945-08-02 4
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9 .233 .299 .284 PHA
33 SLB 1944-09-23 1944-09-26 4
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10 .198 .264 .270 PHA,BOS
34 NYG 1924-04-17 1924-04-21 4
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10 .240 .321 .384 BRO,BSN
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com
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: View Play Index Tool Used
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Generated 6/10/2011.

The two teams to win 6 in a row in this fashion were mediocre (to say the least). The 1972 Angels went 75-80, finishing 5th in the AL West; the ’58 Orioles had almost the same record (74-79) and finished 6th in the AL (this was before expansion and divisions).

As you would expect from their presence on this list, both teams were offensively challenged but had good pitching. The ’72 Angels scored only 2.93 runs per game, worst in the AL (the league average was 3.47 R/G). Their pitching was decent enough, though; led by a great year from Nolan Ryan, they allowed only 3.44 R/G, a bit above average. The ’58 Orioles scored only 3.4 R/G, compared to the league average of 4.2 R/G, but their pitching was also good, allowing only 3.7 R/G. They had both the worst offense and the best pitching in the AL that year.

The Angels put up their streak toward the end of the season, in late September. They started with a 2-1 win over the Twins, then swept the Rangers by scores of 2-1, 2-1, and 3-1, then came back home and beat the Twins 2-1 and 3-2. Amazingly, they won 6 straight without scoring more than 3 runs in any game and without shutting out the opponent in any game. That’s hard to do. Even more amazingly, the Angels actually didn’t top 3 runs in any of their final 11 games–and neither did their opponents! Before the win streak, they lost 1-0 and 2-1 to the Twins; after the win streak, they lost 3-2 to the Twins, beat the A’s 3-2, and finally lost to the A’s 2-1.

The Orioles’ streak also came near the end of the season, and that team no doubt needed a winning streak; earlier, they had endured losing streaks of 8, 11, and 7 games. They actually started their winning streak with a 5-4 victory over the Yankees (not included above) before winning 6 more in a row by scores of 1-0, 3-2, 2-0, 3-2, 2-0, and 3-2. Three of those came against the Yankees and three against the Senators. The streak was broken by a 7-0 loss to the Yankees in the first game of a double-header on the last day of the season.

The two teams to win 5 straight games without topping 3 runs had more success in their seasons. The 1963 Giants went 88-74, and of course the 1969 “Miracle” Mets won 100 games and the World Series. The ’63 Giants actually scored far more runs (4.5 per game) than the league average (3.8 R/G); it was actually their pitching that held them back (4.0 R/G). Somehow they still won 5 straight in June by scores of 3-0, 3-1, 2-1, 2-1, and 1-0. The Miracle Mets won their games in August, by scores of 2-0, 2-1, 3-2, 3-2, and 1-0. Their team profile was more what you’d expect: below-average offense and great pitching. The ’69 Mets scored 3.9 R/G and allowed only 3.3 R/G, compared to a league average of 4.1 R/G.

Probably my favorite streaks on this list are the two that average fewer than 2 runs per game. Both the 1966 Dodgers and the 1958 Pirates scored only 7 runs in 4 games, yet won them all. The ’66 Dodgers won 3 games versus the Reds by scores of 2-1, 1-0, and 1-0, then beat the Braves, 3-2. The Pirates’ streak is even cooler because it all came in one series, a 4-game sweep of the Cardinals. 7 runs scored has to be a record for a 4-game sweep. The Pirates won their games 2-0, 1-0, 2-0, and 2-1, so they only allowed 1 run in the 4-game sweep. That’s some great pitching.

If the Braves can win one more game by a similarly low score, they will join the 20+ teams tied for 5th on this list. Even though, as a Braves ¬†fan, I’d love to see the offense score some runs for once, I’m still kind of rooting for a 2-1 win, just so the Braves can make the list.

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