When he struck out in the eighth inning of yesterday's blowout against Baltimore, Kevin Youkilis ended a streak of 13 consecutive times reaching base. He fell three short of Ted Williams' modern record, and four short of the all-time record, set in the 19th century.
Youkilis, once mired in a slump (at least by his newly lofty standards), has certainly broken through in a big way. After peaking with a massive 1.222 OPS on May 20, Youkilis for the next two months shed 300 points by hitting "just" .243/.361/.472.
In his last six games, however, Youk is hitting .600 and slugging .920. The vast majority of that, of course, started when the Sox landed in Baltimore. After a first-inning flyout Friday, Youkilis singled in the third, singled in the fifth and slammed a two-run homer in the seventh. Then on Saturday he walked in the first, singled in the third, hit a solo homer in the fifth, singled in the sixth and singled again in the eighth. Finally on Sunday Youkilis singled to load the bases in the first, walked to load the bases in the second, singled with a man on in the fourth, drove an RBI single later that same inning, and walked with the bases loaded in the sixth.
After his first at-bat Friday, Youkilis was hitting .294/.406/.546 on the season, a season-low .952 OPS.
After his fifth plate appearance Sunday, Youkilis was hitting .316/.426/.579, an OPS of 1.006 — a 54-point increase in just 13 trips to the plate.
Not a bad weekend.