Phillip Ervin
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Video: Phillip Ervin ties 70-year-old franchise record

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In a game that began with a three-hour thunderstorm delay and ended with an incredible 17-9 rout of the Rockies, Reds left fielder Phillip Ervin collected six hits — not only reaching a personal career high, but accomplishing something no other Reds player had managed to pull off since the summer of 1949.

For his first hit of the night, Ervin hit back-to-back singles with Yasiel Puig to start the second inning, later coming around to score on José Peraza’s RBI base hit. He returned in the third with a two-out RBI triple, grabbing a slider from Kyle Freeland and depositing it in deep right-center field, where David Dahl‘s missed catch gave him some extra time to scoot around the bases.

Following a pitching change in the fifth, Ervin collected a double off of Chad Bettis, then added two more base hits in the sixth and seventh as the Reds climbed to an eight-run lead. With five hits under his belt, just one home run shy of hitting for the cycle, the outfielder stepped up to bat one last time in the ninth. He worked a 2-2 count against Bryan Shaw, then lashed a 91.2-m.p.h. cutter out to the left field corner for his sixth and final base hit of the night.

While the cycle may have eluded him in the end, Ervin’s feat is still a remarkable one. Just one other player has collected as many hits in a single game this season — the Brewers’ Ryan Braun did so in an 18-inning nail-biter against the Mets back in May — and, per MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon, Ervin is the first to do so in a regulation nine-inning game. He’s also the first player to pull off a six-hit performance with fewer than 100 hits under his belt since the Dodgers’ Paul Lo Duca in 2001.

Through Saturday, Ervin is batting .357/.410/.571 with seven extra-base hits, nine RBI, and a .981 OPS through 61 plate appearances.

Skaggs Case: Federal Agents have interviewed at least six current or former Angels players

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The Los Angeles Times reports that federal agents have interviewed at least six current and former Angels players as part of their investigation into the death of Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs.

Among the players questioned: Andrew Heaney, Noé Ramirez, Trevor Cahill, and Matt Harvey. An industry source tells NBC Sports that the interviews by federal agents are part of simultaneous investigations into Skaggs’ death by United States Attorneys in both Texas and California.

There has been no suggestion that the players are under criminal scrutiny or are suspected of using opioids. Rather, they are witnesses to the ongoing investigation and their statements have been sought to shed light on drug use by Skaggs and the procurement of illegal drugs by him and others in and around the club.

Skaggs asphyxiated while under the influence of fentanyl, oxycodone, and alcohol in his Texas hotel room on July 1. This past weekend, ESPN reported that Eric Kay, the Los Angeles Angels’ Director of Communications, knew that Skaggs was an Oxycontin addict, is an addict himself, and purchased opioids for Skaggs and used them with him on multiple occasions. Kay has told DEA agents that, apart from Skaggs, at least five other Angels players are opioid users and that other Angels officials knew of Skaggs’ use. The Angels have denied Kay’s allegations.

In some ways this all resembles what happened in Pittsburgh in the 1980s, when multiple players were interviewed and subsequently called as witnesses in prosecutions that came to be known as the Pittsburgh Drug Trials. There, no baseball players were charged with crimes in connection with what was found to be a cocaine epidemic inside Major League clubhouses, but their presence as witnesses caused the prosecutions to be national news for weeks and months on end.