Over the last seven days, Pirates left fielder Jason Bay has been a man of streaks.
From May 22-29, Bay flirted with a record consecutive-games home run streak, then continued his streak of consecutive Bank of America Presents the National League Player of the Week Awards.
Bay was named a co-winner of the award with Giants third baseman Pedro Feliz for his performance from May 15-21 (.333, three homers, 11 RBIs). The left fielder bested each of those numbers from May 22-29, batting .500, hitting seven home runs and driving in 15 runs.
Bay was also the centerpiece of a thrilling 18-inning victory over the Astros when he was able to separate Houston catcher Eric Munson from the ball and score the winning run on a sacrifice fly by Pittsburgh's Jose Bautista. The throw from center fielder Willy Taveras beat Bay by several steps, but Bay would not be denied.
"As soon as [Taveras] caught it, I was going and I was scoring. I wasn't going to be deterred at that point," Bay said.
Bay homered in each of his six games over the last week, including one two-homer game against Arizona on May 23. The six-game homer streak ended when Bay was unable to go deep on Monday night against Milwaukee and fell two homers shy of the Major League record.
Bay led the league in seven different offensive categories over the last seven days, including homers, RBIs, batting average and total bases (34).
With his home run surge spanning the last two weeks, Bay became the first Major League player since Sammy Sosa and Shawn Green in 2001 to hit 10 home runs in 10 games. The left fielder knows that these kinds of streaks don't come along very often.
"This is the first time that this has ever happened for me at any level," said Bay, after a 2-for-4, four-RBI performance against Houston on May 26. "I'm just going to keep riding it as long as it will go. It's starting to get a little surreal. I'm starting to pinch myself when I get in the dugout."
Pirates manager Jim Tracy thinks that these are the kinds of runs that can propel Bay to another level of performance.
"I don't know that there is a hotter hitter in the league," Tracy said. "With the type of at-bats that he's taking right now, I think you're beginning to see a guy that is reaching for a level beyond what you've see him do here the last couple of years. I think you are going to continue to see him do that."
Also nominated for the award were San Francisco outfielder Barry Bonds (715 career home runs), Washington outfielder Alfonso Soriano (.407, three home runs, five RBIs) and Philadelphia first baseman Ryan Howard (.364, three home runs, 10 RBIs).
Michael Walsh is a associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.