Remember this game? I’m sure you do. It was Dice-K’s Fenway Park debut, so ESPN was televising it nationally. And King Felix stole the show and used it as a platform to announce his own arrival on the AL pitching scene. Even I was disappointed when J.D. Drew broke up the no-hitter–although with the low score, I immediately started thinking about how the Sox could still win once it happened. Last night, it looked like King Felix was finally going to get that no-hitter. But…I’m seriously sensing a pattern here. Seriously, note to all AL teams: Stop allowing Nelson Cruz to lead off innings. It never ends well for you. Congrats to King Felix on another great pitching performance, but it looks like the Year of the Pitcher II has finally run out of magic. Did you realize that August was the first calendar month this year without a no-hitter? And September’s half-over with none so far as well.
Elsewhere, Manny Ramirez finally hit another home run, his first XBH and first RBI in a White Sox uniform. The only question is, is this really a White Sox uniform? Ladies and gentlemen, your Chicago Green Sox!
Okay, not really, because they were on the road and it turned a 2-0 deficit into a 4-2 lead, but I needed some way to make that pun. Stephen Drew capped off a series of four consecutive one-out home runs by the Arizona Diamondbacks, marking the seventh time in major league history that a team has had four consecutive homers and, oddly, the fourth time in the past five seasons. The reason that Drew is the focus and not Adam LaRoche, Miguel Montero, or Mark Reynolds is because it was the third time that a Drew was involved in such an event–Stephen’s older brother J.D. provided the second of four consecutive home runs to help the Dodgers rally from a 9-5 ninth-inning deficit in a game they would win 11-10 in 10 innings on Nomar Garciaparra’s walkoff home run in September of 2006 and then again provided the second homer of a four-homer outburst against the Yankees in April of 2007 for the Boston Red Sox–the fourth and fifth such occurrences. It was bizarre enough when J.D. did it twice in the course of two baseball months (the final month of one season and the first month of the next) for two different teams, but an event occurring only seven times in major league history and one pair of brothers being involved in nearly half of them…that’s just crazy.
Watching Sunday Night Baseball, and I was about to leave the room to take a shower (man, is it hot here…I’m constantly sweating) when I saw across the bottom line, next to the Oakland logo, “Second perfect game in team history and 19th perfect game in ML history”. The title of this entry was pretty much my reaction. Oakland produced a perfect game? Oakland? I immediately took out my computer, and…naturally, my first reaction was to see if this had screwed over my Baseball Challenge entry in any way, since it’s quite likely that I wouldn’t have taken “facing Oakland” as a huge threat worthy of benching a good hitter. Nope, everything was safe…and then I went over to the scoreboard, to see why I didn’t have anyone from Oakland’s opponent. And the holy s*** factor continued. See, with my beloved Red Sox stuck in fourth place, I don’t want to worry about split loyalties, so as good as they may be, I leave the AL East’s power teams out of my entries…and the A’s were facing the Tampa Bay Rays today. Yeah, the Rays. Best record in baseball Rays. Those guys. The annoying things that won’t go away. For one day, they went away, hard. Also, second time in under a year that they got perfected. They’ve only been involved in three total no-hitters in their short franchise history, the third also being from the losing end…but put it this way: The Devil Rays were around for 10 seasons, finishing in last place in nine of them and fourth in the other, and were only no-hit once, and it wasn’t a perfect game. They changed their name to the Rays, and finished above .500 in both completed years including one league pennant, and in their third year under the new name have gotten off to the best start in the majors…yet in this not-even-a-quarter-of-the-time, as a much better team, have been the victims of two perfect games.
Also of note: This is the shortest time between perfect games in over 125 years. The only time that two perfect games were thrown within a shorter period of time was in June of 1880, when the first and second perfect games in major league history were thrown within a week of one another. Incredible.
The announcers acknowledged the perfect game, and Jon Miller initially referred to it as “a nice Mother’s Day gift for mom,” but his partner (not sure who it is, but it’s apparently a pitcher because Miller asked him about if he ever came close to a perfect game/no-hitter) eventually corrected him–Dallas Braden’s mother has been deceased for some time, a victim of cancer. (Well, one of the partners–Joe Morgan is still there, too.) However, Braden’s grandmother was in attendance at today’s game, so yeah. (She also had some choice comments about A-Rod–apparently Braden was the pitcher involved in A-Rod’s latest on-field faux pas, crossing the mound when returning to first after a foul ball, and this argument’s been going on for awhile.)
Also, follow-up alert: No, the Tigers were not the first team to score only four runs when they hit four home runs. In fact, they’re not even the first team to score only four runs when two players had multi-home run games, which was the case (Miguel Cabrera and Alex Avila had the homers for the Tigers). It last happened in 1982, when Cecil Cooper and Robin Yount had two home runs each for the Brewers.
More Sunday Night Baseball: Miller just called J.D. Drew “Steven”. Right family, but…
Retroactive correction: Obviously, looking back at this entry, it’s obvious that the former pitcher in the booth would have been Orel Hershiser.
Wow. Some game the Yanks had today, eh? Johnny Damon had a career day
today–yes, even better than the day that he was just a homer away from
the cycle by the end of the first inning—
going 6-for-6 and driving in
the game-winning run in the Yankees’ 12-11 victory over Kansas City.
The Yanks faced a 2-0 deficit before they even came to bat and trailed
5-1 after 3 innings, but battled back to tie it in the fourth and take
a 6-5 lead in the fifth. Kansas City took a 10-6 lead into the
seventh-inning stretch, but pairs of runs in the seventh and eighth had
the game again tied before KC scored once in the top of the ninth,
setting the stage for the tense Yankee win. Jose Guillen drove in seven
of the Royals’ eleven runs with two-out homers in the first and seventh
innings, the latter a grand slam, along with an RBI single in the
third. The Sox weren’t hurting for runs either, as Manny homered in the
first to tie Eddie Murray on the all-time home runs list, J.D. Drew
came a double shy of the cycle, and Lowell and Youk doubled
back-to-back to drive in four insurance runs in the eighth in an 11-3
win most notable for the fact that at one point both teams had
knuckleballers on the mound: Tim Wakefield for the Sox and R.A. Dickey
for the Mariners.