1978 April

1st  Starting off with a bang, Japanese star Sadaharu Oh hits a grand-slam HR on Opening Day. It is his 757th HR.

4th  The Royals send slugger John Mayberry to the Blue Jays for an eventual cash settlement.

6thIn a rain-delayed season opener in Cincinnati, Houston’s Terry Puhl leads off with a homer against Tom Seaver, who allows 5 runs in 3 innings. But led by Joe Morgan’s pair of two-run doubles and a homer, the Reds prevail, 11–9. In the bottom of the 7th, with Morgan on 3B and George Foster on 1B, Dan Driessen strikes out and Foster is caught stealing 2B, Ferguson to Roger Metzger. Morgan tries to score on the play and is thrown out on the return. According to Retrosheet, this is apparently the first triple play begun with a strikeout.  In 1982, the Twins will start a triple play with a strikeout.

7th  Mark Fidrych scatters 5 hits in beating Toronto, 6–2. The Tigers get homers from Milt May, Phil Mankowski, and Jason Thompson. The Bird, trying to recover from tendinitis that limited him to 11 starts in 1977, will win only 3 more ML games.

At Comiskey Park, 50,754 watch as the White Sox edge the Red Sox, 6–5, on Wayne Nordhagen’s bloop double in the last of the 9th. Dick Drago, in relief of Mike Torrez, takes the loss, after allowing a game tying homer to Ron Blomberg and single to Chet Lemon. Larrin LeGrow is the winner. Yastrzemski has two singles, the 11th straight opener he has had a hit.

Sixto Lezcano belts a 7th inning grand slam, off Tim Stoddard, as Milwaukee clips the Orioles, 11-3.

The U.S. Court of Appeals upholds an earlier court decision in support of Commissioner Kuhn’s voiding of attempted player sales by A’s owner Charlie Finley in June 1976. Finley’s appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court will be rejected on October 2nd.

8th  At the Opener in Arlington, the Rangers edge the Yankees 2–1 behind newcomers Richie Zisk and Jon Matlack.  Matlack scatters 8 hits in winning, while Richie Zisk belts a 9th inning solo shot off Goose Gossage to break a tie.  Guidry goes 7 innings for New York allowing six singles and after this no-decision, he will win 13 straight games.

At County Stadium, Larry Hisle hits a 3-run homer and Gorman Thomas adds a grand slam as the Brewers score 8 in the 1st inning. Paul Molitor belts a 3-run homer in the 4th and Milwaukee rolls to a 16-3 win over the Orioles.

9th  The Brewers complete a stunning season-opening, 3-game sweep of the Orioles by scores of 11–3, 16–3, and 13–5. Sixto Lezcano, Gorman Thomas, and Cecil Cooper provided the Brewers with a grand slam in each game to set a ML mark.

At the Kingdome, the Twins overcome a 4th inning grand slam by Leon Roberts and beat the Mariners, 8-6.

In the first of two between the Mets and visiting Montreal, Steve Henderson belts a pinch grand slam in the 6th, off Darold Knowles, and the Mets win, 6-5. The Expos make it close with 4 in the 9th.  Montreal takes game 2, 5-0, behind Ross Grimsley’s 3-hitter.

12th  Ranger P Rogelio Moret announces he is going home rather than pitch. In the locker room, the pitcher freezes in a catatonic state, his extended arm holding a bathroom slipper. He is taken to a psychiatric facility and will go on the disabled list for most of the season, appearing in just 6 more games. Texas loses, 3–2, to Detroit and Mark Fidrych (2-0). Oliver’s 2-run HR in the 1st is all the Texas scoring off the Bird.

Angels leadoff batter Rick Miller has a walk and a grand slam in the 1st as California scores 8 runs on the way to a 9-5 win over the Twins.

13th  The Yankees defeat the White Sox, 4–2, in their home opener on Reggie Candy Bar Day. Jackson slugs a 3-run HR in the 1st inning, and the field is showered with candy bars that were given out free to the fans. White Sox skipper Bob Lemon laments, “People are starving and 30 billion calories are laying on the field.”

Joe Rudi beats the buzzer and hits a game-ending homerun in the 11th off Tom Johnson to give the Angels a 1-0 win over the Twins.  A curfew law states that no inning can start after 3:50 p.m.: Rudi hits his homer at 3:55. Nolan Ryan throws 10 shutout innings and strikes out 12 for no decision.

The Tigers take two from Texas, winning 6–2 behind Dave Rozema, and 3–2 behind the pitching of Mark Fidrych.  The Bird gives up a 2-run homer in the first, but zeroes after that.

14th  In the Red Sox home opener, starter Dennis Eckersley pitches into the 10th inning before giving way to Dick Drago,  Jim Rice’s 395-foot single scores Butch Hobson with the winner in the bottom of the 10th, and Boston wins 5–4.

Darrell Jackson of Orlando (Southern League) makes his pro debut, no-hitting Jacksonville for 9 innings. Orlando wins 1–0 in the 12th.

15th  At Wrigley, Bill Robinson of Pittsburgh connects for a 2-run homer in the 1st and follows with a grand slam, off Paul Reuschel in the 4th as the Pirates eke out a 13-10 win over the Cubs.

16th  Cardinal Bob Forsch (3–0) hurls a no-hitter in beating the Phillies 5–0. Forsch walks 2 and strikes out 3 in pitching the first no-hitter in St. Louis by a Cardinal since Jesse Haines in 1924. Roger Freed’s bases loaded pinch double drives in 3 runs to help beat Randy Lersch.

17th  Rusty Staub belts a 5th inning grand slam for Detroit and the Tigers use 5 hits in the 9th, making no outs, to score 4 and beat the White Sox, 10-9. LaMar Johnson, one of 3 Sox players with 3 hits, drives in 4.

18th  The Royals win their 8th straight, beating the Blue Jays 5–0 behind Paul Splittorff’s 5-hitter.  Willie Wilson and Hal McRae open the game with singles, and pull off a double steal. Following a 2-out intentional walk, Amos Otis hits a grand slam to jump start the Royals scoring.

19th  Ron Jackson has 3 hits and drives in 6 runs to pace the Angels to an 11-2 win over Seattle. Chris Knapp is the winner.

21st  At Dodger Stadium, Astros catcher Joe Ferguson hits a 3-run homer in the 8th against his old team, and Houston utilizes a 9th inning triple play to edge the Dodgers, 8-6.

22nd  Mark Fidrych, who had to leave his last game when his shoulder tightened, warms up but is unable to start against Texas.  But the Tigers top the Rangers, 7–6, in 10 innings, on the strength of John Hiller nifty four innings of shutout relief.

Before a crowd of 36,005—4th largest in Fenway history—the Indians trounce the Red Sox, 13–4, ending Boston’s eight game win streak. Tomorrow’s crowd will be 36,388 for a doubleheader split between the same two teams.  Cleveland’s starter Rick Wise, traded to Cleveland in the final week of spring training, makes a triumphant return to Fenway, despite giving up a 3-run homer to George Scott.  Cleveland is led by Andre Thornton, who clouts his 4th homer and hits for the cycle, all off different pitchers.

23rd  Reds 2B Joe Morgan commits an error during a 2–1, 10-inning win over the Giants, ending his ML record streak of 91 consecutive errorless games since July 6, 1977. Three Reds pitchers combine on a 2-hitter, hand out 12 walks, and strand 14 runners.

24th  The Angels Nolan Ryan strikes out 15 Mariners—the 20th time he has had 15 K’s in a game—in 9 innings, but leaves without a decision. Seattle prevails 6–5 in the 12th frame.

25th  The Cardinals fire manager Vern Rapp. Ken Boyer will take over the reins 4 days later.

Cleveland’s Wayne Garland, who signed a $2.3 million 10-year contract a year earlier, earns his second and final win of the season, 6–5, over Toronto. Paul Dade helps with a grand slam. Garland struggled to a 13-19 mark last year following an arm injury warming up his first day of spring training. He will undergo rotator cuff surgery on May 5th and win only 13 more ML games.

26th  Dan Ford has a 3-run homer and drives in 7 runs, including 2 in the 12th, but it is not enough as his Twins lose, 9-8, to Oakland. Mitchell Page hits his 4th safety in the game to lead off the 12th and the A’s score 3 times to win.

Steve Carlton allows just 3 hits in 6 innings, but one is a grand slam by Bobby Murcer, as the Cubs beat the Phils, 4-2. Rick Reuschel allows 12 hits in 7+ innings for the win.

28th  Al Bumbry hits a solo homer and Eddie Murray adds a grand slam, off Lerrin LaGrow, in the Orioles 5-run 8th as the Birds beat the White Sox, 6-4.

29th  Pete Rose crashes 3 HRs and 2 singles in a 14–7 Reds drubbing of the Mets at Shea, pushing his career hit total to 2,996. Rose will hit just 7 homers this season.

30th Dave Johnson’s pinch grand slam snaps a 5th inning tie with the Padres, and powers the Phils to an 11–4 win.

The Rangers score twice in the bottom of the 9thon 3 hits to win, 2-1, over the Red Sox. Starter Fergy Jenkins goes the distance and stops a Sox threat in the 8thwith an unassisted double play. With Fred Lynn on 3B and Bernie Carbo on 2B with one out, the Red Sox try a suicide squeeze. Dwight Evans bunts, but he hits a soft liner that Jenkins snags on the run on the third base side of the mound. With third baseman Toby Harrah having charged in on the squeeze, Jenkins continues running and touches third to complete the double play.