1985 April

3rd  The Players’ Association agrees to the owners’ proposal to expand the 1985 League Championship Series from the best-of-5 games to best-of-7.

8th  At Fenway, 46-year-old Phil Niekro starts for the Yankees, the 2nd oldest pitcher ever to start an Opener: only Jack Quinn, for Brooklyn in 1931, was older at age 47.  Boston chases Niekro after 4 innings and behind the pitching of Oil Can Boyd coasts to a 9–2 win. Niekro walks 4 in the 3rd inning, including two with the bases loaded, to lose his 7th Opener in a row (6 with Atlanta), the worst opening day record ever. Tony Armas, Dwight Evans, and Jim Rice stroke homers for Boston.

      At the opener in Baltimore, Texas starter Charlie Hough is lifted in the 6th despite giving up no hits. Hough walked 4 in a row—8 altogether— and C Don Slaught had allowed a run to score on a passed ball. Hough’s replacement Dave Rozema only allows 2 hits. Unfortunately, one of the hits is a 2-run HR in the 8th by Eddie Murray to snap a 2–2 tie. Don Aase is the winner.

9th  In his first game as a member of the Mets, catcher Gary Carter hits a solo home run in the bottom of the 10th inning to give New York a 6–5 Opening Day win over the Cardinals at Shea Stadium.

      A year and a day after being hit in the face by a Mike Torrez pitch, Astros SS Dickie Thon returns to the Astros lineup and goes 1-for-4 off Fernando Valenzuela in Houston’s 2–1 win over the Dodgers. Thon will hit just .207 before going back on the DL with recurring vision problems.

      At Milwaukee, Tom Seaver of the White Sox sets a ML record by making the 15th of his 16 opening day starts. Seaver works 6 2/3 innings in beating the Brewers, 4–2, and upping his overall record is 7-2 for opening day starts. The Brewers will beat Seaver in next year’s opener. The victory is his 298th.

10th  At Fenway, the Red Sox score 9 runs (3 earned) in less than 2 innings against Ed Whitson as they paste the Yankees, 14-5. Bill Buckner completes the scoring in the 7-run 2ndwith a 2-run homer.  Rich Gedman has 2 hits in the 2ndand 4 in the game: it won’t happen again until 2014 that an opposing catcher has 4 hits versus New York. 

11th  Gorman Thomas, recovering from rotator cuff surgery, smashes 3 home runs and drives in 6 in Seattle’s 14–6 rout of visiting Oakland. The Mariners set a one-game club record with 7 home runs. The A’s Dave Kingman has a homer and gets robbed of another when his deep drive in left bounces off a loud speaker and is caught.

12th  Mike Davis has 4 hits, including 2 doubles and a homer, and drives in 5 runs as Oakland does all its scoring in the last 5 innings to beat the Angels, 14-6. Dick Schofield hits a 9th inning grand slam for the Haloes to make it respectable. Starters Tommy John (0-1) and Don Sutton (1-0) each allow 2 earned runs. 

      Bill Schroeder has a big day for the Brewers, clubbing a grand slam, off Frank Tanana, and driving in 6 runs as Milwaukee whips the host Rangers, 11-6.

13th  Rollie Fingers records his 217th AL save in Milwaukee’s 6–5 win over Texas, breaking Sparky Lyle’s record. Fingers already holds the ML record with 325.

      Well, this is easy. Jeff Stone has 3 hits and scores twice as the Phillies beat the Astros, 4-2. Stone has a 1st-inning single against Ron Mathis, in his ML debut, and Juan Samuel follows with a single. Mathis then picks off Stone for the first out, and picks off Samuel for the 2nd out.  He walks Von Hayes, who is then caught stealing. Mathis takes the loss.

      At the Kingdome Phil Bradley hits an ultimate grand slam, a walkoff 2-out hit in the 9th off Ron Davis to give the Mariners an 8-7 win over the Twins.  Bradley’s blow comes after three walks.  He finishes with 5 RBI to give Seattle a 5-0 start.

      In LA, Candy Maldonado knocks a pinch-hit homerun in the 8th off Giants reliever Mark Davis for the game’s only run. Fernando Valenzuela is the 1-0 winner. It is just the second time in history that a pinch homer has accounted for the game’s only score.

14th  At Atlanta, the Braves defeat the Padres, 3-1, behind Rick Mahler and 2B Glenn Hubbard, who as a ML-record tying 12 assists. Second base also sees action on the Pads side as Tony Gwynn throws out 2 runners there. LaMar Hoyt gives up the 3 Braves runs in 4 innings of work. In 6 days, on April 20, Juan Samuel, second sacker of the Phillies will be the next to match the 12 assists in a 7-6 Philadelphia win over the New York Mets. Monte Ward, for Brooklyn in 1892, was the first to make 12 assists.

      Carlton Fisk hits a 3-run homer and the White Sox pummel the Red Sox, 11-6. For Boston, it is the fifth game in a row that they have scored 6 runs or more to start the season, a team record.

      The Royals send Mike Brewer to the Indians for a player to be named later. Brewer himself is the player to be named later, returning to the Indians on September 17.

      Dale Murphy, playing in his 500th consecutive game, belts his 4th homer in four games to help the Braves beat the Padres, 3-1. Only 30 players have played 500 consecutive games.

15th  At Jack Murphy, Carmelo Martinez leads the Padres to an 8-3 win over the Giants as he hits a pair of homers, one a grand slam. Eric Show (2-0) allows 3 hits in 7 innings for the victory.  Dan Gladden has 3 hits for SF, drives in 3 runs and gets caught stealing twice.

16th  Ron Darling and Jesse Orosco combine on a one-hitter as the Mets edge the Pirates, 2-1, scoring the game-winner in the top of the 9th. Jose DeLeon strikes out 14 Mets in 8 innings.

      At Wrigley, Dennis Eckersley goes 10 innings, striking out 11, as he shuts out the Phillies, 1-0. Dernier’s RBI single in the 10thdrives home the winner. The Cubs fans get in the act in the 8thas Larry Bowa hits a ball to left field and Phils outfielder Jeff Stone loses a shoe chasing it down. Before he is able to reach the ball a helpful bleacherite tosses a shoe out on the field. Another quickly follows before a storeful of shoes rains down on the turf.  Dernier makes the catch.

17th  Detroit’s hope of repeating last year’s 35-5 start hits a reality bump as they lose to Milwaukee, 2-0, on Danny Darwin’s 2-hitter.  It is the Tigers first loss of the year.

18th  At Kansas City, Jim Rice hits a home run with 2 out in the 14th to give the Red Sox a 4–3 win over the Royals.

19th  Rookie Fritz Connally hits his first ML homer, a grand slam off Toronto’s Doyle Alexander, to put the Orioles in the lead, 4–1. Connally fouls off 9 pitches before connecting and his next HR will also be a grand slam. Toronto eventually wins the game, 6–5.

      The matchup of Steve Carlton and Dwight Gooden produces no runs as Lefty goes 7 innings and Doc goes 8 innings. The Mets push across a run in the 9th to beat the slumping Phils, 1-0.

20th  The Phillies and Pirates swap relief pitchers, Al Holland going to Pittsburgh, Kent Tekulve to Philadelphia.

      Playing without their shortstop Julio Franco, the Indians lose, 5-2, to the Yankees. Franco, hitting .516, failed to show up but was later located at a friend’s house near Yankee Stadium. Franco said he spent the night at the house and awakened feeling ill. Since there was no telephone he could not call anyone and instead went back to sleep.

      At Comiskey, Marty Barrett hits a 9th inning grand slam for Boston as they outslug the White Sox, 12-8.

21st  At Cincinnati, the Reds edge the Giants, 1-0, behind Tom Browning. After Eric Davis hits a triple, one of three Reds hits, Atlee Hammaker balks him home.

      Terry Pendleton hits a grand slam off Rod Scurry and the Cardinals roll to a 6-0 win over the visiting Pirates.  Ken Forsch gets the win as three Bird hurlers combine for the shutout

22ndThe Twins collect 16 hits in sinking the Mariners, 9–5. In the 4th, Kirby Puckett hits a 3-run homer, his first HR in the majors, off Matt Young. After no homers last year, Puckett will hit 4 homers this season before blossoming into a power hitter with 31 next year.

23rdDusty Baker has a homer and drives in 5 runs as Oakland outslugs the Angels, 14-9.  Nine different players hit homers for both teams, which ties the AL record. California hits 5, two by Reggie Jackson, and all are solos.

24th  Pete Vuckovich records his first win for Milwaukee since his Cy Young Award-winning season of 1982, pitching 7 innings of the Brewers 3–2 win over Chicago. He had been sidelined most of the past 2 seasons with shoulder problems.

25th  At County Stadium, the Brewers score 5 runs in each of the last two innings to win 11-7 over the Tigers.  In the 9th, Paul Molitor hits a 2-out solo homer to tie the game at 7. The next three batters reach base and Ted Simmons ends it with a grand slam.  All the runs in the 9th come off Bill Scherrer.  Alan Trammell has 2 triples and a homer for the Bengals.

26th  The Dodgers Orel Hershiser pitches his 2nd consecutive shutout, a 2–0 one-hitter against the Padres. San Diego’s lone hit is Tony Gwynn’s 4th-inning single.

27thToronto’s Willie Aikens cracks a game-tying 2 run pinch homer in the 9th inning against Texas, and the Blue Jays win 9–8.  For Aikens, it is his last ML at bat, as Toronto will send him to Syracuse in 3 days.

28th  After the Yankees lose to the White Sox 4–3 on a bases-loaded walk in the bottom of the 9th, manager Yogi Berra is replaced by Billy Martin, who begins his 4th term in the job.  The bad news is delivered to Yogi by pitching coach Clyde King, and a furious Berra vows to never set foot in Yankee Stadium as long as George Steinbrenner is the owner.

      Mickey Hatcher goes 4-for-5 as the Twins post their 8th consecutive win, 10–1, over Oakland. Hatcher was 5-for-5 the day before, giving him a club record 9 consecutive hits.

      Darryl Strawberry hits a grand slam in the first inning at New York but it takes another five hours before the Mets score again. Mookie Wilson scores from 3B when Clint Hurdle’s grounder went through the legs of Pittsburgh first baseman Jason Thompson for an error in the 18th inning to give the Mets a 5-4 victory in a game that lasts 5 hours 21 minutes. Lee Tunnell, the Bucs 7th pitcher, takes the loss. A defensive gem by Rusty Staub, robs the Pirates of at least one run in the top of the 18th. Staub, 41, who weighs 230 is pressed into service when the Mets ran out of players in the 12th inning. Staub played right field when right-handed batters came up and left field when left-handed hitters batted. He was playing right in the top of the 18th. With Tunnell on second and two out, pinch hitter Rick Rhoden hits a looping fly ball down the RF line and Staub makes a running catch to save a run. In the bottom of the 18th Gary Carter draws a walk and Wilson, running for him, goes to third on Strawberry’s single to right. When Hurdle’s grounder went through Thompson, it ends the longest game in 3 years. Through one stretch in the marathon, in which 43 players were used, Pirate pitchers hold the Mets hitless for 10 innings.

29th  In Billy Martin’s first game as New York manager, Larry Parrish belts 3 home runs to power the Rangers to a 7–5 win over the Yankees. It is Parrish’s 4th career 3-HR game but his first in the AL, making him only the 5th player to accomplish the feat in each league.  The Yanks lose a homer in the 4th when, with two men on, Bobby Meacham hits a Frank Tanana ball that just reaches the stands.  Running hard, Meacham collides with teammate Willie Randolph who was returning to 1B to tag up. Meacham is given a two-run single.

      At the Kingdome, the Mariners edge the Brewers, 9-7, in 10 innings behind the heroics of catcher Donnie Scott.  Scott hits a game-tying solo homer in the 9th, off Rollie Fingers, then follows with a walkoff 2-run homer in the 10thoff Ray Searage. He’s the first catcher to accomplish the feat. He will total just 7 homers in his career.

30th  Dale Murphy drives in his 28th and 29th runs of the season in Atlanta’s 8–4 win over the Reds, tying Ron Cey’s 1977 record for RBI in the month of April.

      Kansas City does all its scoring in the 3rd off Jose Roman as the Royals topple the Indians, 5-1. Steve Balboni has a grand slam for KC.