1986 April

1st  In a purge of its pitching staff, Atlanta releases veterans Pascual Perez, Len Barker, Terry Forster, and Rick Camp.

3rd  Pedro Guerrero, the Dodgers most productive hitter, ruptures a tendon in his left knee while sliding into 3B in an exhibition game. He will be sidelined for at least 3 months and not have his first hit until September.

5th  Peter Ueberroth proposes a drug testing program in which ML players would be tested for drugs no more than 4 times a year from March to October. Cocaine, marijuana, heroin, and morphine would be included, but not amphetamines. There would be no penalty for first-time positive testing.

7th  On Opening Day at Tiger Stadium, Boston’s Dwight Evans achieves a ML first by hitting a home run off Jack Morris on the first pitch of the season. But Detroit’s Kirk Gibson later hits 2 homers, adds two singles and drives in 5 runs to lead the Tigers to a 6–5 victory.

      President Ronald Reagan throws out the first pitch and the Orioles opener draws a crowd of 52,292, the largest regular-season in Orioles history. But Cleveland’s new addition Ken Schrom throws a damper on the day as he beats the Birds, 6-4. In his ML debut, Andy Allison is 3-for-4.

8th  After hitting a 2-run home run to tie the score in the bottom of the 9th, Seattle’s Jim Presley belts a walkoff grand slam with 2 out in the bottom of the 10th to give the Mariners an 8–4 season-opening win over the Angels.

      Rookie Will Clark thrills the crowd by hitting a HR in his first at bat, and off no less than Nolan Ryan. The Giants beat the Astros 8–3.

      The Royals are the first defending champions—besides the Yankees—in 61 years to open at Yankee Stadium, and they start the season on the wrong foot by losing, 4–2. New York scores all 4 runs off starter Bud Black, who gives up a three-run homer to Butch Wynegar in the 2nd.  Hal McRae accounts for both KC runs with a two-run homer off starter Ron Guidry, one of two hits Guidry gives up in 5 innings. Guidry wins his first Opener with relief help from Scurry and Righetti.

      In their opener, the Texas Rangers beat the Blue Jays, 6-3, as rookie Pete Incaviglia goes 1-for-4. Incaviglia, a college slugger with 100 homers in 213 games, was picked 8th last year by the Expos, but refused to play in the minors. With a ‘play him or trade him’ option, the Expos chose the latter, shipping him to Texas in the off-season. Because of this, Major League Baseball will implement a rule that a team cannot trade a player within a year of drafting him, a rule affectionately called the “Pete Incaviglia Rule.”

      At Chicago, Tom Seaver makes his ML record 16th Opening Day start, but the White Sox vet loses to the Brewers, 5–3.

9th  The Phillies manage just one hit in 8 innings against the Reds Tom Browning, but then they plate 4 runs in the 11th to win, 5-3.

11th  Reggie Jackson, Bobby Grich and Brian Dowling hit homers to pace the Angels to a 10-3 win over the A’s. Downing’s blow is a grand slam.

12th  Making his first start in nearly 3 years, Kansas City’s Dennis Leonard shuts out Toronto, 1–0, on 3 hits. Leonard, a 3-time 20-game winner, had undergone 4 knee operations since tearing a tendon during the 1983 season.

      At the Vet, the Mets plate a run in the top of the 14th only to have the Phillies score 2 runs to win, 9-8. Randy Niemann gives up 6 hits and 3 walks in the last two innings.

      Craig Reynolds hits a pinch grand slam in the 6th to account for all of Houston’s scoring as the edge the Braves, 4-3. Nolan Ryan wins his first of the year, allowing a run in 7 innings.

13th  Marvell Wynne hits two homers—one pinch hit, one walkoff—to lead the Padres to a 7-6 wynne against the Reds.  Wynne pinch hits his first homer in the 7th, then stays in the game in CF.  Kal Daniels homers in the 9th off Goose Gossage to tie the game, and Wynne homers in the bottom of the 9th, off Joe Price to win it.

15th  The Mariners rough up Don Sutton, scoring 8 runs in the 1st inning off the former ace to send him to the showers, as they whip the Angels, 9-4. Danny Tartabull, in his second at bat in the inning, hits a grand slam.

17th  At Fenway, Don Baylor breaks a 2-2 tie with an 8th-inning grand slam to give Boston a 6-2 win over the Royals.

18th  Despite allowing no hits—and only 3 fair balls hit—and striking out 10 in 5 innings, Texas rookie Bobby Witt is lifted in a game in Milwaukee. Why? Witt also walks 8, and throws 4 wild pitches, allowing 2 runs.  Texas rallies for 3 runs in the 9th to win 7–5.

19th  Oakland’s Jose Rijo sets a club record with 16 strikeouts in 8 innings as the A’s beat Seattle 7–2. The 2 clubs combine for 30 strikeouts overall, setting the modern ML record for a 9-inning game.

      Rick Reuschel subdues his old team, the Cubs, as the Pirates roll to a 14-8 win in Chicago.  The Bucs hit four homeruns including a birthday grand slam by R.J. Reynolds in the 4th off Chicago’s Scott Sanderson.

      Eddie Murray has a double and grand slam to drive in 5 runs as the Orioles outgun the Texas Rangers, 10-4.

20th  San Francisco’s Vida Blue wins his 200th career game, combining with Jeff Robinson to shut out the Padres 4–0.

      At Wrigley, the Pirates and Cubs go 13 innings and end 8–8 as darkness calls the game. It will be finished August 11.

22nd  Detroit’s Kirk Gibson sprains his ankle when his foot slips off the bag at Fenway.  He’ll be out till June 3. The Red Sox will win today, 6–4, behind Clemens (3–0), but be 10 games behind when Gibson returns.

23rd  At Riverfront, the Padres collect three triples as they beat the Reds, 7-4. Dave Parker accounts for the Reds scoring with a grand slam off starter and winner Andy Hawkins.

25th  One out after Graig Nettles ties the score with a solo home run in the bottom of the 12th inning, Padres reliever Craig Lefferts belts his first ML home run to beat the Giants, 9–8.

26th  The game between the Angels and Twins is delayed for 9 minutes when strong winds tear a hole in the Metrodome roof, causing suspended lights and speakers to sag toward the field. The roof is reinflated and California rallies for 6 runs in the 9th to win 7–6.

27th  The Mets win their 9th consecutive game 5–3 at St. Louis, and in the process end John Tudor’s 18-game winning streak at Busch Stadium. Kevin Mitchell hits his first ML home run for the Mets.

      In a barnburner in Chicago, the Cubs score 5 runs in the 8th inning and hold on for a 12-10 win over the Expos. Jody Davis has 2 homers for the Cubs, including a 4th inning grand slam.

28th  In the last game of the Pearson Cup competition, the Blue Jays beat the visiting Expos, 5-2, to even the series at 3 game apiece, with two ties. Scheduling conflicts will prevent next year’s game between the two Canadian rivals.

29th  Twenty-three-year-old Red Sox pitcher Roger Clemens strikes out 20 batters in a 3–1 win over Seattle, breaking the ML record of 19 shared by Nolan Ryan, Steve Carlton, and Tom Seaver. Clemens doesn’t walk a batter, allows just 3 hits, and ties the AL record (Ryan and Davis) with 8 consecutive strikeouts in the middle innings.

      Reds pitcher Mario Soto ties the ML record by surrendering home runs to Andre Dawson, Hubie Brooks, Tim Wallach, and Mike Fitzgerald in the 4th inning of a 7–4 loss to the Expos.

      In a hit parade in the Bronx, the Yankees down the Twins, 14-11, connecting for three homers.  Rickey Henderson has a single, double and HR to drive in 4 runs for the Yankees, while Billy Beane is Money for the Twins in his 4th game with them, collecting 5 hits and driving in 4 runs.  Billy will collect his next five hits over the next three months.

30th  The Mariners strike out 16 more times in a 9–4 loss to the Red Sox, setting a ML record of 36 strikeouts in 2 consecutive games.