1997 April

1st The Padres score 11 runs in the 6th inning against the Mets, going on to win, 12-5. Three consecutive home runs—by Chris Gomez, Rickey Henderson, and Quilvio Veras—are the inning’s big blows. The 11 runs ties a 3-year-old record for the most scored in an inning on Opening day this century.

Albert Belle, Chicago’s $55 million man, doubles in the first run and clocks a 2-run HR in the 8th to help the White Sox to a 6–5 10-inning win over Toronto. In the 10th, Ray Durham singles and comes around to score on a ball that eludes the SS for an error.

The defending champs, the Florida Marlins, open with a 4-2 win over the Cubs. Newly acquired Moises Alou homers for the Fish and Kevin Brown allows one hit and no runs in 7 innings. Prior to the game, a Navy seal, costumed as new mascot Billy the Marlin parachutes in to Pro Player Stadium, but loses his head on the way down. ESPN’s Dan Patrick trumpets the loss with, “Bring me the head of Billy the Marlin.”

2nd  Paced by Tino Martinez, who belts homers in each of his first three at bats, the visiting Yankees rout the Mariners, 16–2. Martinez’s shots, all off starter Scott Sanders, come with the bases empty, one on and two on; in three of his final four times at bat, the bases are full, but Tino fails to connect for his 4th dinger, singling once and walking with the bases loaded. Martinez, who also had a single, drives home 7 runs and scores 5 runs.

Jimmy Key pitches the Orioles to a 4–2 Opening Day win over the visiting Royals. Kevin Appier takes the loss. Key is now 7–0 on Opening Day.

Eight days after being traded to the Indians, David Justice debuts and hits a tie-breaking 2-run homer in the 7th to lead Cleveland to a 9–7 win over the A’s. Justice adds a triple, single, and RBI groundout.

The Rocket blasts off in his first start for the Blue Jays, striking out 9 White Sox batters and scattering 6 hits to win, 6–1. Clemens’ complete game win is his 193rd victory.

Gary Sheffield signs a 6-year, $61 million contract with the Marlins, the largest in baseball history.

The Mariners sign 35-year-old Alvaro Espinosa.

3rd  Baltimore’s Jimmy Key makes his Oriole debut beating the Royals, 4–2, to run his opening day record to 7–0, the best ever. He won 3 with New York and 3 with Toronto.

4th  Rookie Jason Dickson pitches a complete game shutout for the Angels, beating the Red Sox, 2–0. Tim Wakefield takes the loss.

The Braves open Turner Field with a come-from-behind win over the Cubs.  Chipper Jones ties the game with an 8th-inning single and Michael Tucker wins it with an RBI single as the Braves win their first home opener at Turner, 5-4. Despite popular sentiment to name the field after Hank Aaron, Ted Turner stays closer to home. The city promptly renames the section of Capitol Avenue that runs alongside the park Hank Aaron Drive and gives the number 755 to Turner Field.

At Anaheim, the Indians score a pair of runs in the top of the 11th, then watch as Tim Salmon clubs a no out walkoff grand slam in the bottom of the frame as the Angels win, 8-6. Paul Shuey is the victim of the slam.

5th  Sterling Hitchcock and Trevor Hoffman combine to 1-hit the Phillies in posting a 4-1 victory. Hitchcock allows only a double to Rico Brogna in 8 innings as the 1st-place Pods win for the 4th time in 5 games.

OF Larry Walker leads Colorado to a 15-3 win over Montreal. Walker strokes 4 hits, including 3 HRs, and brings home 5 runs to pace the Rockies.

Brian Hunter has 4 hits and 3 stolen bases as Detroit outlasts the White Sox, 15–12. Bobby Higginson and Damion Easley each hit 3-run HRs. The Sox Chris Snopek, filling in at 3B for Robin Ventura, out with a broken ankle, has three hits but makes his 3rd E in 4 games.

7th  The Mets place P Pete Harnisch on the DL. Harnisch has been battling insomnia and other related problems due to having given up smokeless tobacco last month.

8th  The Pirates defeat the Padres, 2-0, as Steve Cooke, Rich Loiselle, and John Ericks combine to hold SD to 1 hit, a single off Cooke by Steve Finley.

9th  Cleveland P Jose Mesa is found innocent of rape, gross sexual imposition and theft charges stemming from an earlier incident. He’ll get a standing O when he appears in the home opener in 2 days.

10th  Florida P Alex Fernandez hurls a 1-hit, 1-0 victory over the Cubs. Fernandez fans 8 without walking a batter, and allows just a single to Dave Hansen with 1 out in the 9th inning.

11thSnow postpones games in Milwaukee and Denver, while 1,000 fans braves the cold in Detroit to see the Tigers edge the White Sox, 5–4. Catcher Matt Wallback scores on the front end of a double steal for the Tigers.

Randy Johnson wins for the first time since last May 12th as the Mariners beat Boston, 5–3,  Johnson has won 13 straight decisions since August 1, 1995. He allows 4 hits, including 2 homers to John Valentin, in 6 innings. It’s the first home opener loss in 5 years for the Sox.

13th  In a Kid’s Opening Day at Fenway, the Sox introduce their new furry mascot, Wally the Green Monster. Wil Cordero bangs a HR off the coke bottle above the LF wall, the first HR to hit the “caffeine monster”, and Tim Naehring adds a grand slam to pace Boston to a 7–1 win over Seattle.

14th  The Braves pound the Reds, 14-5, behind Kenny Lofton’s 5 hits, 2 SBs, and 5 runs scored. Deion Sanders, wearing his short-sleeves uniform, ties a Reds record with 4 steals. In early April, Deion had shorten the sleeves in a misguided gesture to honor Jackie Robinson. Sanders copied a Jackie photo on a box of Wheaties, a photo in which he appears to have no sleeves on his uniform. When told he was in violation of a dress code, the Reds voted to join Deion, and they appeared on field that way April 11.

15th  Seattle 1B Paul Sorrento gets 5 hits, including a pair of doubles, and drives home 4 runs in the Mariners’ 8-4 win over Cleveland to move 1 game ahead of the Athletics in the AL West.

With a crowd of 54,047 on hand at Shea, the Mets shut out the Dodgers, 5–0. President Clinton (on crutches after breaking his leg) is present and delivers a speech after the 4th inning.  Bud Selig announces that #42 would be retired in perpetuity by all Major League teams, but those currently wearing it could continue to do so for the rest of their careers.

16th  Behind the complete game victory of Roger Bailey, the Rockies shut out the Cubs, 4–0, running Chicago’s record to 0–12. It is the Rockies’ 1st complete-game shutout on the road. Chicago’s start breaks the 1884 NL record of the Detroit Wolverines.

Randy Johnson wins his 14th straight decision, beating the Tigers, 7–3.  Ken Griffey, Jr. breaks a tie with a 2-run homer in the top of the 8th for Seattle.

Brett Butler is 5-for-5, collecting 4 more hits than the Mets, as the Dodgers win, 5–2.  Carlos Baerga has the only New York hit, a 7th-inning double off Pedro Astacio.

In the Astros’ 10-2 win over the Expos, Houston reliever Dustin Hermanson hits a HR in his first major league at bat. It is just his third at bat since becoming a professional in 1994.

Jeff Conine slugs a pinch homer in the 9th to give the Marlins a 2-1 victory over the Cardinals. Catcher Mike Difelice scores the only run for the Birds in the 3rd inning with a straight steal of home, his first ML steal.

18th  The Braves shut out the Rockies, 14-0, behind Tom Glavine. Kenny Lofton gets 5 hits for Atlanta, including a HR, and scores 4.

Walks’ll kill you. The Rangers Roger Pavlik ties an AL record by walking the first four batters he faces in a 6–5 loss to the Blue Jays,  Pavlik will go on the DL on May 7 and will stay there for 118 days.

19th  in the first game of a doubleheader in Aloha Stadium in Honolulu, the Cards middle reliever Mark Petkovsek throws 6 scoreless innings as St. Louis edges the host Padres, 1-0. The Birds take game 2 by a 2-1 score in this three-game series played in Hawaii.

20th  In the first of two at Shea, the Mets wallop the Cubs 8-2 to extend Chicago’s consecutive game losing streak to 14, a NL record to start a season. Only the Orioles of 1988 have started with a longer losing streak. John Olerud has a homer and 3 RBI and Carl Everett belts a pair of homers to drive in 5 runs. The Cubs win their first of the year in game 2 by a 4-3 score, though the Mets make it interesting by scoring 2 in the 9th and leaving the tying run on base.

The Padres rebound to take the third game in their Hawaii series with the Cardinals, winning, 8-2.  The only homer in the series is hit by Ron Gant who lines a ball to the warning track in left CF.  When Rickey Henderson, playing CF, runs into the wall, Gant continues for an inside-the-park homer, the lone ML homer hit in Hawaii.

21st  P Ryan Franklin of the Mariners’ Double-A Memphis farm team hurls a 7-inning no-hitter in the first game of a doubleheader against Carolina. In Franklin’s last game on April 13, he hurled the first 6 innings of a combined no-hitter against Chattanooga.

22nd  After 4 months of on-and-off negotiations, the Yankees acquire the rights to Japanese P Hideki Irabu from the San Diego Padres for $3 million. New York sends injured OF Ruben Rivera and minor leaguer P Rafael Medina to San Diego. The Padres sweeten the deal by sending three minor leaguers to NY: second baseman Homer Bush and outfielders` Gordon Amerson and Vernon Maxwell.  Irabu’s team, the Chiba Lotte Marines, gave the San Diego exclusive rights to the 27-year-old righthander, but Irabu refused to sign with the Padres, saying he would only go with the Yankees.

25th  The Indians defeat the Brewers, 11-4, clouting a club record 8 homers. 3B Matt Williams has 3 HRs and 4 RBIs, while David Justice adds a pair. The Brewers go deep 3 times, giving the 2 teams a ML-record tying 11 for the game. The 2 teams club 5 homers in the 4th to tie the ML mark.

The Mariners defeat the Blue Jays, 13-8, behind OF Ken Griffey’s 3 HRs. The round-trippers give Griffey a major league-leading 13 on the year, and a ML record for the month of April. The first two dingers come off Roger Clemens and the 3rd, off Mike Timlin is the 250th of Griffey’s career. Griffey had a 3 homer game in May of last year.

The White Sox belt the Yankees, 9–3, scoring 4 runs off reliever David Weathers in a third of an inning. Weathers, with 7 blown saves, will be “designated for reassignment” tomorrow.

26th  Chicago second baseman Ryne Sandberg hits his 2nd HR of the year in the Cubs’ 7-6 win over Pittsburgh. The HR is Sandberg’s 267th as a second baseman, breaking the record held by Hall of Famer Joe Morgan for most HRs at that position.

The Yankees beat the White Sox by a score of 10-2 as DH Cecil Fielder gets 5 hits, including 2 doubles and a homer.

The Orioles pound the Red Sox, 14-6, as Roberto Alomar goes 4-for-4, with 3 HRs and 6 ribbies.

Pedro Martinez (3-0) goes 7 innings as Montreal whips the Mets, 8-1.  It is the 10th straight time that Martinez has won over the Mets.

29th  Chili Davis’ 300th homer leading off the 10th snaps a 5–5 tie and gives the Royals a 6–5 win over the Blue Jays.

At Boston, CF Shane Mack is the only outfielder not to throw out a runner. All three California outfielders—Tim Salmon, Garret Anderson and Orlando Palmeiro—do it, while Red Sox starting LF Wil Cordero and Troy O’Leary, who replaced Rudy Pemberton in RF, register one. The Angels win the contest by a score of 5–4. Tomorrow, Anderson and Cordero will throw out runners again.

The jokes have stopped. The Cubs win their 4th in 5 games beating the Expos, 14–8. Brooks Kieschnick, recalled on April 11, tallies 6 RBIs on 2 homers and a single to lead the Cubs back from a 5–0 deficit. Steve Trachsel picks up his first win despite giving up 7 runs in 5 innings.

30thThe Yankees get a leadoff HR from Tim Raines and 9 strike outs from David Wells to beat the Mariners, 3–2. Joe Torre wins his 1,000th game while Dennis Martinez takes the loss, dropping his record against the Yanks to 2–18. Jay Buhner homers for the M’s in the 9th against closer Mariano Rivera. Tino Martinez hits his 9th HR in the 8th inning, upping his ML-record RBI total to 34 for the month. Martinez will have 40 RBIs in his first 30 games, the first player to do so since Campanella in 1953; Campy had 44.

Fred McGriff homers twice and Michael Tucker has 5 hits to lead the Braves to 12–3 win over the stumbling Reds.  The Braves complete the first 19-win April in ML history. The Reds, losers of their 12th in 14 contests, get 3 hits from Deion Sanders, who raises his average to .385. Neon also swipes his 19th base.

Toronto’s Roger Clemens allows 3 hits in winning his 4th, 1–0, over Kansas City. Carlos Delgado hits a 4th inning HR for the only score.

Mark McGwire hits two tape-measure blasts as the A’s outslug the Indians, 11–9, in 10 innings. McGwire’s first shot, off Orel Hershiser, is the first ever off the Jacobs Field scoreboard and dents the Budweiser sign. It travels an estimated 485 feet.  His 2nd, in the 10th, is the tie-breaker.

The Giants finish their best April in 24 years (17-7) by beating on the Pirates, 6–1, on Mark Gardner’s 3-hit pitching. Jeff Kent’s 3rd inning grand slam, off Jon Lieber, gives Gardner all the support he needs.

In an 11–5 win over the Cubs, Rockies star Larry Walker hits his 11th homer in April, tying the NL record. Stargell, Schmidt, Sheffield, and Bonds have done it.