2004 April

1stMLB delays the more stringent drug-testing program for players announced last November. Congress will later question why it was not informed.

Indians CF Milton Bradley leaves the team and is reportedly on the trading block. In an exhibition game yesterday Bradley did not run out a pop fly that dropped for a single, and was promptly pulled. According to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, even if he’s not traded by Opening Day, he won’t be with the Indians on Monday. They are right. On the 3rdhe goes to the Dodgers for minor league blue chipper Franklin Gutierrez and a player to be named later.

2ndThe Dodgers send P Steve Colyer and a player to be named to the Tigers for OF Cody Ross.

4thThe Marlins and Padres exchange pitchers, with Ben Howard going to Florida and Blaine Neal to SD.

The Expos acquire C Einar Diaz, P Justin Echols, and cash from the Rangers. Montreal sends C/IF Josh McKinley and P Chris Young to Texas.

The Mets trade OF Roger Cedeno to the Cardinals, getting IF Wilson Delgado in return.

The Mariners get IF Jolbert Cabrera from the Dodgers for pitchers Aaron Looper and Ryan Ketchner.

The Dodgers send OF Jason Romano to Tampa Bay in exchange for SS Antonio Perez.

5thThe Brewers defeat the Cardinals, 8-6, on Opening Day in St. Louis. President George Bush throws out the first ball, marking the first time a president performs the honor in St. Louis.

Behind the pitching of Kerry Wood, the Cubs beat the Reds, 7–4 in Cincinnati. Wood is the first Cub pitcher to win back-to-back openers since Claude Passeau in 1941-42.

Barry Bonds hits a 3-run homer off Roy Oswalt to tie the Astros 4–4, and J.T. Snow hits a sac fly in the 9thto win, 5–4. Bonds is 3-for-3 with 2 doubles to go with his 659thcareer homer. His 3 extra base hits puts him ahead of Lou Gehrig into 5th on the career extra base hits vs. league average list and, with 1 walk, he passes Ted Williams for 2nd on career walks vs. league average.

The A’s confirmed that 2B Mark Ellis has a torn labrum and will have to miss the entire 2004 season.

6thThe World Champion Marlins open their 2004 season with a 4-3 win over the Expos. The game marks the first time that 2 WS MVPs oppose each other on Opening Day, with 2003 winner Josh Beckett going for Florida and 1997 winner Livan Hernandez on the mound for Montreal.

The Mets open their season with a 7-2 win over the Braves. SS Kaz Matsui starts the game with a HR on the first pitch from Russ Ortiz, becoming the 20th player in ML history to homer on the first pitch he sees. Matsui adds a pair of doubles and 2 walks in his debut. He is the 3rdplayer in Met history to homer in his first AB, joining Mike Fitzgerald and Benny Ayala.

The Giants down the Astros, 7-5, as rookie P David Aardsma gets the win in his first ML appearance. Aardsma also replaces Hank Aaron in the top sport in baseball’s all-time alphabetical listing.

7thThe Braves overcome a 6-0 deficit and pound out 19 hits on their way to an 18-10 win over the Mets. Atlanta takes the lead for good by scoring 11 runs in the 4th inning. Mike Piazza goes 5-for-5 for NY, including a pair of HRs. He becomes the first catcher in modern ML history to hit 3 HRs in the first 2 games of the season. Rookie Adam LaRoche, Johnny Estrada and Julio Franco combined for six hits and seven RBIs in the 4th inning. LaRoche is the first N.L. player to garner two hits in an inning in his big-league debut; the feat has been accomplished three times in the A.L.

The Astros defeat the Giants, 10-1, as Roger Clemens hurls 7 innings of 1-hit ball in his NL debut. The game marks the first time in history that a pitcher with at least 300 wins (Clemens) faces a hitter with 600 or more homers (Barry Bonds).

The Red Sox top the Orioles, 10-3, as OF Johnny Damon strokes 5 hits, including a double.

Claudio Vargas allows an unearned run in 6 innings as the Expos win their second in a row by a run against Florida. Four relievers preserve the 3-2 win. One of the relievers is Chad Bentz like Jim Abbott before him with a deformed right hand, pitches with his left hand then switches his glove to his left hand to field. The southpaw attended Long Beach State on a baseball scholarship and was drafted by the Expos in the seventh round of the 2001 amateur draft.

8th U.S. Federal agents, looking for information on the BALCO case, seize information linking 104 players to positive tests from 2003.

The Brewers down the Cardinals, 11–5, as Scott Podsednik has 4 hits and Clark knocks in 4 runs. Albert Pujols has a pair of homers for the Birds.  Catcher Cody McKay makes his ML debut as a pinch-hitter for St. Louis, then goes to the mound and hurls 2 hitless innings, walking one. He is the 20th position player to pitch two innings or more in a major-league game since 1973. Jose Oquendo posted the longest pitching stint by a position player since 1973 going four innings against the Atlanta Braves on May 14, 1988.Dave Burba of the Brewers registered his first major-league save since June 8, 1991, a span of 4,668 days.

The Padres tie the game in the 9th and score the winning run in the 10th to defeat the Giants, 4-3, in the first regular season game at new PETCO Park.

Texas signs Gary Matthews, Jr. who was released last week by the Braves.

9thHigh-lighted by Jeff Bagwell’s grand slam, the Astros score 9 runs in the 6th inning on their way to a 13-7 win over the Brewers.

The Cubs Todd Hollandsworth hits a pinch homer in the 9thoff John Smoltz to tie the game with the Braves. Tom Goodwin’s sac fly in the 15this the game winner.

The Royals defeat the Indians, 3-1. They become the first team in modern ML history to start 4 different lefthanded pitchers in the first 4 games of the season.

11thThe Yankees defeat the White Sox, 5-4, as Mike Mussina records his 200th career victory.

12thThe Phillies open new Citizens Bank Park with a 4-1 loss to the Reds.

Travis Hafner hits a grand slam to power the Indians to a 6–3 win over the Twins.

Through today, there had been six pinch-hit homers in the bigs in 2004 with all coming in the ninth inning.

13thThe Giants beat the Astros, 4-2, behind a pair of HRs by Marquis Grissom, and the 661st of Barry Bonds’ ML career. The homer moves Bonds ahead of his godfather, Willie Mays, into third place on the all-time list.

14thThe Yankees defeat the Devil Rays, 5-1, as Kevin Brown wins the 200th game of his ML career. Together with Mike Mussina, they become the first teammates to reach the milestone in the same season, doing so in consecutive games.

The Rockies pound the Diamondbacks, 14-4, as rookie 2B Aaron Miles becomes the first player in Colorado history to homer from both sides of the plate in the same game.

At Puerto Rico’s Hiram Bithorn Stadium, the Marlins shut out the Expos, 9-0, behind Dontrelle Willis (2-0) and three relievers.  Willis leaves with an 8-0 lead after 5 innings, having gone 3-for-3 at the plate, including a double and 3-run homer. Willis was 3-for-3 in his last game and 3-for-3 at the plate in the Marlins NLCS victory in October of last year, giving him a remarkable 9-for-9 in his last 9 appearances at bat (as noted by Trent McCotter).

15thThe Marlins defeat the Expos, 3-0, to become the first team since the 1995 Orioles to sweep a 3-game series with shutouts. Carl Pavano and 2 relievers do the whitewashing today to followup wins by Penny and Willis. It is the 4thconsecutive time the Marlins have shut out Montreal. The Expos have scored just 10 runs in their first 9 games, which is the 2nd lowest figure ever, ahead of just the 1907 Brooklyn Superbas.

16thThe Indians defeat the Tigers, 10-3, behind Jody Gerut’s 5 hits. Gerut collects a single, 3 doubles, and a HR and drives home 3 runs.

Tony Womack and Reggie Sanders hits homers off Denny Stark to lead off the game against the Rockies. Sanders hits another 3-run HR off Stark, who allows 11 runs in 2 + innings. St. Louis wins, 13-5.

On back-to-back pitches Sammy Sosa and Moises Alou homer to help the Cubs beat the Reds, 11–10. Sosa’s is his 512thas a Cub, tying Ernie Banks for the club record. Sammy will hit a pair of solo homers on the 18thto take the club lead.  Dusty Baker is ejected today for arguing the umps call that the Cubs batted out of order. Kerry Wood will be ejected tomorrow for arguing calls and both he and Baker will be fined for inciting the crowd.

18thThe Pirates beat the Mets, 8-1, as pitcher Kris Benson ties a ML record with 4 sacrifices. He becomes the 7th player to accomplish the feat, and only the second since 1920.

19thThe Seattle Mariners became just the third team since 1974 to win a game on a balk in extra innings edging the A’s, 2–1. With runners on first and third and two out in the bottom of the 14th inning, Oakland A’s reliever Justin Duchscherer was called for a balk to score Quentin McCracken from third and give the Mariners a 2-1 win over the A’s. Duchscherer faked a throw to third then threw to first baseman Eric Karros in an attempt to pick off the runner there. However, home plate umpire Paul Emmel ruled that the reliever had stepped toward the plate rather than to first and, under rule 8.05c, had committed a balk. Seattle starter Freddy Garcia pitches 7 scoreless innings but closer Eddie Guardero gives up a HR to Jermaine Dye in the 9thto tie it.

After Jeff D’Amico gives up 4 runs without recording an out, Jake Westbrook relieves and pitches 7 hitless innings against Detroit. Two relievers allow 3 runs apiece after Jake leaves, and the Tigers beat the Indians, 10–4. Westbrook is the first pitcher since 1969 to pitch 7 perfect innings in relief; the previous highs were the 6.2 perfect innings pitched by Casey Cox in 1969 and John Montague in 1977.

20thThe Padres down the Giants, 9-5. Barry Bonds homers in his 7thconsecutive game for SF, leaving him just one shy of the ML mark shared by Dale Long, Don Mattingly, and Ken Griffey Jr.

21st The Cubs score 8 runs in the 1st inning on their way to a 12-1 victory over the Pirates. Corey Patterson leads the way for Chicago with 5 hits, including a double.

The Marlins defeat the Phillies, 8-7, in 12 innings as Mike Lowell hits 3 HRs for Florida. He is the first Fish to hit 3 homers in a game.

The Brewers ride an 8-run 7th inning to a 10-6 win over the Diamondbacks and Randy Johnson.

22nd The Diamondbacks defeat the Brewers, 1-9, in 15 innings. Danny Bautista paces Arizona’s 20-hit attack with 5 safeties, including a double, 2 HRs, and 5 RBIs.

23rd The Tigers score 11 runs in the 6th inning on their way to a 17-3 thumping of the Indians.

25thLittle League Baseball grants its northern Virginia district jurisdiction over the planet Mars. The idea is the brainchild of district Administrator Michael Pobat, who wants a theme as northern Virginia prepares to host the annual state tournament this year. Believing the Martian theme might be a way to get kids excited about science and technology, he successfully petitioned Little League to annex the planet into the northern Virginia district.

The Cubs Matt Clement takes a no-hitter into the 7thagainst the Mets and strikes out a career-high 13 as the Cubs sweep the Mets with the 4-1 win.

Manny Ramirez hits a 2-run homer to provide all the scoring as the Boston Red Sox beat the Yankees, 2–0.  Pedro Martinez allows 4 hits in 7 innings for the win.

The Rangers defeat the Mariners, 14-6. Laynce Nix, Rod Barajas, and Adrian Gonzalez hit consecutive homers for Texas in the 6th inning, with Gonzalez’s being the first of his ML career. Kevin Mench scores 5 runs.

26th In a 9-0 win over the Cubs Richie Sexson of the Arizona Diamondbacks hits the longest home run ever at the BOB in Phoenix. In fact, the ball hit Sexson’s own photo on the scoreboard and breaks a few lights, 503 feet from home plate. It’s the 200thHR of his career.         Randy Johnson goes 7 innings allowing 2 hits and striking out 10, while driving in a run with a single. The Big Unit is now 12–0 against the Cubs.

27thThe Brewers edge the Reds, 9-8, as C Chad Moeller becomes the 5thBrewer in history to hit for the cycle. Moeller adds 4 RBIs as he breaks out of a 3-for-24 slump in grand fashion.

A day after being shut out by Randy Johnson, the Cubs fail to score against Brandon Webb, who throws 7 innings. The Diamondbacks beat the Cubs, 10–1. Danny Bautista extends his hitting streak to 19 games for the D’Backs. Steve Finley hits a homer and steals his 300thbase.

28thThe Brewers defeat the Reds, 10-9, in 10 innings. In doing so, they post the biggest rally in team history, overcoming a 9-0 deficit.

The Cubs down the Diamondbacks, 4-3, despite 3 solo HRs by Steve Finley. It is the 4th three-HR game of his career.

29thThe Cardinals beat the Phillies, 5-4, in 13 innings. The win makes St. Louis manager Tony LaRussa only the 2nd manager in history (along with Sparky Anderson) to win 700 games with 2 different teams.

At Yankee Stadium, Derek Jeter hits a leadoff homer and the Yankees pound Barry Zito for 6 runs in 6 innings to defeat the A’s, 7-5.  Zito (2-3) serves up three more homers.  With his homer, Jeter breaks out of an 0-for-32 slump, the longest by a Yankee in 27 years.

The Giants lose to the Marlins, 4-3, despite Barry Bonds’ 668th career home run. The blast gives the slugger and his late father, Bobby, a total of 1,000 career round-trippers.