2014 April

1stIn the longest game (by time) ever played in Pittsburgh, the Pirates outlast the Cubs to win, 4-3, in 16 innings.  It is the second straight extra-inning win for the Bucs. Anthony Rizzo has a 12thinning homer for Chicago, but Pittsburgh answers with a score. Emilio Bonafacio has 5 hits in the game and 9 in his first 2 games to set a ML record. He’ll add 2 more hits tomorrow to tie the 3-game mark to start a season (Ira Flagstead, 1926; Cecil Cooper, 1982).

2nd The Braves shut out the Brewers, 1-0, as Aaron Harang and Matt Garza each make their first start for their new teams, and each take a no-hitter into the 7thinning. It is only the third time over the past 30 years that this has happened.

The Mariners defeat the Angels, 4-0, as Seattle’s James Paxson hurls 7 scoreless innings. He becomes only the second pitcher in ML history to go 4-0 or 5-0 in his first 5 games, all starts, with an ERA under 1.25. Boo Ferriss accomplished the feat for the Red Sox in 1945.

The Pirates are outhit by the Cubs, 15 to 8, but they prevail, 4-3, in 16 innings. The Cubs use a successful challenge in the 8thto score a run and Anthony Rizzo hits a 12thinning homer for Chicago. But the Bucs tie it and then use 3 singles in the 16thoff Villanueva (0-2) to win.  Emilio Bonifacio has 5 hits for the Cubs, giving him 9 hits in hisfirst 2 games for his new team. Only one other player—the Cardinals’ George “Showboat” Fisher in 1930—had as many as 8 hits in his first 2 games for a team.

The Nationals beat the Mets, 5-1, fanning 13 New York batters in the process. Washington hurlers set a ML mark with 31 strikeouts over the first 2 games of a season, breaking the previous mark of 28.

The Reds shut out the Cardinals, 1-0, after losing to them by the same score in the season opener. It is only the second time in ML history that teams traded 1-0 wins in the first 2 games of a season. The Braves and Cubs turned the trick in 1993.

After beating the Royals on opening day with a walkoff hit, the Tigers do it again, beating Kansas City, 2-1, in the 10thon Ian Kinsler’s 3rdhit of the game. It is the first time since 1901 that the Tigers have opened with two walkoff wins [the first win in the AL inaugural season used a record 10-run 9thfor the victory].

In Chicago, the White Sox beat the Twins, 7-6, with a walkoff run in the 11th. Avisail Garcia bunts safely to open the inning, then is balked to 2B and reaches 3B on a wild pitch.  After a strikeout, Abreu is intentionally walked and Dunn gets a ball 4 wild pitch, allowing Garcia to score.

4thThe Tigers defeat the Orioles, 10-4. Miguel Cabrera connects for 4 hits, including a HR which is the 2,000thhis of his ML career. At the age of 30 years and 351 days, he is the 7th-youngest player to reach the mark.

The Rockies trounce the Diamondbacks, 12-2, as Charlie Blackmon goes 6-for-6 including 3 doubles and a homer.  He will have two 5-hit games during the season.

At Citi Field, the Mets edge the Reds, 4-3, as Jay Bruce and Lucas Duda provide all the offense. The Reds score three runs on Bruce’s 2-run homerun and RBI single, while Duda hits a pair of 2-run homers off Mike Leake.  For the second game in a row, Billy Hamilton is thrown out by a Met backup catcher (Juan Centeno and Anthony Recker). Hamilton had started his career 13-for13 in steals.

5thThe Twins defeat the Indians, 7-3, to give manager Rod Gardenhire the 1,000thwin of his career.

6thThe Rangers shut out the Rays, 3-0, behind Yu Darvish. The Japanese ace strikes out the 500thbatter of his ML career in his 62ndgame. The only pitcher to reach that milestone sooner was Dwight Gooden to had 500 strikeouts in his 61stgame.

8thThe Brewers top the Phillies by a score of 10-4. Ryan Braun homers 3 times for Milwaukee and drives home 7 runs.

Slip sliding away. Sliding into 1B head first in a 5-3 loss to the Mariners, the Angels Josh Hamilton injures himself and will be out for 2 months. The Nationals Ryan Zimmerman will break his thumb later this week diving back to 2B on a pickoff attempt. And later this month, sliding into a base head first, Bryce Harper tears a ligament in thumb and will be sidelined till July.

9thThe Angels shut out the Mariners, 2-0, as Garrett Richards, Joe Smith and Ernesto Frieri combine on a 1-hitter. Abraham Almonte’s 3rdinning single is Seattle’s only safety.

10thThe White Sox defeat the Indians, 7-3, as Cuban rookie Jose Abreu hits a pair of homers. It is Abreu’s second 2-homer game of the season making him just the third player in ML history to have 2 multiple-HR games in his first 10 career games (Dino Restelli in 1949 and Mark Quinn in 1999.). White Sox starting P Danny Salazar strikes out 10 batters in his 3 2/3 innings of work, becoming the first pitcher in the modern era to fan 10 or more in less than 4 innings.

11thThe Padres shut out the Tigers, 6-0, as Andrew Cashner hurls a one-hitter. Rajai Davis’ 6th-inning single is Detroit’s only safety.

At AT&T Park, the Giants Madison Bumgarner is touched up for 4 runs in 6 innings but wields his bat for a 6-5 win over the Rockies.  Bumgarner belts a grand slam and drives in 5 runs. The big pitcher will hit over .200 for the first time and lead hitting pitchers in 4 categories: hits (17); home runs (4, including 2 grand slams); batting (.258), and slugging (.470).

Hermes, the upscale French leather goods manufacturer, introduces an expensive baseball glove and bat. The glove is made with gold swift calfskin and it takes 25 hours to stitch. The cost:  $14,100.  The company offers a matching bat for a mere $1,925.

13thThe Angels clobber the Mets, 14-2. Mike Trout, Albert Pujols and Raul Ibanez hit back-to-back-to-back round trippers  for LA in the 1stinning.

14thThe Pirates and Reds play to a 7-7 tie in a game suspended after 6 innings due to rain. The teams combine to hit 10 HRs in the contest, including 3 pair of back-to-back homers. Neil Walker and Gaby Sanchez do it twice.

The Braves defeat the Phillies, 9-6, on Dan Uggla’s 9thinning grand slam. Evan Gattis, Uggla and Andrelton Simmons connect for 3 consecutive homers in the 8thinning.

Jon Jay hits a 3-run homer and Lance Lynn strikes out 11 in 7 innings as the Cardinals bounce the Brewers, 4-0, ending Milwaukee’s 9-game winning streak.

16thThe Yankees shut out the Cubs twice, by scores of 3-0 in the rescheduled afternoon game and 2-0 at night. It is the first time a team has been shut out twice in one day since 1988. Masahiro Tanaka wins the first game, hurling 8 scoreless innings and allowing two bunt singles. He becomes the second pitcher since 1900 to debut with at least 25 strikeouts more than walks (28 to 2) in his first 3 ML games.

17thIn the first of two at Target Field, Kyle Gibson (3-0) throws 8 shutout innings as the Twins top the Blue Jays, 7-0. In game 2, the Twins score 6 runs in the bottom of the 8thinning and go on to defeat the Blue Jays, 9-5. The runs come with the benefit of only one hit, as Toronto pitchers walk 8 Minnesota batters. Sergio Santos faces 3 batters and walks all three and uncorks 3 run-scoring wild pitches in the frame. He is the first to do that in 100 years.

The Yankees use 9 extra base hits and a triple play to beat host Tampa Bay, 10-2. Yangervis Solarte has 3 hits, including his first ML homer to back CC Sabathia’s win.  The last two triple plays by the Yankees—April 22, 2010 and April 12, 2013—occurred with Sabathia on the mound.

18thPirates At PNC Park, the Brewers get some help from equipment malfunction to score a run and beat the Pirates, 5-3.  With a runner on 2B, Martin Maldonado literally rips the cover off a ball dribbling a grounder to Buc 3B Pedro Alvarado. His throw flutters to 1B and Maldonado beats it out for a hit.

The Pirates and Mets finalize a deal, with New York sending 1B Ike Davis to Pittsburgh for pitchers Zach Thornton and Blake Taylor. Taylor, a second round pick last year, signed a contract on June 14, 2013 and therefore could not be traded for a year. The Mets traded Davis, keeping Lucas Duda as their starting first sacker.

The Braves shut out the Mets, 6-0, as Aaron Harang hurls 7 hitless innings before being removed after throwing 121 pitches. David Wright’s 2-out single in the 8thinning off reliever Luis Avilan is New York’s only hit. Unrelated outfielders Chris and Eric Young Jr. start for the Mets while brothers Justin and B.J. Upton start in the OF for Atlanta. It is the first time since 1965 that opposing teams each start a pair of outfielders with the same last name. Matty and Jesus Alou of the Giants and Tommy and Willie Davis of the Dodgers did so on April 29, 1965.

For the second time in 3 games, Giancarlo Stanton drives in 5 runs as he belts a walkoff grand slam to give the Marlins an 8-4 win over Seattle. It is his third hit of the game to go along with 2 intentional walks.

The Diamondbacks defeat the Dodgers, 4-2, in 12 innings. P Zack Greinke allows a run in 6 innings for LA, giving him a streak of 16 consecutive starts in which he has given up no more than 2 runs in each. Only one other pitcher to debut since 1900 has allowed 2 or fewer runs in 16 consecutive starts—Ferdie Schupp (1916-17).

At Tropicana, Tampa Bay scores 8 runs in the 7thand 8thto beat the Yankees, 11-5. Yankee reliever Cesar Cabral puts his name in the record books when he comes in with 2 outs and the bases empty in the 8th. A single, wild pitch and single scores a run; two HBP’s are followed by a 2-run single and in his final pitch. The last pitcher to allow 3 runs, hit 3 batters without recording an out was Earl Moore, in the Federal League in 1914.  Cabral is sent down after the game.

19th Max Scherzer wins his first of the year, striking out 9 in 7 innings, including Mike Trout 3 times. Trout gets fitted for a golden sombrero as he is called out on strikes in the 9th. The Tigers beat the Angels, 5-2.

Tampa Bay connects for 4 homeruns off Yankee starter Ivan Nova in a 16-1 thrashing of the Yankees. Nova is quickly lifted in the 5thafter wincing when throwing a fastball.  He is out for the year and will undergo Tommy John surgery.

Lance Lynn wins his 4thstraight and the Cards score 3 unearned runs to edge the Nationals, 4-3. Bryce Harper is lifted for what manager Matt Williams calls a lack of effort after he failed to run out a comebacker in the 6thinning.

21stAided by Ike Davis’ grand slam, the Pirates edge the Reds, 6-5. Davis hit another grand slam against the Reds while with the Mets, and he becomes the first player in history to hit slams for 2 teams in the same season before the end of April. He is also just the third player to hit slams for 2 different teams against the same opponent in the same season, joining Ray Boone (1953) and Mike Piazza (1998).

The Cubs defeat the Diamondbacks, 5-1, as winning P Travis Wood also hits a HR. He becomes just the second pitcher since the introduction of the DH to hit homers in each of his first 5 ML seasons. Dontrelle Willis (2003-07) also accomplished the feat.

22nd  The Angels defeat the Nationals, 7-2, as Albert Pujols hits a pair of HRs. The 2ndone is the 500thof his ML career, making him the 26thplayer—and third-youngest—to reach the level.

The Marlins edge the Braves, 1-0, as Jose Fernandez bests Alex Wood. Wood is the first pitcher in 34 years to pitch back-to-back games of 8 or more innings and allow one run in each and lose both. Pitchers on the two teams combine to fan 28 batters without issuing a single walk. It is the most strikeouts without a walk being issued in any ML game.

23rd   Swish. The Braves defeat the Marlins, 3-1, as the two teams continue to strike out at a record rate. They combine to set a modern NL record with 78 strikeouts over their 3-game series. The previous mark was 77 Ks by the Cubs and Astros in 2003.

Cardinals P Michael Wacha fans 10 Mets in 4 innings, but is the losing pitcher in St. Louis’ 3-2 loss to the Mets. He becomes just the 3rdstarting pitcher to strikeout 10 or more batters over 4 or fewer innings pitched, joining Danny Salazar (April 10) and Felix Hernandez (September 22, 2003).

With 2 outs, the Diamondbacks score 5 runs in the 9thinning to defeat the Cubs, 7-5, on the 100thanniversary of the first game played at Wrigley Field. Mark Trumbo hits his 7thhomer to tie for the NL lead but after the game will be diagnosed with a stress fracture in his foot and will miss three months of action.

Blow out the candles. At Tropicana, Twins infielder Chris Colabello drives in 2 runs in the 12thas the Twins defeat Tampa Bay, 6-4. In the 4thinning Colabello hits a 2-run homer while his mother is being interviewed on television.  It is her birthday.

Maybe it is hair gel? The Red Sox beat the Yankees, 5-1, as New York starting P Michael Pineda is ejected in the 2ndinning for having pine tar on his neck and will be handed a 10-game suspension. He had done the same thing in his last start against Boston without being called on it.

Hector Sanchez belts an 11thinning grand slam, his second homer of the game, at Denver as the Giants outlast the Rockies, 12-10. Michael Morse adds 2 homers and drives in 4 for San Francisco.

Not bad. The Pirates struggling Travis Ishikawa, the opening day first baseman, refuses an outright assignment to AAA Indianapolis and is granted free agency.  He will sign with the Giants in 3 days.

24thShades of Wakefield.  At Fenway, the Yankees beat up on the Red Sox to win, 14-5. Brett Gardner goes 0-for3, but scores 4 runs. In a bid for the closer’s job, Sox outfielder Mike Carp mops up in the 9thgiving up one run on no hits, but walking 5. The knuckleballer reflects, “Nobody hit the ball hard, so I feel like I did my job.” It is his only outing of the year.

25thRookie Jose Abreu belts a walk-off grand slam in the bottom of the 9th to beat the Rays, 9-6, in four hours, four minutes. It is his second homer of the game, and the second walkoff homer in April by a rookie (Ron Lolich in 1973). Abreu sets a ML rookie record with his 10thhomer in April and 32 RBIs. He will have 19 extra base hits to end the month with a slugging average of.617.

26thHey, Skip, it’s a no hitter! Even though he doesn’t give up a hit, Blue Jays starter Brandon Morrow is pulled after he walks 8 of the 14 Red Sox batters he faced. He allows 4 runs in 2 2/3 innings and takes the loss as the Jays fall to Boston, 7-6. Jose Bautista has a homer against Sox closer Koji Uehara, the first dinger the closer has allowed since June 30, 2013 when he gave up one to, yes, Jose Bautista.

Omar Infante drives in the first 6 runs for Kansas City on a ground out, sac fly, double and homerun as the Royals drop the Orioles, 9-3.  The first run scores after Adam Jones drops a fly ball for a 3-base error. The error snaps his streak of 142 straight errorless games.

29thLove that home cooking. At Marlins Park, the Fish gaff the Braves, 9-0, behind 8 shutout innings by Jose Fernandez. Last year’s rookie of the year allows 2 hits as he goes 12-0 at home. On the road he is 4-8.  Three other pitchers began their careers with better home records: Lamarr Hoyt (16 wins); Johnny Allen (13); David Palmer (13).

Tyler Chatwood loads the bases with no outs in the 6thbefore Chris Martin replaces him and retires the D’backs on no runs in the Rockies 5-4 win. Drew Stubbs homers in the top of the 9thfor the tie breaker. Chatwood suffers a torn UCL that will require his second Tommy John operation and he will miss the rest of 2014 and all of 2015.

30thThe Dodgers defeat the Twins, 6-4, behind Zack Greinke. It is the 10,000thwin in franchise history for the Dodgers.