1997 July

2ndAt Three Rivers, Jason Schmidt allows 5 hits in 9 innings as the Pirates beat the White Sox, 3-1. Sox rookie Mario Valdez strikes out as a pinch hitter in the 8thand then stays in the game as a left-handed third baseman.

4th Giants’ P Shawn Estes holds the Rockies to one hit in 8 2/3 innings as SF shuts out Colorado, 4-0. Quinton McCracken’s single is Colorado’s only hit as Estes fans 11 and walks only 2. Rod Beck comes in to record the last out.

5th The Expos retire Andre Dawson’s uniform No. 10 prior to the game with Atlanta. Once the festivities are over, the Braves defeat Montreal, 5-3, with Chipper Jones’ 3rd-inning grand slam the big blow.

6th  At Anaheim, Chuck Finley allows 4 hits  and strikes out 13 to lead the Angels to an 8–0 shut out over the Mariners. Dave Hollins fourth inning grand slam is the big blow, while Darin Erstad also homers, the first by a lefty off Jeff Fassero (8-5) in over three years. Tim Salmon also hits a solo homer in the third, his third in three games. Fassero left the game earlier in the 3rd inning after spraining his right ankle fielding Craig Grebeck’s bunt single.

Roger Clemens becomes the American League’s first 13-game winner, pitching a four-hitter as the Toronto Blue Jays beat the New York Yankees, 2–0. Clemens  has 10 strikeouts and one walk in his first shutout of the year. Ramiro Mendoza takes the loss.

In Detroit, the Tigers top the Orioles, 14–9, their 3rd straight win after 11 consecutive losses. Brian Johnson and Travis Fryman homer for the Tigers while teammate Bobby Higginson adds a two-run inside-the-park homer, his fifth round tripper this week. For Scott Erickson (11-4) it is the worst start of his career for Baltimore, allowing all 12 runs, 11 earned, and 10 hits in 4 1-3 innings. Willie Blair (6-4) takes the win in relief. The O’s are led by Rafael Palmeiro’s homer, triple and single and homers by Geronimo Berroa, Jeff Reboulet and Tony Tarasco.

After Manny Ramirez hits his 2ndgrand slam in 3 weeks, connecting in the 3rdoff Tim Belcher, Kansas City scores 7 in the 4th.  Cleveland pushes across a run in the 8thto win, 8-7.

Vet catcher Mickey Tettleton announces his retirement.  He was on the Ranger DL for more than 2 months.

8th  The American League defeats the National by a score of 3-1 in the annual All-Star Game, played in Cleveland. Indians’ C Sandy Alomar hits a 2-run HR and is named the game’s Most Valuable Player. Alomar is the 1st hometown player to homer since Hank Aaron in Atlanta in 1972.

Baseball’s realignment committee discusses a variety of plans including one that would have as many as 14 teams changing divisions and leagues next year. Kansas City would switch to the National League, and baseball’s eight Pacific and Mountain time zone teams could be grouped together if the sport switches back from six divisions to four in 1997. With the addition of Arizona to the NL next season and Tampa Bay to the AL, baseball’s current plan calls for two 15-team leagues in 1998 with three divisions in each. The Major Leagues have till August 1st to present next year’s schedule to the players’ association

9th  Bob Boone is fired as Royals’ manager and replaced by Tony Muser.

10th  Hideki Irabu strikes out 9 batters and gets the win in his major league debut as the Yankees defeat the Tigers, 10-3. Irabu receives a curtain call from the 51,901 fans.  Irabu goes 6 2/3 innings and pitches with 30 small magnets taped to his right arm to improve circulation.

12th  In Pittsburgh’s 1st non-Opening Day sellout since 1977, a crowd of 44,119 sees Francisco Cordova and Ricardo Rincon combine on a 10-inning no-hitter as the Pirates down the Astros, 3-0, on a 10th-inning pinch HR by Mark Smith. Cordova hurls the 1st 9 innings while Rincon hurls the 10th and gets the win. The victory keeps the Pirates in a tie for 1st place with the Astros in the NL Central.

The Blue Jays defeat the Red Sox, 3-1, as Roger Clemens fans 16 of his former teammates in 8 innings of work. Boston pitchers K 13 Seattle batters as the total of 29 strike outs falls one short of the major league mark for two teams in a single game.

13th  Making his ML debut, Dennys Reyes, the first lefty in nearly five years to start a game for the Dodgers, throws 6 strong innings in beating the Giants, 9–3. The last lefty starter for L.A. was Bob Ojeda, on September 24th, 1992, in a no-decision at Cincinnati. Reyes gives up a single to leadoff batter Daryl Hamilton, then picks him off.  Shawn Estes (12-3) takes the loss.

The Marlins use an 8-run 4th inning to wallop the Phillies, 9–3. Gary Sheffield is the main man with two homers in the inning, hitting a solo shot and a 3-run homer, before leaving with a pulled hamstring.

The Cardinals shrug off pinch homers by Hernandez and Orie to down the host Cubs, 11-5. The Cardinals swat 20 hits, including 4 homers.

With the temperature at 100 degrees, Pedro Martinez fires a one-hit shutout to beat the Reds, 2–0. The Expos’ ace gives up a single to Bret Boone in the 5th for the only hit.  Mike Lansing triples twice for the Expos before leaving in the 5th inning with exhaustion.

Seattle and Texas combine for a record 31 strikeouts in the Rangers’ 4–2 victory.  Randy Johnson racks up 14 K’s in 7 innings, and reliever Bobby Ayala adds 4, but gives up 2 runs in the 9th. The previous mark was 30 set by the Mariners and Athletics on April 30, 1986.

14th  At Fenway, Wil Cordero, homers as the Boston Red Sox collects a season-high 21 hits to rout the Detroit Tigers, 18-4. Cordero is cheered after hitting a two-run homer in the seventh. Cordero, accused of assaulting his wife June 11, has been booed on each of his previous 14 at-bats since he ended 11 games on the sidelines with a pinch-hit appearance last Thursday.

In the Padres’ 5–3 win over the Giants, Tony Gwynn raises his average to .402 with a single, double and triple, driving in three runs, and extending his hitting streak to 19 games. Rickey Henderson, baseball’s career steals leader, swipes his 1,200th base in the sixth.

In the longest night game at Wrigley Field—5 hours, 19 minutes—Ricky Gutierrez singles home the go-ahead run in the 15th to give the Astros a 9–7 win over the Cubs.

Eric Karros’ two-run homer off Steve Reed in the 10th gives the Dodgers a 14–12 slugfest win over the Rockies. Los Angeles has a season-high 22 hits, in winning its 10th of 11, while the Rockies lose for the 10th time in 11 games.

Atlanta hits two grand slams in a game for the first time since May 2, 1987, using homers by Tim Spehr and Ryan Klesko to rally from a 6-0 deficit for its eighth straight victory over Philadelphia this season. The Braves win, 10–6.

Cuba withdraws at the last minute from a series of baseball games against the United States, citing fears for the safety of players. One reason stated for the cancellation was the weekend bombing of two Havana hotels. The eight-game series was to start tomorrow.

15th  Despite a sluggish performance, Hideki Irabu wins his second major league start, leading the Yankees over Cleveland, 12-6. Irabu gives up five runs and nine hits in five innings, allowing homers to Tony Fernandez, Marquis Grissom, and Matt Williams. Cecil Fielder, the Yank’s 270-pound DH, tries to score from first on a double and his head first slide results in a broken right thumb. Fielder will miss eight weeks.

In Cincinnati, Ray Lankford hits two upper-deck homers—a first for Cinergy Field—to lead the Cards to a 7–4 win over the Reds.

Visiting San Francisco scores 13 runs in the 7th inning to coast to a 16–2 win over the Padres. The Giants send 19 men to the plate in the 7th and face 80 pitches in the 52-minute inning. They score seven runs before J.T. Snow grounds out for the first out. Five Giants score two runs each, including starting pitcher Kirk Rueter (6-4). The only player not to score is Snow, who Ks with the bases loaded for the second out. Stan Javier goes to bat 3 times.

The Royals trade OF Jon Nunnally and IF-OF Chris Stynes to the Reds for pitchers Hector Carrasco and Scott Service.

The Expos announce the retirement of all-time saves leader Lee Smith.

16th  Kevin Brown tosses his first career one-hitter, leading Florida over Los Angeles, 5-1. Brown, who no-hit San Francisco on June 10, faces just two batters over the minimum, allowing a lead-off single to left by Raul Mondesi in the fifth. He strikes out 8 and retires his final 15 batters to hand the loss to Hideo Nomo

At Shea, RF Sammy Sosa’s running catch with the bases loaded in the seventh, and catcher Scott Servais’s pickoff in the eighth, key Chicago to a 6–5 win over the Mets. Before the game, New York reassigns general manager Joe McIlvaine and replaces him with his assistant, Steve Phillips,

In Oakland, Mark McGwire hits his 33rd and 34th homers to lead the A’s to an 11–3 win over the hapless Royals. Jose Canseco strikes out in all five at-bats for the Athletics, tying an Oakland record. Combined with his three strikeouts on Monday, he ties a major league record with eight whiffs in two consecutive games.

18thThe Mariners, seeking pitching help, trade Scott Sanders (3–6) and two minor leaguers (pitcher Dean Crow and 3B Carlos Villalobos) to the Detroit Tigers on Friday for righthanders Omar Olivares (5–6) and Felipe Lira (5–7). Piniella practically begged for a trade after the M’s lost to Minnesota 9-7 in 12 innings, cutting Seattle’s lead to over Anaheim in the AL West to one-half game.

19th  The Cubs sweep two from the visiting Rockies, 7–0 and 6–5, to hand Colorado its 15th loss in 16 games.  Steve Trachsel tosses 7 shut out innings in the opener for the win, and the Cubs score the winning run in the nightcap on Mark Grace’s sac fly. The Rocks have 13 hits in the nightcap, but strand 14 runners. Larry Walker is 0-for-9 for the afternoon, dropping his average 10 points to .392.

20th  OF Luis Gonzalez bashes a double and 2 HRs, and drives in 6, as he leads Houston to a 9-0 white-washing of the Expos. The victory moves Houston 2 games ahead of Pittsburgh in the NL Central.

The Marlins trade OF Billy McMillon to the Phillies in exchange for veteran Darren Daulton.

21st  Wilson Alvarez strikes out 4 Detroit batters in the 7th inning, with Phil Nevin fanning on a wild pitch, in leading the White Sox to a 3–0 win over Detroit. Alvarez is the first White Sox pitcher and 28th player to strike out four batters in an inning.

Phillies ace Curt Schilling fans 15 in 8 innings, the most in the NL this season, but loses 3–2 to the visiting Pirates. Home runs by Al Martin and Kevin Polcovich are the difference. Polcovich homers in the seventh after he missing a suicide-squeeze bunt, resulting in a Buc’ runner being tagged out.  Before the game, the Phillies trade veteran Darren Daulton to Florida for outfielder Billy McMillon.

At Miami, Wally Joyner is 3-for-4 with two walks, to lead the Padres to a 10–2 gaffing of the Florida Marlins.  Joyner singles, doubles, triples, scores twice, and swipes two bases, including home on the back end of a double steal. The Marlins finally turn to John Cangelosi, who becomes the first position player to pitch for the Marlins. The outfielder walks one in a scoreless ninth inning and retires Joyner on a fly ball.  Cangelosi also pitched two scoreless innings for Pittsburgh against Los Angeles in 1988 and one scoreless inning for Houston against Chicago in 1995. Tony Gwynn is 1-for-5 and finishes the four-game series 2-for-17, dropping his average to .385.

Henry Rodriguez, in a 7-for-76 slump, bangs a two-out, ninth-inning grand slam, off Darren Holmes, as the Montreal Expos beat the visiting Rockies, 8–4. For Colorado, it is their 16th loss in its last 18 games.

Angels pitcher Rich DeLucia has surgery to remove an aneurysm in his right shoulder and is expected to be out for the season.

Four days after the birth of his second child, Yankees’ OF Mark Whiten is arrested in Milwaukee and charged with second-degree sexual assault of a 31-year-old woman.

22nd  Greg Maddux parcels out just 78 pitches as the Atlanta Braves defeat the Chicago Cubs 4-1 in the opener of a doubleheader Tuesday. It is the lowest pitch total for a 9-inning complete game since Bob Tewksbury threw 76 for the Cardinals against the Reds on August 29, 1990. Chicago takes the second game 5-4.

In Montreal, Vinny Castilla has 5 hits, including two home runs, as the Rockies outslug the Expos, 11–9. Castilla’s two-run shot off Dave Veres with two outs in the 12th gives Colorado just its third win in 19 games.

The Cincinnati Reds release veteran IF Terry Pendleton, who was signed as a free agent during the off season.

Major League baseball names Toronto exec Paul Beeson as its first president and CEO. The 52-year-old Canadian has been president of the Toronto club since 1991.

24thBrad Radke (13-5, 3.68 ERA) allows the Athletics just five hits Sunday, striking out 10 and walking no one in a 1-0 victory. That was the gem of what has been a masterful stretch. Radke is tied for second in the American League in wins (Clemens has 16) and his 149 1/3 innings are sixth most in the league.

25th  The Royals acquire 3B Dean Palmer, a free agent at the end of the season, from the Rangers in exchange for OF Tom Goodwin.

The Reds name Jack McKeon as their manager, replacing Ray Knight.

27th  The Braves defeat the Reds, 3-2, in Cincinnati, as the temperature on Cincinnati’s artificial surface reaches 152 degrees. The official temperature at game time is 94.

In the first of 2, Giants pinch runner Shawn Estes scores in the 13th on a wild pitch and the Giants win, 6-5.  In the nightcap, Kevin Young hits his 2nd two-run homer of the game in the 9th as the Bucs score 5, then they hold on as the Giants hit 3 homers and score 6 runs. Pittsburgh wins, 10-7, as the two teams combine for a record-tying 5 homers in the 9th.

The Tigers retire Hal Newhouser’s uniform #16. Newhouser pitched 15 seasons for the Bengals and is the only pitcher to win back to back MVP awards, in 1944 and 1945. Following the festivities, the Tigers lose to Milwaukee, 11-7, as the Brewers come up with 5 runs in the 9th inning.

The Rockies acquire P Mark Hutton from the Marlins in exchange for IF Craig Counsell.

28th  In the 1st game of a doubleheader, Milwaukee P Steve Woodard, recalled just that morning, hurls 8 innings of 1-hit ball to defeat the Blue Jays, 1-0. Mike Fetters tosses a hitless 9th for the Brewers. Toronto’s only hit is a double by CF Otis Nixon.

29thThe Rangers ship Ken Hill, 16–10 last year, to the Angels for C Jim Leyritz and a player to be named. Hill struggled to a 5–8 record this season. Leyritz is insurance in case the Rangers can’t sign Ivan Rodriguez, but they will ink Pudge in 2 days to a 5-year deal worth $42 million.

The Blue Jays pick up veteran Mariano Duncan from the Yankees for cash and a minor leaguer.

The Orioles purchase veteran Harold Baines from the White Sox. Baines is hitting .305 for Chicago.

The Mariners and Randy Johnson knuckle under to Tim Wakefield and the Red Sox, 4–0. Mo Vaughn’s 2-run homer is the big blow for Boston. July 29, 1997: Jay Buhner leaps and falls over the 5-foot wall in right field at Fenway Park snagging a ball hit by Scott Hatteberg. He lands in the Red Sox bullpen. “It was the kind of play outfielders always dream about,” Buhner said.

Pedro Martinez strikes out 13 Rockies, including Andres Galarraga 4 times, in Montreal’s, 3–0 win. Martinez gives up just 3 hits in going all the way.

30th  David Wells fires a 3-hitter as the Yankees beat the Royals, 7–0. Tino Martinez hits his 36th homer and Luis Sojo has 4 hits.

At Boston, the Red Sox beat the Mariners, 8–7, in 10 innings. Steve Avery grounds out as a pinch hitter in the 10th, the first Sox pitcher to hit since Tim Lollar in 1986.

31st  The White Sox jump out to a 9-0 lead over the Angels in the second inning, then hold on to record a 14-12 victory. Rookie Mike Cameron leads Chicago with 5 RBIs, while Todd Greene gets 4 hits and drives home 6 runs for Anaheim in a losing cause.

Baseball’s premier power hitter, Mark McGwire, leaves the A’s for the St. Louis Cardinals, who send three pitchers to Anaheim. McGwire’s five-year $28 million contract runs out at the end of this year and Anaheim fears they will not be able to sign him. The A’s receive minor leaguers Eric Ludwick and Blake Stein, along with T.J. Mathews (4–4).

How do you spell relief? In a fine move for Boston, the Red Sox send reliever Heathcliff Slocumb to the Mariners for minor leaguers Jason Varitek and Derek Lowe. Slocumb will not last a season in Seattle, while Varitek and Lowe will become key members of the 1999 Sox. The Mariner’s also ship budding star Jose Cruz, Jr. to Toronto for relievers Mike Timlin and Paul Spoljaric.

The San Francisco Giants receive starting pitchers Wilson Alvarez and Danny Darwin, along with top reliever Roberto Hernandez from the Chicago White Sox. The White Sox, just 3 1/2 games behind Cleveland in the AL Central, receive minor league SS Mike Caruso, OF Brian Manning, and pitchers Lorenzo Barcelo, Keith Foulke, Bob Howry, and Ken Vining. In the house cleaning, the Sox have moved 8 players with a combined 92 years of ML experience. Sox 3B Robin Ventura observes, “We didn’t realize August first was the end of the season.”

In a swap of the infirmed, the Indians send pitchers Scott Winchester, Danny Graves, Mike Crowell and INF Damien Jackson to the Reds for veteran P John Smiley (9–10 in 1997) and infielder Jeff Branson.  The 3 new Reds pitchers all have had rotator cuff surgery; Smiley is out the year with a broken arm; and Jackson has had knee surgery.

Minutes before the midnight trading deadline, the Tribe adds P Jeff Juden, sending P Steve Kline to the Expos.

In a South Atlantic League game at Hickory, pitcher Jason Lakman has 16 strikeouts in 7 innings, including 7 in a row and 5 in the fifth inning. Augusta beats Hickory, 4–0.