1971 May

1st  Against the Red Sox, starter Minnesota Jim Perry serves up home run balls to the first two batters, Luis Aparicio and Reggie Smith. This hasn’t happened in the AL since 1962, when Perry was on the mound for Cleveland against the Twins. Perry shakes off his start to win, 7–3, collecting 3 hits and scoring 3 runs himself.

2nd  Sam McDowell is suddenly knocked out in the 1st inning at Oakland and charged with the 8–5 loss. Sam gives up 5 runs, 3 on a homer by Reggie Jackson. But McDowell comes back in game 2 to win in relief, 7–3, in 10 innings. Ted Ford’s 3-run homer is the big blow.

3rd  The Toei Flyers set a Japan League record of 5 HRs in one inning, tying the American record held by several teams, most recently the Minnesota Twins in 1966. The record will be tied in 1977 and 1980, and finally broken in 1986.

6th  Commissioner Bowie Kuhn signs ML baseball to a $72 million television contract with NBC.

8th  At Philadelphia, Joe Morgan has 4 hits steals 2 bases, and scores 3 runs to lead Houston to an 8–1 win over the Phils.  Winning P Don Wilson knocks in 2 runs with a bunt double that rolls past SS Larry Bowa, who is breaking for 3B.

The A’s trade 1B Don Mincher, P Paul Lindblad, C Frank Fernandez, and cash to the Senators for 1B Mike Epstein and P Darold Knowles.  The Nats will sell Fernandez back to the A’s in late June, and  the A’s will trade Frank to the Cubs.

The Reds trade Kurt Bevacqua upstate to the Indians for OF Buddy Bradford.

9th  At San Francisco, the Braves and Giants split a pair. After the Giants win the opener, 5–2, the Braves take the nightcap, 6–5, in 11 innings. Orlando Cepeda connects for a grand slam and solo homer for Atlanta, while McCovey has a 3-run HR for SF. The Braves win it in the 10th when Ralph Garr scores after collecting his 4th hit.

10th  At New York, Ken Harrelson’s 2-run single in the 7th beats Houston and Wade Blasingame, 2–1.  It is Blasingame’s first loss to the Mets after 9 wins.

11th  Indian pitcher Steve Dunning connects for a grand slam, but doesn’t get the win, as Cleveland beats the A’s 7–5.  Dunning, who came straight to the majors from Stanford, hits the last grand slam this century by an AL pitcher.

At Shea, Nolan Ryan (4-0) allows 3 hits, strikes out 8 and walks 7 as the Mets down the Astros, 8-1. Dave Marshall has a grand slam in the Mets 5-run 6th.

13thThe Reds swap OF Angel Bravo to the Padres for OF Al Ferrara, who (as noted by Reds historians Greg Rhodes and John Snyder) once played solo piano at Carnegie Hall at age 12. After Ferrara hits .182 for the season, he’ll pose the question: “what did you expect for Angel Bravo—Willie Mays?”

14th  Syracuse blows its 11–1 lead in an International League game as Winnipeg gets 9 HRs to tie the game at 13. Syracuse finally wins 15–13 in the 12th inning.

After pitching 7 straight complete-game victories, Vida Blue leaves in the 7th, losing 2–0 to the Royals. The A’s rally for 5 runs in the 9th on 2 hits to win, 5–2. The 2 teams combine for 9 double plays, tying the AL mark.  The A’s 6 DPs is one short of the record.

15thFergie Jenkins (7–2) pitches and bats the Cubs to a 6–4 win over San Diego. Jenkins hits a 2-run HR and finishes his 7th game in 8 starts.  Billy Williams connects for his 300th HR.

16thDoug Rader connects for a grand slam and a 2-run double to tie the Astros club franchise record of 6 RBIs. The Astros outhit the Cards 17–16 and outscore them 12–4. St. Louis strands 10.

17th  The Red Sox sign P Luis Tiant, who had been released by the Twins and Braves during the preceding 5 weeks, and assign him to Louisville. He will put together three 20-win seasons for the Red Sox in 5 years.

Atlanta’s Ralph Garr homers in the 10th and 12th innings of a game against the Mets, tying a ML record for most HRs in extra innings. He’s just the 4th to do it and the 2nd NLer. Art Shamsky last did it, in 1966. The Braves win 4–3.

Washington OF Tom McCraw “slugs” a 140-foot HR against the Cleveland Indians. SS Jack Heidemann, CF Vada Pinson, and LF John Lowenstein collide on his short pop fly to left center, and McCraw circles the bases before the ball is retrieved.

18th  Jose Cardenal singles in the 9th to give the Cards a 6–5 win over the Dodgers. Cardenal, playing RF, also nabs Don Sutton in the 3rd inning on a 9–3 putout.

19th  Clete Boyer and Mike Lum hit 2 homers apiece to lead the Braves to a 10–4 win over the Expos. After Boyer homers in the 3rd, Lum follows with a solo shot. The red hot Boyer now has 5 homers in 5 games and 6 for the year,but this is his last ML homer.

Jim Palmer allows just 4 hits in the Orioles 4-1 victory over the Senators. Mike Thompson, in his ML debut, gives up just one hit, to Palmer, in 7 innings but allows 2 runs (one earned) and takes the loss. No one the rest of the century (not till 2011) will debut allowing one hit in 5+ innings and lose.

22nd  At the Astrodome, John Mayberry drives in the winning run in the bottom of the 12th to give Houston a 2-1 victory over San Francisco. Catcher John Edwards scores the first run in the 3rd inning on a straight steal of home.

23rd  With 53,337 on hand Mickey Lolich and Les Cain, with 3 innings from Joe Niekro, notch shutouts as the Tigers sweep a doubleheader from the Senators 5–0 and 11–0. The loser in the opener is Denny McLain, making his first appearance in Detroit since being traded. Kaline and Cash each hit 2-run homers off Denny, with Cash adding another pair, one with the sacks full, in the nightcap.

24th  In Philadelphia, the Reds Gary Nolan loses a one hitter to the Phils, 2–1. The only hit is Denny Doyle’s 2-run homer in the 2nd inning.

26thThe Padres Al “Iron Man” Santorini starts both ends of a doubleheader against the Astros. Santorini, facing a lineup of 7 lefties, retires one batter before manager Preston Gomez lifts him for lefty Roberts.  It almost works, but Houston scores a run in the 9th to win, 2–1. In the nightcap, Santorini gives up 2 earned runs in 6 innings, but the Padres manage only one hit—a 2-out single in the 7th by Brown—off Larry Dierker. The Astros win, 8–0. Santorini is the first pitcher since 1950 to start 2 games in one day.

The Yankees swap 27-year-old Curt Blefary to Oakland for pitchers Darrell Osteen and Rob Gardner. Gardner had been traded to the A’s by New York last month.

Chicago’s Wilbur Wood stops Kansas City, 7-2, as Wally Bunker pitches a scoreless 9th for the Royals.  It is the last appearance for the former phenom and Rookie of the Year, finished at age 26 with shoulder problems.

28th  The Braves Clete Boyer, involved in a dispute with owner Paul Richards and manager Lum Harris over alleged silly rules and mismanagement, gets his release and retires (he’ll later play in Japan). Boyer had hit safely in the last 9 games of his career, including 5 HRs and 14 RBIs.

At Riverfront Stadium, Don Gullett (10 IP) and Clay Carroll combine to beat the Astros, 1–0, in 13 innings. Lee May hits a single to drive in the game-winner.

29th  The Mets feature firepower as Nolan Ryan and Tom Seaver combine to strike out 26, tying Mets own ML record (Sept. 9, 1970) in a sweep of the Padres. Seaver wins the opener, 5–1, with 10 K’s and Ryan cops the nightcap, 2–1. Mets batters strike out 15 times: the 41 strikeouts ties the ML record.

In a great trade for Cincinnati, the Giants ship OF George Foster to the Reds for SS Frank Duffy and P Vern Geishert.

30th  Willie Mays hits his 638th career HR for the Giants, adding in the process his NL record 1,950th run scored. Stan Musial had been the record holder with 1,949 runs. The Giants beat Montreal, 5–4.

Willie Stargell clocks a Ken Holtzman pitch deep into the right field upper deck at Three Rivers Stadium, one of four he will park there, and the Corsairs coast to a 10–0 romp over the Cubs. Bob Moose is the victor over Ken Holtzman.

31st  The Giants beat the Mets 2–1 in 11 innings to raise their record to 37-14 and open a 10 1⁄2 game lead over the 2nd-place Dodgers.

     Don Sutton allows 3 hits over 7+ innings as the Dodgers shut out the Expos, 4-0.  Sutton induces Ron Hunt to ground into a 6th inning double play, the only DP the speedy infielder will hit into this season.

The Cards nip the Braves, 3–2, but Lou Brock goes hitless, ending his consecutive-game hitting streak at 26.