1981 May

1st  Frank White’s 4th-inning sacrifice fly off Steve Comer ends the Rangers’ consecutive-scoreless-inning streak at 39, and Kansas City goes on to a 4–0 win. Texas pitchers had tossed 4 consecutive shutouts, one shy of the AL record.

3rd  The Blue Jays end a 19-game losing streak at Memorial Stadium, beating the Orioles 4–2. It is their first win in Baltimore since July, 1978.

      At Montreal, the Dodgers score 5 times in the 10th to beat the Expos, 6-1.  The win goes to Fernando Valenzuela (6-0) who pitches the first 9 innings, allowing a run in the 8th.  It stops his consecutive scoreless inning streak at 36.

4th  Yankee reliever Ron Davis strikes out the last 8 batters of the game in a 4–2 win over the Angels, tying Nolan Ryan’s AL record (done twice) for consecutive strikeouts and setting a new record for consecutive strikeouts by a reliever.

      In the battle of the Cruz brothers, Astro Jose Cruz launches a 3-run missile in the 1st inning of Chicago’s Mike Krukow, while brother Hector answers with a solo shot off Joaquin Andujar in the 6th inning.  The Astros edge the Cubs 5–4.

6th  Mariners manager Maury Wills is fired and replaced by Rene Lachemann. Seattle was 6-18, the worst start in the club’s 5-year history. In Lachemann’s first game, Seattle pounds Milwaukee 12–1 and pitcher Mike Parrott snaps his personal 18-game losing streak, one shy of the AL record.

      Cleveland’s Bert Blyleven holds Toronto hitless for 8 innings before Lloyd Moseby doubles to lead off the 9th, and Blyleven settles for a 4–1 two-hitter.

8th  Oakland’s Steve McCatty beats the Brewers, 2–0. Dwayne Murphy supplies a solo HR and Dave McKay swipes home for the other score. McKay also stole home last September.

      In Montreal, the Giants shade the Expos, 4-3, despite 4 stolen bases by Tim Raines.

9th  Tom Paciorek hits his 2nd game-winning, bottom-of-the-9th HR in as many games, a 3-run blow giving the Mariners a 6–5 win over the Yankees. The previous night, Paciorek led off the 9th with a solo homer to give Seattle a 3–2 win over the Yankees.

      Batting leadoff, Bill North hits a grand slam and drives in 6 runs as the Giants beat the visiting Expos, 8-2. Vida Blue (3-2) is the winner.

      Oakland scores 2 runs in the bottom of the 12th, plating the winner on a wild pitch by Randy Lerch, to edge the Brewers, 6-5. Gorman Thomas has 4 hits for the Brewers, including a pair of homers, while Dave Revering and Mike Heath collect 4 hits each for the A’s. Tony Armas strikes out 5 times for Oakland.

10th  Montreal’s Charlie Lea, a native of France, no-hits the Giants 4–0, walking 4 and striking out 8 in the 2nd game of a doubleheader. It is the first no-hitter at Olympic Stadium, which opened for baseball in 1977.

11th  Boston’s Rick Miller goes 5-for-5 with a ML-record-tying 4 doubles in a 7–6 win over Toronto.

13th  At Comiskey Park, Jorge Orta hits a solo homer in the top of the 16th as the Indians down the White Sox, 4-3. Joe Charbonneau has 4 hits, including a double and triple.

14th  The largest Dodger Stadium crowd in 7 years (53,906) watches Fernando Valenzuela run his record to 8-0 with a 3–2 win over the Expos.

15th  The Indians Len Barker pitches the 9th perfect game in 20th century ML history 3–0 over the Blue Jays before just 7,290 fans on a rainy night in Cleveland. Last year’s AL strikeout leader, Barker fans 11.

16th  Houston’s Craig Reynolds ties the modern ML record with 3 triples in a 6–1 win over the Cubs. He will lead the NL with 12.

17th  Despite amassing 17 hits, including Carney Lansford’s 5-for-5, the Red Sox fall to Kansas City, 5-4.

18th  Fernando Valenzuela finally loses, 4–0, to the Phillies. His ERA “rises” to 0.90. Fernando allows just 3 hits in 7 innings, one a home run to Schmidt. Marty Bystrom is the winning pitcher.

19th  Pirates Jim Bibby throws a near no-hitter, giving up a leadoff single to the Braves Terry Harper in the first inning, then retiring the next 27 batters for a one-hit 5–0 victory.

      In a barn burner at Busch, the Cardinals spot the Astros a 7-2 lead through 4 innings, then roar back to win, 15-12. The Birds get 3 hits and 4 RBIs from their first two hitters, Garry Templeton and Tony Scott, as they amass 18 hits, 2 more than the Astros. Catcher Luis Pujols as 2 RBIs, a triple and a front-end steal of home for Houston. It is his only ML steal.

20th  At Wrigley, Reds reliever Doug Bair does it himself, hitting a 3-run homer in the 9th inning to beat the Cubs, 10–7.  The homer, off Dick Tidrow, is Bair’s only ML dinger.

21st  In what is billed as the greatest college pitching duel ever takes place in the first round of the NCAA as Yale’s Ron Darling and St. John’s Frank Viola match zeroes through 11 innings. Darling allows no hits while striking out 16. In the 12th, St. John’s Steve Scafa hits an opposite field scratch single, then steals 2B and 3B. The next batter reaches on an error and, when he tries to steal 2B, Scafa breaks for home scoring the only run. St. John’s wins, 1–0.

22nd  Coach Billy Gardner replaces the fired John Goryl as manager of the Twins. Minnesota (11-25) had lost 8 consecutive games, but shuts out Kansas City 7–0 in Gardner’s managerial debut.

      With Rick Waits on the mound in the 6th, the Yankees Bucky Dent hits into a triple play. But the Yankees win, 3–2, with the margin a 2-run HR by Dave Winfield. The win goes to Dave Righetti (1-0).

23rd  Minnesota and Kansas City go 14 innings without scoring before Willie Wilson’s RBI single in the 15th ends it, 1–0. Paul Splittorff goes 11 innings while Scott Erickson goes 9.1 innings.

24th  At Houston, Vida Blue and the Giants stop the Astros, 2-1. Art Howe has a single for Houston to extend his hitting streak to 23 consecutive games.

25th  Texas utility man Bill Stein drives in the winning run with a pinch single in the bottom of the 9th inning of a 4–3 win over Minnesota. It is Stein’s 7th consecutive pinch hit, a new AL record.

      Carl Yastrzemski plays in his 3,000th ML game, scoring the winning run in Boston’s 8–7 triumph over Cleveland. Yaz joins Ty Cobb, Stan Musial, and Hank Aaron as the only major leaguers to appear in 3,000 games.

      In the last regularly scheduled Memorial Day doubleheader this century, the Mariners sweep a pair from the Royals, winning 7–1 and 5–2. Rookie Brian Allard goes the distance to win the opener and he’s supported by Gary Gray’s third two-homer game in 10 days.

      Dave Kingman bunts in the first inning, then hits a grand slam in the 2nd as the Mets roll over the Phils, 13-3. Greg Harris posts his first ML win.

27th  Angel 3B Doug DeCinces hits a pair of home runs for the 3rd time in 6 games to lead California to a 6–5 win over the Yankees. DeCinces also homered twice against Detroit on May 23rd and against the Yankees on May 25th. He had no homers this year prior to the streak.

      With Kansas ahead 7–4 over the Mariners, Amos Otis taps a dribbler down the 3B line in the 6th inning.  Mariner 3B Lenny Randle gets down on all fours as the ball rolls along the line, finally going foul.  Royals manager Whitey Herzog protests that Randle was blowing the ball foul, while the third baseman argues he was merely pleading with it. Ump Larry McCoy rules in favor of Herzog and Otis gets a hit.  Otis doesn’t score but the Royals win, 8–5.

      At Fenway, 8 Sox players collect 2 hits apiece as the Red Sox down the Indians, 10-6. The Sox score 6 in the 4th off Bert Blyleven (6-2), who gets exasperated at the calls of home plate ump Greg Kosc and throws seven straight batting practice fastballs, resulting in 7 straight hits, before Dave Garcia lifts him. Rick Miller has a 3-run homer after tripling earlier off the big Dutchman. Jim Rice has a pair of solo homers in the 8th and 9th innings.

28th  Let’s break two. At Wrigley the Cubs Steve Henderson singles in the 4th inning against the Pirates and then is almost picked off by a throw from catcher Tony Pena.  In diving back to the bag, Henderson breaks his right hand, but stays in the game.  An inning later, he hits a two-out two-run homer to left field. But Eddie Solomon goes the distance for the 9-4 Pittsburgh win. Henderson will be out of action until August 11.

      Angels manager Jim Fregosi, who led the club to a 22-25 record, 71⁄2 games off the pace in the AL West, becomes the 3rd AL skipper to be fired this month. He is replaced by Gene Mauch.

29th  A’s manager Billy Martin flies into a rage and heaves 2 handfuls of dirt on home plate umpire Terry Cooney’s back after being ejected for arguing ball and strike calls. He will be suspended by AL president Lee MacPhail for 7 days.

      Montreal trades OF Ellis Valentine to the Mets for P Jeff Reardon, OF Dan Norman, and a player to be named. Valentine will play just 159 games for the Mets, while Reardon will blossom into one of baseball’s best relievers.

31st  Playing before their 10th consecutive home sellout, the Dodgers pound the Reds 16–4 and raise their season attendance to 1,026,725 in 22 dates. It is the earliest any team has cracked the one million attendance barrier.

      At Philadelphia, Steve Carlton runs his record to 8–0 with a 6–1 win over the Cardinals. For Carlton, it is his 10th win in a row over the Birds going back to May 1979.