50 years ago today: Braves become first team to hit four straight homers

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June 8, 1961

Eddie Mathews, Hank Aaron, Joe Adcock and Frank Thomas hit back-to-back-to-back-to-back homers for the Milwaukee Braves in the sixth inning of a game against the Reds.  It’s the first time in major league history that the feat has been pulled off, but the Braves go on to lose the game 10-8 anyway.

The Reds were up 10-2 at the start of the barrage.  Frank Bolling led off the top of the seventh with a single of Jim Maloney before Mathews kicked it off.  Maloney was pulled after Aaron’s homer made it 10-5.  Marshall Bridges came in and gave up two more homers before Joe Torre grounded out to end the streak.

The Braves went on to score one more run in the eighth on another Mathews homer, but they couldn’t keep it going from there.

Since the Braves did it, six other teams have hit four consecutive homers in games.  It happened two more times in the early-60s with the Indians in 1963 and the Twins in 1964, then never again for 40 years.

Next to do it were the Dodgers in 2006, pulling off a famous comeback against the Padres’ Trevor Hoffman in the ninth before winning in the 10th.  The Red Sox did it just a few months later in April 2007 against the Yankees’ Chase Wright.  J.D. Drew, who left the Dodgers to join Boston the previous winter, actually homered in both of those streaks.

Since then, both the 2008 White Sox and 2010 Diamondbacks have done it.

The 1961 Braves went on to finish the season 83-71, giving them the fourth-best record in the NL. They were first with 188 homers.  Adcock actually led the team with 35, one more than Aaron and three more than Mathews.  Thomas finished with 25.

Rubby De La Rosa to undergo a second Tommy John Surgery

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This is unfortunate: Diamondbacks reliever Rubby De La Rosa will undergo Tommy John surgery. This will be the second Tommy John procedure of his career, the first coming back in 2011.

De La Rosa has had elbow  issues for his entire career. Last year his UCL was barking again and he underwent stem cell therapy to try to avoid a second surgery, but it obviously hasn’t worked out. He’s pitched in only nine games this year, allowing four earned runs in seven and two-thirds innings, striking out 12.

I first saw De La Rosa in spring training in 2011. I thought his stuff was pretty phenomenal and figured he’d be a good one. Great stuff is often a function of heavy strain on an elbow, however, and pitchers breaking is, unfortunately, the rule in baseball far more than the exception.

He’ll miss a year at least. We likely won’t see him until spring of 2019, most likely on a minor league deal.

Cardinals closer Trevor Rosenthal to be examined for arm tightness

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Cardinal closer Trevor Rosenthal was taken out of last night’s game against the Red Sox after he gave up a big homer and a walk. He velocity was down as well, and Mike Mathney said after the game that he didn’t look right. Now the Cardinals are going to take a closer look at him, and he’ll be examined today for what is being described as “tightness” in his right arm.

Rosenthal is 3-4 with a 3.40 ERA and a K/BB ratio of 76/20 in 47.2 innings. He has 11 saves after regaining the closer’s job from Seung Hwan Oh. Now some combination of Oh, Tyler Lyons, and John Brebbia will fill in for Rosenthal to the extent he needs to miss time.