Alex Bregman
AP Images

And That Happened: Saturday’s Scores and Highlights

7 Comments

These are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Astros 1, Padres 0 (10 innings): There’s no point in saving the best for last here, especially when the “best” is the Padres losing a 10-inning game on a dropped pop-up. (Yes, you read that right.) This is one of those things you just need to see to believe:

Ah, Padres baseball.

Yankees 8, Orioles 3: The Yankees are back over .500, thanks in no small part to Brett Gardner‘s monster day at the plate. The veteran outfielder made the most of each plate appearance on Saturday with two hits, two walks and two RBI in the Yankees’ first win of the series.

Red Sox 10, Rays 3: The Rays haven’t quite found their groove yet this year. The Red Sox came at them hard and fast on Saturday, clubbing three home runs — including J.D. Martinez‘s first home run with the Sox and Xander Bogaerts‘ second career grand slam — en route to a double-digit finish. On the plus side, at least we got to see Daniel Robertson… pitch?

Mets 3, Nationals 2: Tensions ran high in the third inning of the Nationals’ loss, when Anthony Rendon was tossed from the game following a second called strike three in his second at-bat of the day. Rendon didn’t vocalize his frustration with home plate umpire Marty Foster, but demonstrated his displeasure by tossing his bat — and was promptly given the hook along with club manager Dave Martinez.

Bryce Harper slugged a go-ahead home run in the sixth inning — his fifth homer of the year so far — but the Nationals took their second straight loss to the Mets after Asdrubal Cabrera and Todd Frazier tag-teamed for a two-run rally in the seventh.

Tigers 6, White Sox 1: A 32-degree chill didn’t do much to cool Miguel Cabrera‘s hot bat on Saturday afternoon. While the veteran slugger had an injury scare after tweaking his hip last week, he returned in full force against the White Sox with a two-RBI base hit — one that sizzled off the bat at 114.4 mph — and a productive out.

Mariners 11, Twins 4: Speaking of spring chill, the Mariners and Twins played in a major-league record 27-degree atmosphere on Saturday — the lowest-recorded temperature in either club’s history. That didn’t seem to slow either team down, however: Minnesota mounted a three-run rally in the sixth with a blistering RBI double from Miguel Sano and back-to-back singles from Eddie Rosario and Eduardo Escobar, while the Mariners wore down the Twins’ bullpen with 11 runs in five innings, including Kyle Seager‘s first home run of the year and a 353-footer from Guillermo Heredia.

Cubs 5, Brewers 2: The Cubs’ fourth win of the season went exactly according to plan: six quality innings of one-run, nine-strikeout ball from Yu Darvish, an early Eric Thames home run, and a ninth-inning rally capped by Jon Lester‘s pinch-hit, run-scoring bunt. Wait, what?

Royals 1, Indians 0: Forget these 14-inning marathons and explosive ninth-inning rallies. The Royals and Indians went all-in on a true pitcher’s duel on Saturday, characterized by six shutout innings from Ian Kennedy and eight innings of one-run ball from Trevor Bauer. Lucas Duda supplied the sole run on a first-pitch blast to right field in the seventh, giving the Royals just enough of an edge to lay claim to their second win of the year.

Giants 7, Dodgers 6 (14 innings): Despite Buster Posey‘s first home run of 2018, despite Chase Utley‘s game-tying knock in the seventh, despite a cumulative 19 pitchers used in a five-hour, 14-inning affair, this was more or less a one-man show. Andrew McCutchen collected a career-best six hits off of the Dodgers, including an incredible 12-pitch walk-off home run in the bottom of the 14th.

Phillies 20, Marlins 1: There was no more lopsided game than the Phillies’ 20-run barrage against the Marlins this weekend. It was their highest-scoring game in nearly a decade, punctuated by two grand slams from Maikel Franco and Aaron Altherr, Jorge Alfaro‘s first home run of the season, and Carlos Santana‘s 1,000th career hit. Not too shabby for a team that managed to eke out just 19 runs over their last six games combined.

Reds 7, Pirates 4: The Reds have caught precious few breaks this spring; entering Saturday, their only win was a 1-0 shutout over the Cubs. Eugenio Suarez quickly remedied that, however, single-handedly mounting a four-run rally in the sixth and eighth inning with a two-RBI single and two-run homer to give the Reds the lead (and tie a career-best five-RBI performance, to boot).

Rangers 5, Blue Jays 1: Mike Minor hasn’t started a game since 2014, but you wouldn’t have known it by his pitching line on Saturday. The Rangers’ lefty dealt six solid innings en route to his first win, striking out seven of 21 batters and limiting the Blue Jays to two hits, two walks and a Ryan Rua sac fly.

Rockies 3, Braves 2 (10 innings): The Rockies kept things simple during their first extra-inning game of 2018. Trevor Story home run? Check. Ninth-inning implosion? Check. Heart-stopping catch to preserve the tie in the 10th? Check. Walk-off walk? Check and check.

Athletics 7, Angels 3: Things didn’t go exactly as planned for the Angels on Saturday, even on the heels of their decisive 13-run win on Friday night. In their first game without Shohei Ohtani since March 31, everything that could go wrong did: JC Ramirez left his start after pitching through two innings with forearm tightness, the bullpen imploded, and even two jacks from Justin Upton and Luis Valbuena couldn’t overturn the A’s seven-run spread — including Jed Lowrie‘s 410-foot blast and Matt Chapman‘s first triple of the year.

Joe DiMaggio’s hitting streak ended 78 years ago today

Getty Images
Leave a comment

There’s nothing special about a 78-year anniversary. It’s not a round number or anything and we tend to like round numbers. But (a) I was reminded of this today; and (b) we have no idea if the Martians will have invaded and taken over the planet come 2021, so I feel like it’s best to run this now than wait for the 80th anniversary. Cool? Cool.

Anyway: on this day in 1941, Joe DiMaggio’s still-unbroken and possibly unbreakable (see below) 56-game hitting streak came to end. The game took place in Cleveland in front of a staggering 67,468 fans. Not bad for a Thursday night. The way the streak ended, courtesy of an ESPN Classic post from Larry Scwartz back in 2003:

Third baseman Ken Keltner makes two outstanding plays, grabbing DiMaggio smashes down the line in the first and seventh innings and throwing him out at first base. In between these at-bats, left-hander Al Smith walks DiMaggio in the fourth.

The Yankee Clipper has one more chance to extend his streak when he bats in the eighth with the bases full against Jim Bagby, a young right-hander who just enters the game. DiMaggio hits the ball sharply, but shortstop Lou Boudreau plays a bad hop perfectly and turns the grounder into a double play.

Stuff happens.

To be clear: 56 may not be broken in my lifetime or yours. It’s obviously a SUPER difficult task to string together a hitting streak of considerable length. As we saw when guys like Pete Rose or Paul Molitor or whoever have come within spitting distance of DiMaggio’s record — long spitting distance — the pressure ramps up and it’s hard to do you job with a lot of pressure. Add in the fact that simple base hits are harder to come by in today’s game than they used to be due to prevalent hitting, pitching and defensive trends, and it’d be no shocker whatsoever if no one ever does it.

But I draw the line at “unbreakable,” simply because, as noted above, stuff does happen. And because there’s nothing structural preventing it from happening. It’s not like Cy Young’s 511 wins or something which fundamental changes in the game have made basically impossible. No one is going to win 26 games a year for 20 years straight or what have you. Heck, CC Sabathia is baseball’s current gray hair among pitchers and only has a few dozen more career starts than that. It’s just a different game.

Hitters do play in 150-160 games now, though, and the good ones do average more than one hit per game. Putting them in the right arrangement may never be likely, but doing so is only a matter of stars aligning, not breaking the fundamental rules of engagement. It could happen. Maybe. Because, unlike some other records, it did before under broadly similar circumstances.

OK, that aside, I’ll offer up my favorite and most maddening DiMaggio hitting streak fact.

During his streak, which lasted from May 15-July 17, DiMaggio went 91-of-223, which is a .408 average. Between April 15-September 28 (i.e. the whole dang season) Ted Williams hit .406. And when it was all said and done he was substantially better in virtually every other batting category as well.

Joe DiMaggio won the MVP Award.