McKenzie loses perfect game in 8th, Indians beat Tigers 11-0

Allan Dranberg/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
0 Comments

DETROIT – Indians starter Triston McKenzie retired the first 23 Detroit batters in order before Harold Castro lined a single to right with two out in the eighth inning and Cleveland beat the Tigers 11-0 Sunday.

“It was a pretty good fastball, but I didn’t get it past him,” McKenize said. “So it wasn’t good enough.”

The 24-year-old stunned the Comerica Park crowd of 25,684 hoping to see Miguel Cabrera‘s 500th homer. Instead, they gave McKenzie a standing ovation after Castro’s hit and another after he finished the inning with his 11th strikeout.

“I started thinking about it in the third inning, I knew I was perfect through the first time through the order, but I didn’t change my routine,” he said. “If I had to sum today up in one word, it would be ‘comfortable.’ I got into my groove right away and just kept going.”

McKenzie (2-5) came within four outs of breaking baseball’s longest no-hit drought. Cleveland hasn’t had one since Len Barker’s perfect game on May 15, 1981, against the Toronto Blue Jays.

“We knew in the first inning that he was really on his game,” Detroit’s Jonathan Schoop said. “By the fourth or fifth inning, we were hoping someone was going to get a hit, and Harold saved us with a big swing.”

McKenzie, who has bounced between the Indians and Triple-A this season, pitched eight innings for the first time in his major league career.

“I was keeping an eye on him, but he was cruising,” Indians interim manager DeMarlo Hale said. “You don’t get a chance to throw one of those very often.”

Drew Hutchison (0-1) allowed six runs while only getting five outs in his first major league game since a five-game stretch in the Texas Rangers rotation in Aug. 2018. Hutchison went 1-1 with an 8.86 ERA, and had pitched for four Triple-A teams and another in the American Association before getting the call from Detroit.

“I was excited to be back in the majors, but nothing that affected my performance,” he said. “All I can do is wipe this out of my memory and move forward.”

Cleveland took control of the game with a six-run second inning.

With runners on first and third and no outs, Owen Miller hit a grounder to second baseman Schoop. Instead of going for a double play, Schoop threw home to get Bradley Zimmer, but catcher Grayson Greiner dropped the throw, allowing the run to score.

Tigers manager A.J. Hinch said he would have rather seen Schoop take the double play, but the second baseman went with his instincts.

“I’m an aggressive player and I saw I had a chance to get the guy at the plate,” he said. “It was a good throw, but I might have rushed it a little. That’s just something that happens in baseball.”

Andres Gimenez walked to load the bases and Austin Hedges made it 3-0 with a double to right. Hutchison walked Myles Straw to re-load the bases, but Amed Rosario hit into a run-scoring double play. Jose Ramirez homered to right, giving the Indians a 6-0 lead.

A walk to Franmil Reyes ended Hutchison’s return to the majors, and the Indians scored five more in the third, highlighted by Rosario’s bases-loaded triple and an RBI double by Ramirez.

“I was really happy with how we put together those two innings,” Hale said. “Jose did hit the homer, but the other nine runs all came on balls that stayed in the park. We recognized we had a chance to keep the innings going and we took it.”

After that, the game belonged to McKenzie, who struck out the top of the Tigers order in the seventh, including Cabrera to end the inning.

Hale said he was impressed by McKenzie’s relaxed behavior during the game, and the youngster was enjoying the music before going after Jacob Robson, Schoop and Cabrera in the seventh.

“I was really impressed by the `God Bless America’ singer, that got me locked in, and then I was just grooving to the music,” he said. “Before the series, we agreed as a pitching staff that we weren’t going to let Miggy get it against us. He’s an incredible hitter, but we didn’t want to go down in history.”

Cabrera struck out twice and hit a shallow flyball in his other at-bat.

NOT THE FIRST TIME

McKenzie’s bid for perfection wasn’t the first involving Detroit and Cleveland at Comerica Park. On June 2, 2010, Armando Galarraga threw the infamous “28-out perfect game” against the Indians when umpire Jim Joyce wrongly called Jason Donald safe at first with two out in the ninth.

RUNNING IT BACK

Hinch said that, despite Hutchison’s struggles, he will remain in the rotation and is scheduled to face the Toronto Blue Jays on Sunday.

“He gave up a bloop single to start the game, then got the next three guys,” Hinch said. “The second was a mess, but we didn’t really give him much help. He’s here to start games.”

UP NEXT

Cleveland: The Indians open a three-game series in Minnesota on Monday. Griffin Jax (3-1, 5.45) is scheduled to start for the Twins against Cal Quantrill (3-2, 3.13).

Detroit: The Tigers are off on Monday before hosting the Los Angeles Angels for three games starting on Tuesday. Casey Mize (6-6, 3.66) is scheduled to start against an Angels pitcher to be announced later.

Yankees star Judge hits 61st home run, ties Maris’ AL record

aaron judge
Cole Burston/Getty Images
2 Comments

TORONTO — Aaron Judge tied Roger Maris’ American League record of 61 home runs in a season, hitting a tiebreaking, two-run drive for the New York Yankees in the seventh inning against the Toronto Blue Jays on Wednesday night.

The 30-year-old slugger drove a 94.5 mph belt-high sinker with a full-count from left-hander Tim Mayza over the left-field fence at Rogers Centre. The 117.4 mph drive took just 3.8 seconds to land 394 feet from the plate, and it put the Yankees ahead 5-3.

Judge watched the ball clank off the front of the stands, just below two fans who reached over a railing and tried for a catch. He pumped an arm just before reaching first and exchanged a slap with coach Travis Chapman.

The ball dropped into Toronto’s bullpen and was picked up by Blue Jays bullpen coach Matt Buschmann, who turned it over to the Yankees.

Judge’s mother and Roger Maris Jr. rose and hugged from front-row seats. He appeared to point toward them after rounding second base, then was congratulated by the entire Yankees team, who gave him hugs after he crossed the plate.

Judge moved past the 60 home runs Babe Ruth hit in 1927, which had stood as the major league mark until Maris broke it in 1961. All three stars reached those huge numbers playing for the Yankees.

Barry Bonds holds the big league record of 73 for the San Francisco Giants in 2001.

Judge had gone seven games without a home run – his longest drought this season was nine in mid-August. This was the Yankees’ 155th game of the season, leaving them seven more in the regular season.

The home run came in the fourth plate appearance of the night for Judge, ending a streak of 34 plate appearances without a home run.

Judge is hitting .313 with 130 RBIs, also the top totals in the AL. He has a chance to become the first AL Triple Crown winner since Detroit’s Miguel Cabrera in 2012.

Maris hit No. 61 for the Yankees on Oct. 1, 1961, against Boston Red Sox pitcher Tracy Stallard.

Maris’ mark has been exceeded six times, but all have been tainted by the stench of steroids. Mark McGwire hit 70 home runs for the St. Louis Cardinals in 1998 and 65 the following year, and Bonds topped him. Sammy Sosa had 66, 65 and 63 during a four-season span starting in 1998.

McGwire admitted using banned steroids, while Bonds and Sosa denied knowingly using performing-enhancing drugs. Major League Baseball started testing with penalties for PEDs in 2004, and some fans – perhaps many – until now have considered Maris the holder of the “clean” record.

Among the tallest batters in major league history, the 6-foot-7 Judge burst on the scene on Aug. 13, 2016, homering off the railing above Yankee Stadium’s center-field sports bar and into the netting above Monument Park. He followed Tyler Austin to the plate and they become the first teammates to homer in their first major league at-bats in the same game.

Judge hit 52 homers with 114 RBIs the following year and was a unanimous winner of the AL Rookie of the Year award. Injuries limited him during the following three seasons, and he rebounded to hit 39 homers with 98 RBIs in 2021.

As he approached his last season before free agent eligibility, Judge on opening day turned down the Yankees’ offer of an eight-year contract worth from $230.5 million to $234.5 million. The proposal included an average of $30.5 million annually from 2023-29, with his salary this year to be either the $17 million offered by the team in arbitration or the $21 million requested by the player.

An agreement was reached in June on a $19 million, one-year deal, and Judge heads into this offseason likely to get a contract from the Yankees or another team for $300 million or more, perhaps topping $400 million.

Judge hit six homers in April, 12 in May and 11 in June. He earned his fourth All-Star selection and entered the break with 33 homers. He had 13 homers in July and dropped to nine in August, when injuries left him less protected in the batting order and pitchers walked him 25 times.

He became just the fifth player to hold a share of the AL season record. Nap Lajoie hit 14 in the AL’s first season as a major league in 1901, and Philadelphia Athletics teammate Socks Seabold had 16 the next year, a mark that stood until Babe Ruth hit 29 in 1919. Ruth set the record four times in all, with 54 in 1920, 59 in 1921 and 60 in 1927, a mark that stood until Maris’ 61 in 1961.

Maris was at 35 in July 1961 during the first season each team’s schedule increased from 154 games to 162, and baseball Commissioner Ford Frick ruled if anyone topped Ruth in more than 154 games “there would have to be some distinctive mark in the record books to show that Babe Ruth’s record was set under a 154-game schedule.”

That “distinctive mark” became known as an “asterisk” and it remained until Sept. 4, 1991, when a committee on statistical accuracy chaired by Commissioner Fay Vincent voted unanimously to recognize Maris as the record holder.