Kernels: A singular focus

May, 11, 2014
May 11
10:11
PM ET
Our weekly look at the interesting and unusual in Major League Baseball only takes us 90 feet.

• The Kansas City Royals accumulated 16 hits in Friday's 6-1 win over the Seattle Mariners. None of them went for extra bases. It's the first time any team has had 16 or more hits in a game, all singles, since April 2011 (by the Pittsburgh Pirates). The last American League team to do it... was the Royals, on August 31, 2004, against Detroit (they had 17 singles in a 9-8 walk-off victory).

Fourteen of Friday's hits came off Mariners starter Brandon Maurer; he's the first pitcher this year to allow 14 hits (of any value), and just the third in Mariners history (joning Doug Fister in 2011 and Greg Hibbard in 1994). But no pitcher, for any team, had allowed 14 hits in a game, with all of them being singles, since the Cardinals' Tom Poholsky did it against the Brooklyn Dodgers on August 3, 1956. Jackie Robinson had three and Duke Snider hit two.

• David Ortiz of the Boston Red Sox had only one hit on Friday night, a single against Yu Darvish of the Texas Rangers. That otherwise-unremarkable single came with two outs in the ninth and was the only hit allowed by Darvish in the game. For the second straight year, Darvish took a no-hit bid through 8 2/3 innings (last year Marwin Gonzalez of the Houston Astros did the honors).

Darvish is just the third known pitcher in history to have two potential no-hitters broken up with two outs in the ninth. Dave Stieb of the Toronto Blue Jays is remembered for having it happen three times in two seasons (1988-89) before finally completing one in 1990. The other was "Sleepy Bill" Burns who pitched such a game for the Washington Senators on May 25, 1908, and then pitched one against the Senators on July 31, 1909 (as a member of the Chicago White Sox).

Darvish was already at 126 pitches and was replaced right after Ortiz' single. He's the only pitcher in the live-ball era to have two outings of 8 2/3 innings with only one hit allowed.

• The Red Sox beat the Cincinnati Reds on Tuesday when Ortiz, Mike Napoli, and Grady Sizemore started the 12th with three singles. It was the first time the Red Sox had walked off on three straight singles to start an inning (no other baserunners in between) since July 3, 1984, when Mike Easler, Bill Buckner, and Gary Allenson delivered against the Oakland Athletics.

For Sizemore, it was his first walk-off anything since August 11, 2006, when he had a three-run triple off the Royals' Ambiorix Burgos.

• The Baltimore Orioles specialized in singles on Saturday, but those were runs, not hits. The O's scored once per inning in the sixth, seventh, eighth, and ninth to tie the Houston Astros, and then walked off in the 10th on a Steve Clevenger double. According to Elias, they are the fourth team in major-league history to score exactly one run in each of those five frames (6 through 10), the last being the Oakland Athletics on July 21, 1987. Baltimore did it once before, against the Mariners in 1979; and the first team to do it was the 1961 White Sox.

• Seth Smith of the San Diego Padres had trouble with singles on Saturday, failing to get one in his five plate appearances against the Miami Marlins. He did, however, get a double, a triple, and a home run to complete the rarest three-fourths of the cycle. Of the 294 near-cycles last season, only four players were missing the single. (Triples, at 235, are the overwhelming majority.) Smith is the 63rd player this year (through Saturday) with a near-cycle, but the first to miss the single. Only 10 players have done it in Padres history; the most recent had been Adrian Gonzalez in April 2008.

• Although they mixed in three doubles, the San Francisco Giants collected 17 singles in Monday's 13-inning win over the Pittsburgh Pirates. It was the team's first game with 17 or more singles since June 8, 1990, a 27-hit outburst against the Braves which they won 23-8. The Pirates had 16 total hits of their own Monday, their first loss in a 16-hit game since August 2008.

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