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Sunday, April 28, 2013
Kernels: Another big week of strikeout feats

By Doug Kern


Rick Osentoski/USA TODAY SportsAnibal Sanchez had his best stuff on Friday.


Let's review another week in statistical marvels and oddities in Major League Baseball.

Feat of the Week: Anibal Sanchez 17 K
There were plenty of impressive strikeout-related performances this week (we’ll note one more below), but none topped Detroit Tigers pitcher Anibal Sanchez who set a franchise record with an 8-inning, 17-strikeout outing against the Atlanta Braves on Friday.

It was the first 17-whiff game since Brandon Morrow's one-hitter against the Rays on August 8, 2010, and the first that was not a complete game since Johan Santana two-hit Texas for eight innings on August 19, 2007.

Two Atlanta starters-- Dan Uggla and Freddie Freeman-- had four strikeouts each, just the second time in the Live Ball Era that a pair of Braves have done that in the same game. The others were Greg Norton and Gregor Blanco in 2008-- and that was in a 17-inning game.

On the offensive side of the ball, the Tigers piled up 15 hits and won via shutout 10-0.

The last pitcher to get 10 or more runs of support in a 17-strikeout game was Sandy Koufax against the Chicago Cubs on April 24, 1962.

The four-whiff wonder
Not only did he get his first career base hit in Sunday's game, but Reds pitcher Tony Cingrani pulled off the rare four-strikeout inning when Denard Span reached on a wild pitch. He's just the fifth pitcher in franchise history with a four-strikeout frame. The last was Frankie Rodriguez, on July 22, 2001, against the Marlins.

It was just the 67th documented occurrence of a four-strikeout inning in major-league history; only the Chicago Cubs and Cleveland Indians (6 each) have done it more frequently than the Reds.

Cingrani also is the fifth pitcher currently in the major leagues to have an 11-strikeout, no-runs outing no more than six games into his career.

The other four are Mariano Rivera (1995 against a Chicago White Sox team that included ESPN’s John Kruk!), Oliver Perez (2002), Matt Moore (2011) and Matt Harvey (2013).

Another walk-off grand slam
This week Jordany Valdespin became the 12th player in New York Mets history to play all three outfield positions in the same game.

But what about his walk-off grand slam?

It was already the second one this season; Matt Wieters had one for the Orioles last week, and both have been in tie games in the 10th inning.

Last year there were only three walk-off slams total, all in the ninth inning.

Alex Gordon also had an extra-inning slam this week, the first for the Kansas City Royals since Danny Tartabull had one against the New York Yankees in 1991.

Beyond the weird weather- Braves/Rockies oddities
In Tuesday's frigid doubleheader in Colorado, both Colorado Rockies starters (Jeff Francis and Jon Garland) gave up three home runs as the Atlanta Braves swept the twinbill.

It was the first time that starters for the same team gave up three or more homers in both ends of a doubleheader since August 29, 1998. Dennis Springer and Bryan Rekar managed that for the newly-founded Tampa Bay Devil Rays against the Detroit Tigers.

Although he did not homer, Reed Johnson had a 4-for-4 day with three doubles in the day game of that doubleheader.

It was the first time a player in an Atlanta uniform had three extra-base hits, no runs and no RBI in a game; the last Brave with such a line was Frank Torre (Joe’s brother) for the Milwaukee Braves against the Brooklyn Dodgers on July 14, 1957.

Scorekeeping watch: An unusually short shutout
The Oakland AthleticsBoston Red Sox game was called after seven innings on Tuesday night due to rain, with the Athletics winning by a 13-0 count.

There hadn't been a shutout of 13 runs or more, in a game that lasted seven innings or less, in more than 60 years.

On August 16, 1952, the Dodgers ran up 15 runs on the Phillies at Ebbets Field before the game was called with one out in the top of the seventh.