Sunday, June 9, 2013
Kernels: Everything's just grand
By Doug Kern
Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty ImagesOur weekly edition of notable and interesting facts has a one-topic subject this week.
Yasiel Puig became a very popular man this week. His grand slam was one reason why.
Theme of the Week: Grand-Slam Barrage
It was a grand (slam) week for notable tidbits on grand slams and we're not just talking about Matt Holliday's on Sunday Night Baseball.
• John Mayberry cranked a walk-off slam to give the Phillies a win over the Marlins Tuesday, the first walk-off slam for the Phillies since Kim Batiste hit one against the Mets on August 13, 1993.
Mayberry-- who did not start the game-- also homered in the bottom of the 10th to re-tie the game after Miami took the lead in the top half. No player in the majors had hit two extra-inning homers in the same game since Baltimore's Mike Young did so against the Angels on May 28, 1987. And Elias confirms he was just the sixth player ever to do that.
Mayberry also didn't start the game. Since RBI became official in 1920, no player had ever come off the bench to record 5+ RBI, with all of them coming in extra innings.
• A grand slam was just one of the many oddities in Wednesday's White Sox-Mariners game. The teams played not just nine or ten, but thirteen scoreless innings. The White Sox piled up five hits and two walks in the innings and scored five runs, their most in any extra inning since May 17, 1996.
The Mariners answered with four straight singles to make it 5-1 and load the bases for Kyle Seager, whose grand slam tied the game.
Seager's slam was the latest by inning in Mariners history, and the latest in a game since David Eckstein hit a walk-off in the 14th inningfor the Angels on April 28, 2002. According to Elias, Seager's was the first game-tying grand slam in major-league history.
With a cap-tip to Retrosheet, the five runs were the most ever traded by two teams in an extra inning (i.e., so the game continued). And it was also the first time a game had gone scoreless through at least nine innings and then both teams scored five or more.
Addison Reed won, despite allowing five runs in extra innings. Only one other pitcher in the Live-Ball era entered a game in extras, allowed five or more runs, and still won. And that happened just two seasons ago: Micah Owings for the 2011 Diamondbacks.
• Thursday's grand slam belonged to newly-called-up Dodgers phenom Yasiel Puig. It came in his fourth game in the majors, making him the first Dodger in the Live Ball Era to hit a slam within his first four career games..
But it wasn't even Puig's first homer of his career. It was his third. In his second career game two days earlier, Puig went deep twice and drove in five runs as Los Angeles beat San Diego 9-7. That performance made him the first player with a multi-homer game, and five or more RBI, so early in his career, in over 60 years.
Dino Restelli of the Pirates had a pair of two-run shots and an RBI single-- all off Warren Spahn, no less-- as Pittsburgh came from behind to beat the Boston Braves 8-7 on June 15, 1949.
Puig went deep again on Friday (a solo shot this time), giving him four home runs in his first five major-league games. According to Elias, only one other player since 1900 has been that prolific: Mike Jacobs, who did it in his first four games (one as a pinch hitter) when he debuted with the Mets in August 2005.
• Josh Donaldson of the Athletics extended our grand-slam parade on Friday by hitting Oakland's first one of the year and accounting for all four runs in their 4-3 victory over the White Sox.
He's the first player this season to hit a grand slam in a game in which his team only scored four runs total. And no Oakland player had done it in a win since July 15, 1990, when Felix Jose hit a first-inning slam off the Brewers' Chris Bosio. Despite not having another hit the rest of the game, those runs held up for a 4-1 victory.
Holliday's grand slam Sunday night was only the third in extra innings by a Cardinals player in the last 30 seasons. The others: by Tommy Herr and Albert Pujols, both came against the Mets.