Sometimes our weekly look at the interesting and unusual happenings in Major League Baseball lends itself to a theme. Some weeks it's just better to shake the whole pile of games and see what falls out.
• The Oakland Athletics' Sonny Gray spun the first shutout of his brief career on Monday, holding the Texas Rangers to just three singles. That's fitting, because in his previous start, the Rangers' Martin Perez threw a three-hit shutout against Gray.
It's the first time in 18-plus years that two teams have traded individual shutouts, on three or fewer hits, within six days of each other. On July 13, 1995, the Marlins' Chris Hammond blanked the Los Angeles Dodgers, and the following night, Ramon Martinez responded with his lone career no-hitter.
Since the 2009 All-Star break, the Rangers have been shut out at home on three or fewer hits just four times. Three of those are by Oakland.
The last time two teammates with the same surname each had two (or more) two-baggers was on August 9, 2002, when the Atlanta Braves' Chipper and Andruw Jones both had two. That same pair did it earlier in the '02 season, and Todd and Larry Walker did it for the Rockies in 2001.
By the way, the player who had the last solo four-double game? It's Victor Martinez, then with the Red Sox, on June 1, 2010.
• The Cincinnati Reds gave the Chicago Cubs' Anthony Rizzo one chance to burn them on Wednesday. He did, opening the scoring with a two-run homer in the first inning. After that Rizzo drew walks in all four of his subsequent plate appearances, although only one was officially intentional.
The last player to homer in his first at-bat and then draw four or more walks (with no other outcomes mixed in)? Your first guess is probably right: Barry Bonds, July 27, 2007, against the Marlins.
It had been a quarter-century since a player did it and scored at least three runs as Rizzo did. Another San Francisco Giants star, Will Clark, pulled that off against the Houston Astros in September 1988.
• Matt Wieters brought an end to Thursday's Baltimore Orioles/Pittsburgh Pirates doubleheader at 12:53 am with a solo home run in the bottom of the 10th. Including two rain delays and the break between games, the twinbill lasted a total of 8 hours 45 minutes.
It was the first extra-inning homer to end a doubleheader since June 5, 2008, when Elijah Dukes' two-run shot gave the Washington Nationals a 10-9 win over the St. Louis Cardinals (who had scored twice in the ninth to tie and once in the 10th).
The Orioles hadn't ended a doubleheader with an extra-inning homer since July 4, 1973, when Elrod Hendricks took Milwaukee's Bill Champion deep. That game was the resumption of a doubleheader which started on the 3rd, but was suspended after seven innings because of a midnight curfew.
The Orioles' only other DH-ending homer since their move to Baltimore was on September 2, 1968, by Frank Robinson against the Yankees.
• No, we didn't forget Friday's game between the Tampa Bay Rays and New York Yankees... you know, the one where all of this happened:
-- The Rays hung a five-spot in the top of the 14th, their most runs ever scored, and the Yankees' most ever allowed, in an inning numbered 14 or higher.
-- There was a 3-9 forceout due to Wil Myers coming in to form a five-man shifted infield. It's believed to be the first 3-9 play in MLB history. Our friends at Retrosheet do have a 4-3-9 play in 1917 where the batter didn't run to first and the defense had all day to record the out.
-- There was a rundown double play that was scored (4-3)-6-3-4-3-4-5-2.
-- There was a replay review in the 13th and another in the 14th, the first game (under either system) with two reviews in extra innings.
--Derek Jeter posted the first 0-for-7 game of his 20-year career.