Kernels of Wisdom: Week in review
June, 2, 2012
By Doug Kern, ESPN Stats & Information | ESPN.com
- Johan Santana threw a no-hitter on Friday night. For the Mets (now in their 51st season). Enough said. Well, almost. On Friday it had been just 310 days since another Santana no-hitter. That would be Ervin's for the Angels last July 27. It's the 11th surname to be shared by two different no-hitter throwers (excepting combined efforts). And it breaks, by 46 days, the "record" for the quickest pair of no-hitters by two different pitchers with the same surname. That was previously held by the Forsch brothers: Bob threw one for the Cardinals on April 16, 1978; Ken threw his lone no-no for the Astros on April 7, 1979 in his first start of the season. The other nine surnames to appear on the list more than once: Hughes, Jiménez, Johnson, Jones, Martinez, Morris, Sanchez, Smith, and Wilson.And by the way, Ervin Santana was also named Johan at birth. He changed his first name in 2003 to avoid confusion between the two of them when they both reached the majors.
- Just when you thought you couldn't see snowmen in May. The Mariners erupted for eight runs in the second inning on Wednesday. That was on the heels of a six-run eighth inning the night before. And when that wasn't enough, they tacked on eight more runs in the third. They are just the third American League team in history to post consecutive innings of eight or more runs. The Indians did it on July 29, 1928, opening their game with the Yankees by posting 8-9-1 in the first three frames. (They later added a six-run inning and won 24-6.) In the first year of the AL's existence (May 2, 1901), the Boston club (commonly known as the "Americans" to distinguish them from the NL's Braves) opened a game in Philadelphia with innings of 2-9-10 en route to a 23-12 victory. Elias tells us that four National League teams have accomplished the feat, most recently the Cubs on May 5, 2001, but the others in the 1800s.
- Chris Sale of the White Sox won a pretty good pitching duel with Matt Moore of the Rays on Monday. Moore rang up 10 Chicago batters for the second double-digit strikeout game of his career. But Sale bested him by fanning a career-high 15. It's the first game this year where both starters posted 10-plus strikeouts, and the first American League game since July 29, 2007 (Matt Garza of the Twins versus the Indians' CC Sabathia). Sale posted just the sixth 15-strikeout game in White Sox franchise history and the first since Jack Harshman set the club record with 16 against the Red Sox on July 25, 1954.
- Two teams this week -- the Rockies on Sunday and the Blue Jays on Wednesday -- scored four or more runs in a game with all of them coming via solo homers. The Reds, last week, had been the only team this season to accomplish that feat, and only three squads did it in all of 2011. The Rockies also lost that game in which they hit the five solo homers -- because the Reds went deep four times. Colorado is the first team this year to hit five-plus homers (of any run value) in a game and lose, and it's only the third time in Rockies history they've done it (the others were in 1994 and 1996). The nine combined homers in the game set a season-high across MLB, and a record for Great American Ball Park. The Reds were also involved in two of the three nine-homer games last year, though both were on the road.
- Dexter Fowler managed to hit a walk-off triple to end Monday's extra-inning doubleheader. Since the start of 2008, there have only been three other walk-off triples, and only one in extra innings: Ramon Santiago of the Tigers did it on June 10, 2011.
- On Wednesday night, the Brewers laid down four sacrifice bunts. The opposing Dodgers might have been wise to try that strategy as they ended up grounding into four double plays (by four different batters). It's been over a year since any team successfully hit four-plus sac bunts in a game. The Braves did it on May 13, 2011.
- If the pitcher's job is "don't give 'em anything to hit," then Brayan Villarreal of the Tigers did his job on Tuesday. Villarreal recorded the last five outs against the Red Sox, all via strikeout. He faced a sixth hitter (Kelly Shoppach) and walked him. So of the six batters he faced, none put a ball in play. He's the first pitcher this season to do that across six or more batters. Four relievers did it last year, most recently Zach Stewart of the White Sox in August.
- Jeremy Hefner of the Mets, in his fourth career appearance, gave up his first career home run (to Brian Schneider) in the second inning Tuesday. Two innings later, Hefner turned around and hit his first career home run, off Joe Blanton. Then-National Tommy Milone accomplished both in his debut last September. But Hefner is the only Met ever to hit his first homer and allow his first homer in the same game. (Special shout-out to Tim Leary, who hit one in his sixth game (April 1984) but didn't allow one until his 12th.) Hefner also later got the win -- according to Elias, becoming the first pitcher to get his first victory and first home run in the same game since Dennis Tankersley of the Padres on May 15, 2002.
- Josh Willingham hit a walk-off homer for the Twins on Tuesday, scoring Jamey Carroll and Joe Mauer ahead of him. That accounted for all three runs in Minnesota's 3-2 win over Oakland. It's the first walk-off homer this season to occur when a team was trailing by at least two. The last time the Twins hit such a homer was on Aug. 15, 1995, when Kirby Puckett hit a three-run shot off Seattle's Bobby Ayala for a 7-6 victory. It's also the first walk-off homer this season to account for all a team's runs in a game. The Twins had not had one of those since Aug. 26, 1992, when Brian Harper broke a scoreless tie with a solo shot against Detroit.
- Mark Trumbo doubled in the first inning Monday, tripled in the third, and then concluded the festivities with a walk-off solo homer in the ninth against the Yankees. He struck out and grounded out in his other two plate appearances, becoming the third player this year to miss the cycle by the single. By comparison, 62 players have missed by the ever-elusive triple, six have needed the double, and 15 have needed the homer. The last Angel to miss the cycle by the single also was Trumbo. He did it on July 28 of last year against the Tigers. He's the only major leaguer to do it multiple times since the start of 2010. (The Rockies' Ian Stewart, who missed once in '09 and again in '10, was the last.)
AP Photo/Jae C. HongChris Sale notched the sixth 15-strikeout game in White Sox history on Monday.