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The First Pitch: September 28, 2021

One hundred and six years after adopting the name, Cleveland played its final home game as the Indians and took an 8-3 victory over the Royals before 13,131 fans at Progressive Field. On the eve of his 30th birthday, Eddie Rosario propelled the Indians with his sixth four-hit game of the year—the most by a Cleveland player since Joe Carter in 1986—and Bradley Zimmer hit a solo home run off his brother, Kansas City pitcher Kyle Zimmer. It’s only the fourth time in MLB history that one brother has belted a homer off another; the other three occurred in 1904 (George Stovall, off of Jesse Stovall), 1933 (Rick Ferrell, off of Wes Ferrell) and 1976 (Joe Niekro, off of Phil Niekro). 

The Indians, soon to be known as the Guardians, need to win five of their remaining six games to secure a ninth straight winning record. The franchise record is 10, from 1947-56.


There was bad news for the idle Giants on Monday, as it was confirmed that star slugger Brandon Belt—leading the team with 29 home runs over just 325 at-bats this season—suffered a broken left thumb while attempting a bunt (of all things) in San Francisco’s series finale at Colorado on Sunday. One would think that Belt is an automatic loss for the season’s final week and a good chunk of the postseason, but hold on—doctors are determining how they can patch him back him and make him active (and effective) for October. Stay tuned.


Congrats, Your Box Score Line Was the Best (Hitters Edition)

5-4-4-2—Jonathan India, Cincinnati
The 24-year-old second baseman enhanced his chances for winning NL Rookie of the Year honors with two singles, a double, home run and a stolen base while plating four times in the Reds’ 13-1 crushing of the visiting Bucs. Over 48 at-bats against Pittsburgh this season, India is batting .333 with three homers and 15 RBIs; he’ll get three more shots at them through Thursday.


Congrats, Your Box Score Line Was the Best (Pitchers Edition)

5.2-1-1-1-1-5Reiver Sanmartin, Cincinnati
On a day of limited action, this was the best we could do—but the 25-year-old Colombian, making his major league debut, is rightfully all smiles after a sharp effort in which he clamped down on the Pirates. Granted, Pittsburgh’s offense is probably not much better than most of the competition the southpaw has faced in the minors—where he posted a 10-2 record and 3.39 combined between Double-A and Triple-A in 2021—but it’s nevertheless an uplifting launch in the bigs.


It Was Whatever-Something Years Ago Today

1919: The Phillies and Giants hook up for the fastest game in major league history—51 minutes—in the first game of a doubleheader. The Giants win the game, 6-1; obviously, neither team could wait for the season to end. 

1938: The Cubs’ Gabby Hartnett launches the famed “Homer in the Gloamin’” at Wrigley Field to strike a major dagger in the heart of the Pirates, whose 6.5-game lead over the Cubs in the NL race is eventually evaporated as a result. 

1941: The Red Sox’ Ted Williams collects six hits in a doubleheader at Philadelphia against the A’s to become the last player to date to finish the year batting above .400, going into the books with a .406 mark. 

1960: Exactly 19 years later, a 42-year-old Williams wraps up his final season on his own terms by hitting a thunderous 450-foot home run in his last at-bat against Baltimore. His eighth-inning blast at Fenway Park off of the Orioles’ Jack Fisher helps the Red Sox win, 5-4; he refuses to take a curtain call from the crowd of just over 10,000—but after being replaced in the outfield an inning later, he’ll tip his cap to the fans for whom he’s had strained relations with. Though the Red Sox have three games left to play at New York, Williams passes up the trip—preferring to go fishing instead. 

1975: The Oakland A’s spread the wealth on the last day of the regular season against the California Angels; what’s not planned is that four pitchers—Vida Blue, Glenn Abbott, Paul Lindblad and Rollie Fingers—combine to throw a no-hitter in a 5-0 win. It’s the first time a no-hitter has been won using multiple pitchers. Blue, who goes the first five innings and earns his 22nd win, allows the only two Angels baserunners via walks. 

1988: The Dodgers’ Orel Hershiser throws 10 innings of shutout baseball at San Diego to push his streak of consecutive scoreless innings to 59, eclipsing Don Drysdale’s all-time record from 1968. 

1996: The Orioles clinch a wild card spot and defeat the Blue Jays at Toronto in 10 innings, 3-2, on a solo homer from Roberto Alomar—who somehow remains un-suspended after spitting in the face of umpire John Hirschbeck the night before. Alomar’s presence in the postseason to follow will ignite a firestorm of controversy. 

2000: The Brewers drop an 8-1 decision to the Reds in the last game played at Milwaukee’s County Stadium. The finale at the nearly 50-year-old facility was delayed a year because of a tragic crane accident next door at Miller Park, setting back progress on construction for that new ballpark. 

2008: After 45 years of service, New York’s Shea Stadium holds its final baseball game as the Mets lose a painful 4-2 game to the Marlins, knocking them out of the postseason. 

2011: On one of the greatest days of final regular season action in MLB history, the Cardinals and Rays complete improbable September comebacks and knock the Braves and Red Sox, respectively, out of wild card spots. The Cardinals get the job done with the help of the Phillies, who complete a come-from-behind, 13-inning 4-3 win at Atlanta; the Rays, trailing the Yankees late at home 7-0, punch back and ultimately win in the 12th 8-7 on an Evan Longoria home run—while the Red Sox blow a late lead and lose at Baltimore, 4-3.


Shameless Link of the Day

The Cardinals are back in action at St. Louis against Milwaukee, hoping to win their 17th straight game. Their win streak is the NL’s longest since the 1951 Giants, who…well, you remember.


You Say It’s Your Birthday

Tampa Bay outfielder Manuel Margot is 27; Atlanta outfielder Eddie Rosario is 30; long-time Nationals star Ryan Zimmerman is 37; two-time saves leader Todd Worrell is 62. Born on this date is 18-year reliever Grant Jackson (1942), career .287 hitter Whitey Witt (1895) and career .875 OPS guy Jack Fournier (1892).

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