This Great Game Comebacker

The Month That Was in Baseball: June 2022

From Ohtani to Slumps to Violent Thumps: The Angels in June
The Bucs Go Hat Trick Crazy

May 2022    Comebacker Index    July 2022

Wednesday, June 1

After getting pounced on 14-1 by Miami in the first game of a weather-created doubleheader, the Colorado Rockies get big-time help in the second game from Brendan Rodgers—who belts a solo home run in the second inning, another in the fifth, and a two-run, come-from-behind walk-off shot in the 10th to triumph, 13-12. It’s the 19th hat trick in Rockies history and the first for Rodgers, who ups his hitting streak to 19—eighth highest in franchise annals.

Thursday, June 2

Andrew McCutchen is 0-for-32 as he comes to the plate for the Brewers in the bottom of the ninth of a tied ballgame against the visiting Padres. But he has the perfect foil to end the hex: San Diego closer Taylor Rogers—who after a dynamite start to the season has been shaky over his last few appearances. And Rogers is already in rough shape in the ninth, allowing four baserunners on a single, two hit batsmen and a bases-clearing Jace Peterson triple. On cue, McCutchen singles home Peterson to win it for Milwaukee, 5-4, and become the first major leaguer since the A’s Wally Moses (in 1939) to end a hitting slump of at least 32 hitless at-bats by connecting on a walk-off hit.

Superior starting pitching lifts the Yankees to a weather-created doubleheader sweep of the falling Los Angeles Angels (eight straight losses after a fabulous start). In the first game, rising New York ace Nestor Cortes fires seven shutout innings and easily outduels Shohei Ohtani (three innings, four runs on eight hits including three homers) in a 6-1 victory. In the scheduled night game to follow, Jameson Taillon—pitching as well as he ever has—takes a perfect game into the eighth, where Jared Walsh ruins it with a double; the shutout will also be gone when Kurt Suzuki singles home Walsh to break up a scoreless tie. But Taillon will get the win; the Yankees respond on a two-run single from pinch-hitter Anthony Rizzo, and the Yankees complete the sweep with a 2-1 result.

Despite the defeat in the first game, Ohtani is the first player since Jimmie Foxx in 1945 to appear in both ends of a doubleheader, with one of those games as a pitcher. Foxx, the Hall-of-Fame slugger, pitched nine times for the 1945 Phillies as available major league manpower was still highly scarce even as World War II was winding down.

Friday, June 3

A 22-29 start is too much pain for Phillies management, which announces that Joe Girardi is the first managerial casualty of the 2022 season. After 10 seasons with the Yankees followed by a couple years offering on-air commentary for ESPN, Girardi struggled to rev up a Phillies team which, on paper, was expected to perform much better than the 132-141 record under his watch. In his place, bench coach Rob Thomson—employed under Girardi back at New York—apparently lights the fire that shakes up the Phillies to a 10-0 victory over the visiting Angels behind Zack Eflin’s eight shutout innings and two home runs each from Bryce Harper and Kyle Schwarber. It’s the second biggest shutout win for a first-game manager since 1900.

After scoring just one run over their last three games, the Washington Nationals find a slump-buster in Lane Thomas, who strokes three homers in an 8-5 victory at Cincinnati. It’s the first time that Thomas has hit three homers, let alone two, in his young career; he’s the 11th Expos/Nationals player with a hat trick, the first since Kyle Schwarber last season.

A night after Jameson Taillon takes a perfect game into the eighth inning, teammate/ace Gerrit Cole rides one himself into the seventh before Detroit’s Jonathan Schoop brakes it up with a two-out single. Cole will give up one more knock before departing after seven shutout innings, his win long secured as the Yankees blast their way to a 13-0 home romp behind four homers, including Aaron Judge’s 20th of the year to lead all major leaguers.

This is the first time since the beginning of the expansion era (in 1961) that starting pitchers have taken perfectos into the seventh or later in back-to-back games for the same team. 

The Tigers’ Elvin Rodriguez becomes the first Detroit pitcher since Max Scherzer (!) in 2014 to allow 10 earned runs in a game.

For only the second time in the 28-year history of Denver’s Coors Field, a scoreless game heads into extra innings as the Colorado Rockies and Atlanta Braves fail to dent the plate through the first nine. But the gift runner on second in extras, for better or for worse, saves the night from more zeroes—as does Colorado reliever Carlos Estevez, who struggles in the 10th by walking two (one intentionally), hitting one, and throwing two wild pitches to help the Braves notch three runs. The Rockies can only counter with one in the bottom of the inning, and the defending champion Braves (currently 26-27) become the last team in MLB this season to record a three-game win streak. That streak will grow much bigger.

Houston’s Yordan Alvarez is rewarded for his early career growth with a six-year, $115 million extension, making him pricey Astros property through the 2028 season. The 24-year-old Cuban defector will celebrate by producing two singles and his 15th homer of the year in the Astros’ 10-3 romp at Kansas City.

Saturday, June 4

The Yankees make it five straight with a 3-0 home win over the Tigers, as Luis Severino serves up the latest stellar effort from the mound, allowing just one hit through seven shutout innings to go along with 10 strikeouts. In their last three games, New York has allowed a team record-low total of six hits—and in their last 11 games, they’ve scored more runs (54) than the opposition has had hits (49).

Using position players to pitch to save bullpen exhaustion has been something of a rage over the past few years, but even this strategy has guidelines to deal with—as Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts finds out. With his team leading the visiting New York Mets going to the ninth, 9-4, Roberts brings in utility player Zach McKinstry to avoid using a seventh true pitcher on the night, but umpires inform Roberts that he can’t make the move because of a 2020 rule saying that position players can only pitch when the two teams are six or more runs apart on the scoreboard. The rule, agreed to before the start of the pandemic, was suspended through last season as the COVID-19 virus wreaked havoc on roster stability; unbeknownst to Roberts, the suspension of the rule was lifted at the start of 2022. Evan Phillips is brought in from the Los Angeles bullpen and finishes off the victory, allowing no runs on a hit.

Sunday, June 5

In Toronto’s 8-6 home loss to Minnesota, the Blue Jays’ George Springer becomes the fourth major leaguer with 50 leadoff, first-inning home runs; only Craig Biggio (53), Alfonso Soriano (54) and Rickey Henderson (81) have more. On the other side, Twins leadoff batter Luis Arraez collects four hits (all singles) and pads his batting average to an MLB-leading .358.

Monday, June 6

Eduardo Escobar produces the 11th cycle in New York Mets history—the first since 2012—achieving the tough part with a two-out triple in the ninth to spark a six-run, ninth-inning rally to defeat the Padres at San Diego, 11-6. Overall on the night, Escobar drives home six runs.

Boston’s Michael Wacha throws his second career shutout and complete game, blanking the Angels on three hits, a walk and six strikeouts over 105 pitches in a 1-0 victory at Anaheim. Christian Vazquez’s RBI single in the second provides the Red Sox with their only run in their fifth straight victory, while the Angels lose for the 12th straight game.

The silver lining for the Angels, if one can be found, is that Mike Trout snaps out of a 0-for-26 skid—the longest of his storied career.

Cincinnati rookie pitcher Hunter Greene gives up a bunt single to the first batter he faces, Arizona’s Daulton Varsho, but Varsho is caught trying to steal second—and Greene doesn’t give up another baserunner on the night, sailing to a one-hit shutout and 7-0 Reds win shortened by rain after seven innings. It is officially Greene’s first career complete game, as he strikes out eight Diamondbacks while throwing 87 pitches.

Tuesday, June 7

Joe Maddon, presiding over the freefall of the Angels in the standings, is fired by the team and thus becomes the second manager with World Series-winning experience in five days to be dismissed. In two-plus years at Anaheim, Maddon could not prompt the Angels over the .500 mark, even with Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani in the lineup; everything seemed to be going right in late May when the team was at 27-17, but a 12-game losing streak seals his fate. Phil Nevin, the Angels’ third-base coach, replaces Maddon—and under his watch, the Angels suffer their 13th straight loss, 6-5 in 10 innings to the visiting Red Sox, to tie a franchise record from 1988-89.

Milwaukee holds a 2-1 home advantage over Philadelphia heading to the top of the ninth, and Brewers closer Josh Hader needs a save to set a major league record for consecutive scoreless appearances at 41. But the Phillies rain on the parade, as Alec Bohm and Matt Vierling each rocket solo homers to cap an eventual 3-2 victory. The two runs are the first given up by Hader in 20 appearances this year—he had allowed just four with 28 strikeouts through 17.2 total innings—and it’s his first runs allowed since last July 28. His 40 straight scoreless appearances tie him in the record books with Houston’s Ryan Pressly in 2018.

Justin Verlander strikes out a season-high 12 batters, passes the sidelined Max Scherzer for the most K’s among active pitchers, while also passing John Smoltz for #18 on the all-time list in the Astros’ 4-1 home win over Seattle. The 39-year-old pitcher now has 3,086 career strikeouts, seven ahead of Scherzer—who’s stuck on the shelf with recent injuries.

Also making moves toward the top of the charts is Albert Pujols, whose fourth-inning single in St. Louis’ 4-2, 10-inning win at Tampa Bay puts him ahead of Paul Molitor for #10 slot on the all-time hit list with 3,320.

Wednesday, June 8

Not even Nickelback can save the falling Angels, who set a franchise mark by losing their 14th straight game, 1-0 at Anaheim to the Red Sox. Boston snares the game’s only run on a sixth-inning RBI double from Brian Dalbec; Nathan Eovaldi throws the first five innings for the Red Sox, followed by four relievers to complete the shutout. No MLB team has suffered as long a skid that began when it was 10 or games over the .500 mark.

To potentially ease the tension, every Angels batter is accompanied to the plate with walk-up music from the 2000s hard rock band Nickelback. It doesn’t do the job, and that would seem obvious based on this one lyric to the group’s hit song Rockstar: “It’s like the bottom of the ninth and I’m never gonna win. This life hasn’t turned out quite the way I want it to be.”

During the 14-game slide, Mike Trout is batting .152 (with a .561 OPS), while Shohei Ohtani is at .191.

Its pitching staff worn down from three straight extra-inning games and a doubleheader this past Saturday, the Cardinals once again turn to Yadier Molina to relieve the relievers. Trailing the Rays at St. Petersburg by an 11-3 count, the future Hall-of-Fame catcher takes the mound for the second time this year and, unlike the first time when he gave up four runs in an inning’s work, keeps the Rays from padding the score despite two hits. The Rays overall collect 18 hits, seven of them for doubles. (The team record is eight.)

The Yankees suffer an 8-1 loss at Minnesota as Nestor Cortes is nicked for four runs over 4.1 innings before his removal. It thus snaps a streak of 19 straight starts in which the young pitcher allows three or fewer runs—one shy of the franchise mark set by Russ Ford from 1910-11.

Thursday, June 9

The Angels are back in the win column, finally ending a long losing skid that had reached franchise record-setting territory. Shohei Ohtani pitches seven strong innings and adds a two-run homer (his 12th of the season), while Andrew Velazquez contributes with a three-run shot (ending a 0-for-22 slump) to account for the Angels’ other runs in a 5-2 win over the visiting Red Sox. The triumph ends a 14-game losing streak for Los Angeles; for Boston, it’s the end of a seven-game win streak.

The Yankees’ Gerrit Cole, who had never given up more than three home runs in any of his previous 245 career starts, surrenders three to the first three Twins he faces at Minnesota. He’ll give up two more before being removed midway through the third inning—and yet the Twins, leading at that point by a 7-2 count, can’t hold it as the Yankees score eight unanswered runs to pull away with a 10-7 victory. New York’s Joey Gallo, having a very Joey Gallo-like night, homers twice to power the Yankee comeback while striking out in his other three at-bats.

Luis Arraez, Byron Buxton and Carlos Correa enter the record books as the seventh trio to lead off a game with three homers; the other six instances have all occurred since 1987. The Twins are the second team, after the Padres from that 1987 game, to lose despite the quick start.

The nine home runs belted between both teams ties a Target Field record.

The Twins’ megadrought against the Yankees continue. Since the start of the 2002 season, Minnesota is 36-93 vs. New York in regular season games—and 38-109 if you throw a 2-16 mark in playoff action against the Yankees. The two teams meet for a four-game series in New York in early September; the Twins will have to win three of those games to avoid a 22nd straight year in which they failed to win a season series over the Yankees.

White Sox manager Tony La Russa faces the music—and sings a stormy rebuttal back at the critics—for making a head-scratching decision that backfires on Chicago and costs it in an 11-9 home loss to the Dodgers. With and the White Sox trailing 7-5 in the top of the sixth, Los Angeles right-handed hitter Trea Turner comes to the plate with two outs and a runner on second, and is down in the count 1-2 against left-hander Bennett Sousa—and that’s when the 77-year-old La Russa, in an interesting and perhaps inexplicable move, decides it’s a good time to give Turner an intentional walk. Left-handed slugger Max Muncy next belts a three-run home run off Sousa that sends the Dodgers over the top. In his postgame chat with reporters, a defiant La Russa defends his move. “Do you know what (Turner) hits against left-handed pitching with 0-1 or two strikes,” he barks. “Do you know what Muncy hits with two strikes against a left-handed pitcher? Is that really a question? We had an open base and Muncy happened to be the guy behind him and that’s a better matchup. That wasn’t a tough call.”

For what it’s worth, Turner had a career .195 average on a 1-2 count entering the game.

Stephen Strasburg makes his first appearance in a year and a week—and his last one for the 2022 season. The opposing Marlins collect three quick runs on the Washington ace, then add four more in the fifth to end his night in a 7-4 victory over the Nationals. Strasburg’s fastball is timed at an average of 91.9, well below his peak velocity of years past; it’s only his eighth start since taking MVP honors in the 2019 World Series against Houston. A few days later, Strasburg goes back on the IL with sore ribs and will not return for the rest of the year.

It’s the first loss suffered by Strasburg against the Marlins since 2015; he had since been 12-0 in 15 starts against them.

Fast times at St. Petersburg: The Rays defeat St. Louis, 2-1, in a game that lasts an hour and 54 minutes—the shortest nine-inning MLB contest since 2015. Ji-Man Choi provides Tampa Bay with all of its scoring offense thanks to a two-run homer in the fifth; Shane McClanahan continues his recent run of stellar pitching by allowing an unearned run on two hits through eight innings, outdueling Miles Mikolas—who goes the distance in taking the defeat for the Cardinals.

Friday, June 10

At Cleveland, the A’s are three outs away from avoiding their first 10-game losing streak in 11 years—but it is not to be, as two Oakland relievers combine to give up three runs in the bottom of the ninth and hand the Guardians a 3-2 victory. The loss ruins eight innings of excellent shutout pitching from A’s starter Paul Blackburn.

The Chicago Cubs have still never won a game at Yankee Stadium, whether it’s the old one or the new. After trading a run via solo home runs through the first nine innings, the Cubs and Yankees take it to extra innings—where the gift runner is no help in the 10th, 11th and 12th frames. Finally in the bottom of the 13th, the Yankees get one across on a Jose Trevino single to win, 2-1. Only two other games have gone longer into extra innings without a run since the advent of the temporary (we hope) gift runner era in 2020.

Trevino’s game-winning hit comes on his son’s birthday. He’s had two other career walk-off hits; one came on 2018 while celebrating his first Father’s Day after the birth of his son, while the other came on May 25 of this year—the birth date of his late father.

The Cubs will ultimately be swept in the three-game series and fall to 0-12 against the Yankees in New York, a record that includes a pair of World Series losses each in 1932 and 1938.

Just call him Steady Joe in San Diego. Not even a game of tic-tac-toe on the mound can distract Joe Musgrove from dialing up six shutout innings in the Padres’ easy 9-0 home win over Colorado, extending a string of starts to begin the season amassing six-plus innings while allowing two or fewer earned runs to 11. Over the last 100 years, only one other pitcher can claim more such starts to begin a year: The Rockies’ Ubaldo Jimenez, with 12 in 2010.

Musgrove will tie Jimenez’s mark in his next start—but then have it end on June 23 when he allows six runs to the Phillies.

It’s a bad day to be a former #1 draft pick. It’s learned that Minnesota’s Royce Lewis, the top pick from 2017 who was batting .300 in 12 games for the Twins, tore his ACL for a second time in two years while making a catch against the wall on May 29; he’s out for the season. Meanwhile, Casey Mize, the #1 pick in the 2018 MLB draft who’s only pitched twice for the Tigers in 2022, will undergo Tommy John surgery and likely won’t be seen on the mound competitively again until midway through the 2023 campaign. In two-plus years at Detroit, the 25-year-old right-hander is 7-13 with a 4.29 ERA.

Saturday, June 11

For one night, at least, the Angels are back to their April/early May selves.  An 11-6 romp of the visiting Mets is primarily powered by three players; Shohei Ohtani and Mike Trout notch out 4-3-3-3 lines in the box score, with Trout mashing two home runs, while Jared Walsh becomes the eighth Angels player to hit for the cycle, adding the hard part (a triple) in his final at-bat in the eighth to drive in the Angels’ last two runs.

The Mets are the only NL East team to lose on the day, as their three nearest competitors—all rebounding from subpar season starts—are each riding streaks of at least five wins. This includes the Braves, who stretch their run to 10 games with a 10-4 rout of the Pirates at Atlanta; and the Phillies, who make it nine in a row as they blank the visiting Diamondbacks, 4-0. Further down in the standings, the Miami Marlins also win their fifth straight, 5-1 at Houston, though they still remain below the .500 mark at 27-30.

In sharp contrast, the NL Central is tanking with four teams currently suffering losing streaks of at least four games. The only reason the Cardinals aren’t part of that group is that they defeat divisional foe Cincinnati, and barely—relying on a two-out, two-run walk-off home run from Tommy Edman to defeat the Reds, 5-4. Despite the win, Paul Goldschmidt fails to reach base safely and ends a 46-game on-base streak that was just nine short of the St. Louis record (55, Stan Musial, 1943).

The worst skid currently experienced by a NL Central team is Milwaukee, which drops its eighth straight—its longest in seven years—with an 8-6 defeat at Washington. Eric Lauer is the latest member of an esteemed Brewers rotation to snap, surrendering eight runs over five innings.

Another slumping NL Central team, the Cubs, have their hats handed to them in New York against the Yankees. In a decisive 8-0 victory, the Yankees get two home runs from Aaron Judge (padding his MLB-leading count to 24) a crushing (119.8 MPH) homer from Giancarlo Stanton, and seven shutout innings from Jordan Montgomery.

Stanton’s home run is the fourth hardest hit in the Statcast Era (since 2015); he smacked two of the three that were smoked at a higher rate.

Clayton Kershaw, sidelined for a month with an inflamed joint, returns to the mound on the day that Dodgers teammate Walker Buehler is declared out of action for the next three months with a strain of his right flexor. The future Hall of Famer strikes out four Giants in four innings at San Francisco, but departs with Los Angeles trailing 2-0; the Dodgers fail to come back in spite of numerous chances, leaving 14 men on base in a 3-2 defeat. Helping the Giants out is a critical, controversial insurance run in the eighth as former Dodger Joc Pederson scores on a wild pitch—though the Dodgers complain that the pitch had hit Brandon Crawford, who swung and missed, and thus the ball should have been ruled dead. Video replays on regional telecasts seem to confirm the Dodgers’ viewpoint, but umpires tell manager Dave Roberts that the call is not subject to review and thus stands.

Sunday, June 12

It takes nine games, but interim Phillies manager Rob Thomson finally has his career 1.000 winning percentage ruined for life as he loses his first game after an 8-0 start, getting shelled by the visiting Diamondbacks, 13-1. It’s a messy day throughout for the Phillies, allowing 12 hits, 11 walks and a hit batsman. It’s their worst loss of the season.

Only Joe Morgan—not the Hall-of-Fame second baseman—had won more games to start a managerial stint without a loss, with 12 in 1988 after taking over for the Red Sox.

While one win streak ends, another continues. The Braves sweep the visiting Pirates, 5-3, for their 11th straight victory. All five Atlanta runs come on four home runs, including two from Adam Duvall, who’s hit four of his six season homers over the last 10 days. Kenley Jansen’s scoreless ninth to close out the win is his 368th career save, tying Jonathan Papelbon for 10th on the all-time list.

Monday, June 13

The Braves extend their winning streak to 12, the longest in MLB season this year, with a 9-5 victory at Washington behind a season-high five home runs—but also endure a bad break in the process. No, not the breaking of Ronald Acuna Jr.’s necklace, but that of shortstop Ozzie Albies’ left foot, fractured as he stumbles and falls out of the batter’s box on a fifth-inning ground ball. It’s likely that Albies, batting .244 with eight homers and 33 RBIs, will miss at least a month.

The Twins, propelled by a quick start thanks to Byron Buxton’s two-run homer in the first, edge the Mariners at Seattle, 3-2, and up their lead in the AL Central to 3.5 games over Cleveland. According to stat master Sarah Langs, Buxton has now hit his last 45 home runs without grounding into a double play—the largest total since MLB officially began counting GIDPs for both leagues in 1940.

Tuesday, June 14

The Cardinals’ Miles Mikolas is one strike away from a no-hitter against the visiting Pirates when rookie Cal Mitchell launches a deep fly ball just beyond the reach of St. Louis center fielder Harrison Bader and over the wall for a ground-rule double. It’s Mikolas’ 129th and final pitch of the night, as he’s immediately removed—but he still easily gets credit for the Cardinals’ 9-1 win, finishing off a day-night doubleheader sweep of the Bucs, who’ve lost nine straight. Mikolas has a no-hitter intact despite giving up an earlier run in the fourth, when Bryan Reynolds reaches on a two-base error and completes the circuit on a pair of ground outs.

Had the Pirates finished the night hitless, they would have been the first MLB team to be no-hit twice in one year despite scoring a run in each game. 

The 33-year-old pitcher’s 129 pitches are the most thrown by a major leaguer this season; no one has thrown 130 or more since Mike Fiers fired a no-hitter in 2019. 

Mikolas’ slightly imperfect gem makes him one of 12 pitchers on the day to throw at least five innings without conceding an earned run, according to STATS. No other single day in MLB history has yielded as many such outings.

A ninth-inning rally by the Angels at Dodger Stadium turns somber when home plate umpire Nate Tomlinson has pieces of Mike Trout’s broken bat penetrate through the open slats of his mask, cutting him above his nose and right eye. Tomlinson avoids serious injury, but as a precaution is taken to the emergency room; Dodgers manager Dave Roberts later says that the sequence—which echoes the near-death of Los Angeles catcher Steve Yeager after he got hit by shards of a broken bat while on deck in 1976—was the “best-case scenario” for Tomlinson, given that his eyes were directly unaffected. As for the rally, Trout’s bloop hit sets up an eventual bases-loaded, one-out situation for the Angels—but Jared Walsh and Max Stassi each strike out, ending the threat and securing a 2-0 win for the Dodgers.

Bob Hope once said, “I’ll take Sweden.” Dylan Cease says, “I’ll take Detroit.” The 26-year-old White Sox right-hander scatters seven hits over 5.1 innings of work against the Tigers, but otherwise allows only one unearned run as Chicago gains a 5-1 road victory. Cease is now 10-0 with a 1.91 ERA in 11 career starts against Detroit; in his 60 starts against everyone else, he’s 17-21 with a 5.25 figure.

Wednesday, June 15

For the first time in major league history, multiple immaculate innings—nine pitches, nine strikes, three outs—are thrown on the same day. But more than that, they’re both accomplished by the same team (the Houston Astros), and against the same three batters (the Rangers’ Nate Lowe, Ezequiel Duran and Brad Miller). In the second inning of the Astros’ 9-2 win at Arlington, starting pitcher Luis Garcia delivers the first immaculate inning; in the seventh, it’s reliever Phil Maton, facing his first three batters of the day after replacing Garcia.

There had been only one immaculate inning achieved this season prior to the Astros’ feat, by the Yankees’ Nestor Cortes on April 17. The two such frames give the Astros nine over their history—tying the Dodgers and Yankees for the most.

For the second night in a row, a pitcher takes a no-hitter into the ninth inning. It happens at Dodger Stadium where Los Angeles’ Tyler Anderson is two outs away from no-hitting the Angels, but after striking out Mike Trout surrenders a triple to Shohei Ohtani to end the bid. At a career-high 123 pitches, Anderson is immediately removed by manager Dave Roberts, and the Dodgers go on to win the game, 4-1.

Ironically, the Angels’ starter is Reid Detmers, who’s thrown the season’s only solo no-hitter. But on this night, he’s gone by the end of the fourth inning—allowing all four Dodgers runs on four hits and three walks.

The Braves sweep the Nationals at Washington to extend their win streak to 14 games—one shy of their modern mark of 15 set in 2000—with an 8-2 victory. Austin Riley belts two of the Braves’ three homers on the night; Atlanta has now connected on 17 round-trippers over their last four games, establishing a franchise record over such a span.

In baseball’s pre-modern era—also known as the 1800s—the Braves put together streaks of 17 (1897), 18 (1891, with a tie embedded) and 26, all won at the beginning of the 1875 season as members of the National Association—though MLB long ago ruled that the NA was officially not a major league.

Craig Counsell becomes the Brewers’ all-time winningest manager, racking up his 564th win to surpass Phil Garner as Milwaukee unloads a 10-2 decision upon the Mets at New York. Corbin Burnes allows a pair of runs on five hits and no walks over six innings, striking out eight—the last of which gives him 100 on the year. He reaches triple-digits on the same day along with Tampa Bay’s Shane McClanahan in a 4-3 loss at New York against the Yankees; they’re the first two to get to 100 this season.

Thursday, June 16

MLB has played in Japan, Mexico, Australia, England…and now, France? The obligatory anonymous person who speaks even though he (or she) is not supposed to speak leaks to the Associated Press that MLB is planning to play a series at Paris’ Stade de France in 2025—and the New York Yankees, for one, are interested. Performing abroad would be nothing new for the Yanks; they played two games against the Red Sox in London during the 2019 season and apparently liked the experience.

Aside from Paris, MLB is looking to schedule games over the next four years in Mexico City, Tokyo, an “Asian” location (not Tokyo), and a return to London.

Friday, June 17

The Braves enter the day with a 14-game win streak and a visit to Chicago, where the Cubs have lost 10 straight games. Easy pick at the sportsbook, right? Wrong. Behind six shutout innings from Keegan Thompson and an eighth-inning sac fly from rookie Christopher Morel, the Cubs edge the Braves, 1-0, ending both streaks. It’s the first time since 1999 that a team with a losing streak of 10 or more games defeats another with a win streak of 10-plus.

For the third time this month, the Angels are no-hit through the first six innings before Max Stassi nets an infield single against the Mariners’ Robbie Ray (who’s finally finding his groove after a poor start). They’ll get a run in the eighth, but it’s far too little, too late in an 8-1 loss at Seattle.

Seattle’s win marks the return to major league action for veteran slugger Justin Upton, released by the Angels earlier this year; he goes 0-for-2 with a strikeout for the Mariners, and his night ends a little early when Michael Lorenzen nails him in the head with a 91-MPH pitch. Lorenzen claims afterward that the balls they’ve been forced to use in this series are especially slick and therefore dangerous; he claims the pitch that hit Upton “slipped” out of his hands. This, a day after teammate Ryan Tepara’s near-meltdown on the mound when he angrily refused ball after ball thrown to him by the umpires because of their slickness. “As a kid you feel like Major League Baseball is the greatest thing ever,” says Lorenzen in postgame comments, “and you get here and you realize, what are they doing? All of a sudden, they’re going to change the baseballs.”

Speaking of Upton and overpaid Angels players, Anthony Rendon is declared out for the season after it’s announced he will undergo wrist surgery. Since signing for seven years and $245 million in 2020, Rendon has had an underwhelming tenure with the Angels, with both injuries and the pandemic sharing in the blame. In 45 games this season, he batted .228 with five homers and 24 RBIs—far from the Rendon of 2014-19 in Washington that sparkled the Angels’ eyes when he became a free agent.

Rendon is evolving into the latest of many hard luck contracts endured by Angels owner Arte Moreno, after Upton, Vernon Wells, Josh Hamilton and many others. Now comes word that he has to decide whether to keep pitcher/slugger Shohei Ohtani, a free agent after next season, for what some are saying now will be a tab of over $50 million a year.

Saturday, June 18

The Tigers, in desperate need of an offensive spark, get one on the day top prospect Riley Greene debuts at the major league level. The 21-year-old center fielder, Detroit’s first-round pick from the 2019 amateur draft, has a pair of runs, hits and walks each to contribute in the Tigers’ 14-7 flattening of the visiting Rangers. For the Tigers, the 14 runs represent a season high and are three more than they scored combined over their previous eight games; for Greene, he’s the eighth major leaguer with multiple runs, hits and walks in his big-league debut and the first since Derek Fisher in 2017.

Mike Trout continues his mastery of the Mariners—especially in Seattle. In the first game of a doubleheader at T-Mobile Park, Trout cranks out a two-run, two-out homer in the 10th to give the Angels a 4-2 overtime win; in the nightcap, his third-inning solo shot initiates the scoring in a 3-0 triumph to secure the sweep. According to STATS, Trout is the first American Leaguer ever to hit three homers that being home the ultimate winning run in a single road series.

In a classy move, the Brewers designate veteran outfielder Lorenzo Cain for assignment. So now you may be asking: What’s so classy about releasing a ballplayer? Because Milwaukee held off on letting Cain go until the day he achieved 10 years of major league service—meaning he’s now entitled to a full pension. That’s especially generous, given that Cain has struggled all season for the Brewers, hitting .179 over 145 at-bats. But even without the pension—and if he never plays another game—Cain should do okay in retirement; he’s earned over $100 million in career wages to date.

Sunday, June 19

In a day of unknowns making home run history, the Pirates’ Jack Suwinski tops them all. The rookie outfielder belts a solo shot to tie the visiting Giants in the fourth inning; belts another two innings later to give them the lead; then cranks out a third to lead off the ninth and provide the game-winner in a 4-3 victory that avoids a weekend sweep by San Francisco. Suwinski is the first rookie to hit three homers with the final one being a game-winner, and the seventh rookie to have a pair of walk-off homers in the same month, having hit a two-run shot on June 4 to win it for the Bucs over Arizona, 2-1.

Elsewhere, four MLB players each hit their first career home runs, with two of them—by Miami’s Jerar Encarnacion and Arizona’s Buddy Kennedy—register as grand slams. Encarnacion’s bases-cleaner comes in his first game, putting the Marlins ahead to stay in a 6-2 victory at New York over the Mets; Kennedy’s sixth-inning slam, in his third MLB contest, gives the Diamondbacks considerable insurance in their 7-1 home triumph over the Twins.

This is the first day with two MLB players hitting slams for their first career homers since April 28, 1921, when the Phillies’ Ralph Miller and Cleveland pitcher George Uhle each cleared the bases; Uhle’s slam was part of a six-RBI day in an 18-5 rout of Ty Cobb’s Tigers.

A rookie pitcher also makes home run history, albeit in unwanted fashion—as Toronto reliever Max Castillo surrenders homers to the first two MLB batters he ever faces (the Yankees’ Kyle Higashioka and Marwin Gonzalez). This makes Castillo the first AL pitcher since the Yankees’ Danny Rios in 1997 to give up homers to his first two career batters. At that point, the Yankees appear to be on their way to their 10th straight win, padding their lead at Toronto to 8-3 in the top of the sixth. But a funny thing happens on the way to the clubhouse; the Blue Jays strike for seven unanswered runs over the next two innings and hold on to suppress late New York rallies to defeat the Yankees, 10-9. Loudres Gurriel Jr.’s sixth-inning grand slam is the Blue Jays’ prime blow in their comeback.

A day after Mike Trout became the first AL player ever to bring home the ultimate game-winning run with a homer three times in a single road series, he becomes the first to do it four times. His two-run shot in the fourth breaks the ice and spurs the Angels toward a 4-0 win at Seattle. Los Angeles takes four games in an unusual five-game series expanded by the postponement of the season’s first week due to the spring lockout of players; Trout’s 52 career homers against the Mariners ties Rafael Palmeiro for the most ever hit off Seattle pitchers.

The Padres think they see their season flashing before their eyes at Colorado when All-Star third baseman Manny Machado, off to a terrific start for San Diego, slips on the first-base bag while attempting to beat out a ground ball and appears to suffer a gruesome, ankle-turning injury. Incredibly, x-rays are negative and Machado gets away with a sprained ankle that will cost him 10 days—and that’s a far better prognosis than initially feared. The Padres, meanwhile, are swept by the Rockies in three, losing 8-3; they remain a half-game back of the Dodgers (who are also defeated, 5-3 by the visiting Guardians) in the NL West.

Monday, June 20

The Yankees’ 4-2 victory at St. Petersburg shows two teams going in opposite directions. For the Yankees, it’s their 50th win—tied for the sixth best start in MLB history. For the usually stubborn Rays, it’s their eighth loss over their last 10 games—and worse, they lose two outfielders on the night when perennial Gold Glover Kevin Kiermaier leaves midway through with a hip injury, followed by a knee sprain suffered by Manuel Margot after he runs into the wall in the ninth inning. Both are headed for the Injury List. For the Yankees, Gerrit Cole leads the charge from the mound, taking a no-hit bid into the eighth before leadoff batter Issac Paredes lines a single up the middle. It’s the second time in four starts that the Yankee ace has held his opponents hitless into at least the seventh; he departs after 7.1 innings with just the one hit, a run, three walks and 12 strikeouts in outdueling the Rays’ Shane McClanahan. But he fails to get credit for the win as the Rays temporarily tie the game off reliever Clay Holmes, who has his consecutive scoreless inning streak of 31.1 innings snapped. While that’s short of the all-time Yankees record (Al Orth, 39 innings, 1905), his streak of 29 consecutive scoreless appearances does set a club mark.

The 50-17 start for New York is the best seen in the majors after 67 games since the 2001 Mariners began at 52-15. That start is topped only by the 1912 New York Giants, who won 54 of their first 67 (losing 12 and settling for a tie). Interesting to note: Neither the Mariners nor Giants won the World Series after those flaming starts. The 1928 and 1939 Yankees also had slightly better starts, with 51-16 records. Both of those teams did ultimately win it all.

A day after rookie Jack Suwinski starred for Pittsburgh with three home runs, a pair of new arrivals further breathe big life into the Pirates during their 12-1 home win over the Cubs—easily their biggest win of the year. Outfielder Bligh Madris cranks out three singles, the most hits by a Pirates player making his debut since Jason Kendall in 1996. Batting in front of him in the lineup is 6’7” Oneil Cruz, the tallest shortstop in MLB history; in his 2022 debut, he clears the bases on a third-inning double and later adds an RBI single.

According to Statcast, Cruz’s double leaves his bat at 112.9 MPH; one of his throws to first base is clocked at 96.7 MPH; and he runs the bases at a clip of 31.5 feet per second. All three numbers are the highest recorded by a Pirates player since Statcast officially commenced in 2015.

Having played in the Pirates’ final two games of the 2021 season, Cruz is the first player to have multiple total bases, an RBI hit and a run in each of his first three career games…since Joe DiMaggio in 1936.

Dave Wickersham, one of four major leaguers who can say they played for the A’s and Royals when both clubs were located in Kansas City, passes away at the age of 86. The Erie, Pennsylvania-born right-hander played for the A’s from 1960-63, then moved on to Detroit—where in his first season with the Tigers enjoyed his finest year, posting a 19-12 record and 3.44 ERA. But he gradually transformed into a reliever late in the decade, and played his final season with the Royals during their inaugural 1969 campaign. Overall, Wickersham was 68-57 with a 3.66 ERA; he was the oldest living former Royals player.

Tuesday, June 21

The Royals outlast the Angels at Anaheim in 12 innings, 12-11, as multiple players put forth prodigious displays of offense. Kansas City rookie Bobby Witt Jr. has his best day yet with his first multiple-homer game, adding a double and driving in four runs; teammate Carlos Santana matches a career mark with five RBIs on four hits; the Angels’ Shohei Ohtani notches a personal-best eight RBIs on a double and two homers—including a three-run blast in the bottom of the ninth to send the game into extras; and the Halos’ Jared Walsh, who just 10 days earlier hit for the cycle, comes within a single of doing it again but falls short of the achievement by flying and fouling out in his final two at-bats.

Ohtani’s eight RBIs is a single-game record for a Japanese-born major leaguer. They’re also the most knocked in by any player in a game in which his team never had the lead.

Tampa Bay’s Isaac Paredes becomes the latest in a line of unusual candidates (after Lane Thomas and Jack Suwinski) to collect three home runs, grabbing the hat trick in the Rays’ 5-4 home win over the Yankees. Batting .181 with five homers entering the game, the part-time shortstop—sent over to the Rays from Detroit for Austin Meadows (who’s bombed with the Tigers) before the year—goes deep in the first, third and fifth innings; his bid for a fourth ends with his being hit by a pitch. Tampa Bay’s other run comes on a solo homer from Harold Ramirez, who lofts a fly ball 323 feet over the left-field corner fence; it leaves his bat at 85.4 MPH, making it the slowest home run (over-the-fence kind) posted by Statcast since it began officially tracking these things in 2015.

In the Reds’ 8-2 loss to the Dodgers, Joey Votto becomes the only active ballplayer with 1,000 hits at a single ballpark, collecting two hits to reach the milestone at Cincinnati’s Great American Ball Park. The Cardinals’ Yadier Molina, currently on the injury shelf, has 997 at his home park of Busch Stadium in St. Louis.

In response to recent criticism of inconsistency and slickness of baseballs, MLB releases a memo to all teams informing them of a mandatory new process to ensure a more consistent feel of the ball. Every ball must be stored in a humidor 14 days before the day of its use in a game, and after been taken out needs to be rubbed with mud to provide a more natural tack. Pitchers have complained that the relative slickness of balls have resulted in an inability to control pitches, with some hitters getting hit as a result—as the Mariners’ Justin Upton found out the hard way last week after getting beaned by the Angels’ Michael Lorenzen.

Wednesday, June 22

Here’s something even Babe Ruth would look at and go, “Wow”: The Angels’ Shohei Ohtani, a night after knocking in eight runs, takes the mound and throws eight shutout innings, allowing just two hits and striking out 13, in a 5-0 home win over Kansas City. Both the RBI and strikeout counts, coming on consecutive nights, represent career highs for Ohtani; Ruth never reached such numbers throughout his legendary career, establishing personal bests with seven RBIs (four times) and 11 strikeouts (in a 1915 start for the Red Sox).

A night after an awful balls-and-strikes performance by veteran umpire Doug Eddings in Toronto’s 7-6, 12-inning loss at Chicago to the White Sox, Blue Jays hitting coach Guillermo Martinez is ejected while exchanging lineup cards before the game, getting a chance to castigate Eddings for missing numerous calls—many of them favoring the White Sox. You can bet that Martinez volunteered to do the deed, fall on the sword and thus miss out on the game to follow—won by Toronto, 9-5. Martinez will be suspended for five games because of his actions.

There had been 10 instances of a player for the Baltimore Orioles (and the St. Louis Browns before them) hitting for the cycle. But none of those—along with perhaps every other cycle in MLB history—were likely achieved in a game lasting fewer innings than during the Orioles’ rain-shortened, 6½-inning, 7-0 home win over Washington. Outfielder Austin Hays reaches on an infield single in the first, homers to lead off the third, triples in the fourth, and completes the cycle with an RBI double in the sixth—all before a second rain delay permanently ends the proceedings midway through the seventh inning.

The Cleveland Guardians, 7.5 games out of first place in the AL Central barely three weeks ago, have sole possession of the division lead after a stirring comeback at Minnesota over the Twins—who had held the top spot for much of the season to date. With four runs in the ninth, the Guardians take an 11-10 victory for their 17th win in 21 games. Outfielder Oscar Gonzalez knocks in four runs, including two on a ninth-inning single to feature in the Guardians’ victorious rally.

Thursday, June 23

On the eve of his arbitration hearing to determine his 2022 salary, the Yankees’ Aaron Judge rips a base hit down the left-field line to bring home the winning run and cap a four-run rally in the ninth to defeat the visiting Astros, 7-6. It’s the 15th straight home win for the Yankees, matching their longest since their fabled 1961 season of Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle. Aaron Hicks’ three-run homer earlier provides the Yankees with their other runs in the ninth off Houston closer Ryan Pressly, who suffers his third blown save of the year.

Judge and the Yankees will agree to split the difference between them on arbitration; Judge will get $19 million, halfway between the $21 million he wanted and the $17 million the Yankees were offering. The All-Star slugger is set to become a free agent at season’s end, and he refuses to negotiate for any extension with the Yankees during the year—likely meaning he’ll fully test the free agent market this coming offseason.

The Braves finish off a series victory over the visiting Giants, 7-6, behind Dansby Swanson’s two homers and the 369th career save for Kenley Jansen, giving him sole possession of the #10 spot on the all-time list. Jansen earns the save despite giving up a home run to former Brave (and, like Jansen, former Dodger) Joc Pederson, that narrows the Atlanta advantage to a single run.

In Oakland, the A’s notch a first-inning run off Seattle’s Robbie Ray—and that 1-0 edge holds for eight innings as Frankie Montas no-hits the Mariners until back-to-back singles with two outs in the eighth. Taking over in the ninth, Oakland relievers Zach Jackson and A.J. Puk also combine to no-hit the Mariners—but walk four and throw two wild pitches, netting Seattle two runs that will give them a 2-1 victory. With the loss, the A’s retain their status as the majors’ worst team at 23-48; their 8-28 home mark is by far MLB’s worst, on pace to set the franchise record held by the 1915 Athletics (19-53).

Friday, June 24

Freddie Freeman returns to Atlanta for the first time since departing to the Dodgers via free agency and, while finally collecting his 2021 World Series ring, gets a roaring round of approval from the sellout Truist Park gathering of 42,105—obvious acknowledgement from Braves supporters who know their team did little to nothing to bring Freeman back. In the game to follow, Freeman will single, walk twice and score two of the Dodgers’ four runs in a 4-1 victory; another former long-time Brave, closer Craig Kimbrel, earns the save for Los Angeles.

There is bad news on the night for the Dodgers; veteran reliever Daniel Hudson, having a solid year (2.22 ERA in 25 appearances), tears his ACL while trying to chase down a slow grounder from Ronald Acuna Jr. and will miss the rest of the season.

The Yankees have their 15-game win streak at home ended by the Astros, who prevail 3-1 behind Justin Verlander’s seven sharp innings and Kyle Tucker’s three-run homer in the sixth that accounts for all of Houston’s scoring. Verlander’s three strikeouts give him 3,097 for his career, nudging him ahead of former Yankee CC Sabathia for #17 on the all-time list.

On a night where the under prevails—only one game (Toronto’s 9-4 victory at Milwaukee) scores more runs that the sportsbooks predict while another (Boston’s 6-3 win at Cleveland) ends in a “push,” or tie—the Padres edge the visiting Phillies, 1-0, in a game where the only run occurs on a sixth-inning single from Austin Nola—hit off his brother, Phillies starter Aaron Nola. It’s said to be the first time since at least 1920 that a major leaguer knocked in the lone run of a game off his brother.

Meanwhile in Phillieland, Mark Appel—the #1 pick in the 2013 Amateur Draft—has finally made it to the big leagues. The Phillies activate the 30-year-old right-hander, who was selected #1 by the Astros but struggled to elevate his status in the minors; with little success and abundant shoulder pain, he quit the game in 2018. He returned last season and his struggles continued in the Phillies’ organization—until they converted him to a reliever; this season at Triple-A Lehigh Valley, Appel is 5-0 with a 1.61 ERA and five saves in 19 appearances.

It took 11 starts, but Zack Greinke finally nabs his first victory of the year—and his first in a Royals uniform since 2010, as he allows a run on three hits over six innings in a 3-1 home victory over the woebegone A’s (23-49). Alas for Kansas City, that’s not the biggest news of the day; it’s learned that All-Star catcher Salvador Perez will be out nearly two months to undergo surgery on his thumb. Perez is batting .211 and was on pace for roughly 25 homers and 75 RBIs—far off his pace of an MLB-leading 48 homers and 121 RBIs last season.

Saturday, June 25

It’s déjà vu all over again for the Houston Astros, who use three pitchers to toss a combined no-hitter against the Yankees at New York—19 years after they used six hurlers to hold the Yankees hitless. Cristian Javier is the headliner on the mound for the Astros, striking out an electrifying 13 batters with one walk through the first seven innings; Hector Neris walks two in the eighth but keeps the Yankees off the hit counter; and Ryan Pressly wraps up the 3-0 win with a perfect ninth, striking out two. It’s the first no-hitter thrown at new Yankee Stadium, opened in 2009; it’s only the sixth time that the Yankees have ever been held hitless at home, having previously been no-hit by Cy Young at Hilltop Park in 1908, Ray Caldwell at the Polo Grounds in 1919, and Bob Feller (1946), Virgil Trucks (1952) and those six Astros pitchers (2003) at old Yankee Stadium.

This is the 18th combined no-hitter thrown in MLB history; nine of them have taken place since 2012, with four of the last six using multiple pitchers. The Astros are the first team to throw three multiples; their 14 overall no-no’s are the most by any team born after 1960—and more than seven “original” teams whose histories go back to 1901 and beyond. 

Martin Maldonado is the first MLB catcher to be behind the plate for two multiple-pitcher no-hitters.

The Phillies’ Bryce Harper, already reduced to the DH role since being afflicted with a strained elbow, will now be reduced to the Injury List for the foreseeable future after having his thumb broken on a Blake Snell 97-MPH fastball during Philadelphia’s 4-2 win at San Diego. A frustrated Harper initially barks at Snell upon getting up, but quickly realizes he’s being a jerk about it and apologizes. Still, the injury is sure to add more challenge upon a Phillies team that’s been put through the wringer in an up-and-down season that’s already cost one manager’s job (Joe Girardi). If the playoffs began today, the star-studded Phillies would not be a participant.

Seattle’s Eugenio Suarez becomes the first major league hitter this season to strike out 100 times, being punched out twice in the Mariners’ 5-3 win over the Angels at Anaheim. Suarez is on pace to finish the year with 222 strikeouts—one shy of Mark Reynolds2009 record.

Sunday, June 26

Bad blood between the Mariners and Angels spills over at Anaheim with a nasty brawl that stops the game for 18 minutes and results in the ejections of (only) six players and both managers, in a game ultimately won by the Angels, 2-1. The background: The day before, Angels All-Star outfielder Mike Trout was nearly beaned on a 95-MPH fastball from the Mariners’ Erik Swanson, enraging Angels players and coaches.  (It’s possible that the feud simmers back to the previous week’s five-game series between the two teams, in which the Mariners’ Justin Upton was beaned.)

In the first inning of today’s game, Los Angeles reliever Andrew Wantz—getting a last-minute start as an ‘opener’—throws high and behind Julio Rodriguez in the first inning; in the second, his very first pitch hits Jesse Winker in the buttocks. At first, Winker has his hands held outward, expecting some kind of punishment from the umpires. But then he hears carping from the Angels’ dugout aimed at him, infuriating him to the point that he decides to run over and take the Angels head on. As Seattle teammates rush from behind to assist/bail out Winker, the scene gets ugly—with multiple punches, take-downs and pins against the dugout suite netting. After an initial settling down, the scrum gets violent again, leading to more chaos. After things cool a second time and the umpires figure out who to eject, Angels closer Raisel Iglesias tries to single-handedly start things up again by throwing a box of seeds toward the Mariners’ dugout—followed by a bucket of bubble gum. As for Winker, he adds an ugly touch to the sequence by twice flipping off booing Angels fans.

The other five players ejected are Wantz, Iglesias, Rodriguez, Seattle shortstop J.P. Crawford and Angels pitcher Ryan Tepera. 

A day later, punishment will be doled out; the biggest suspension is levied upon Nevin, who MLB claims instigated the whole mess by ordering Wantz (three games) to plunk Winker (seven games). Crawford and Angels assistant pitching coach Don Chiti both receive a five-game ban, as does the Angels’ Anthony Rendon—who’s currently on the Injured List yet, sprouting out of his seat in the dugout, landed the first punch on Winker with the cast he was wearing on his injured wrist. Six others receive bans of anywhere from one-to-three games. 

A further cost upon the Angels is revealed a couple of days later when it’s learned that reliever Archie Bradley broke his elbow during the fracas and will miss up to a month of action. Bottom line: The actions of Nevin will not reflect well on his chances of retaining the gig for the long term.

A day after being no-hit at home by the Astros, the Yankees are in danger of becoming the first team to suffer back-to-back no-hit losses, as Houston’s Jose Urquidy keeps New York hitless one out into the seventh inning before Giancarlo Stanton’s solo home run finally gets the Yankees in the hit (and run) column. Urquidy departs after seven innings with a 3-1 lead, but the Astros’ pen can’t hold it; DJ LeMahieu belts a two-run homer to tie the game in the eighth and then, in the bottom of the 10th, Aaron Judge walks it off with his MLB-leading 28th homer, a three-run shot to give the Yankees a 6-3 decision.

Before Stanton’s homer, the Yankees were hitless in 52 previous at-bats. The 16.1 consecutive innings without a hit was the longest seen in the majors since at least 1961.

The Yankees bat .123 in the series, the lowest ever by an AL team that didn’t lose a four-game series (they split with the Astros).

Monday, June 27

With the majors’ worst record, the A’s are on their way to making a lot of sportsbook bettors happy as they hold an early 5-1 lead at New York against the majors’ best team, the Yankees—who are listed as -300 favorites to win. But then reality sets in; the Yankees chip away with single runs in the fourth and fifth innings—and then in the seventh, they pile up six runs thanks to seven baserunners, four of them courtesy of a walk, hit-by-pitch and two cases of catcher’s interference granted to batters. The Yankees never look back, defeating Oakland 9-5 and improving to 54-20—while the A’s are halfway to 100 losses with their 50th defeat a week before the season’s midway point.

The Yankees are the first team ever to accomplish four wins in a six-game stretch, with all four victories achieved after trailing at some point by three or more runs.

The first complete game in nearly three weeks is achieved at, of all places, Colorado’s Coors Field against, of all teams, the Los Angeles Dodgers, as the Rockies’ Chad Kuhl delivers a rare shutout at the offensive-fueled, mile-high ballyard. Kuhl needs just 102 pitches to silence the Dodgers in a 4-0 win. It’s the 27th shutout thrown by a pitcher since Coors Field opened in 1995; Tom Glavine is the only one with multiple blankings.

One of the season’s first significant trades takes place when the Royals send veteran first baseman Carlos Santana to Seattle for two right-handed pitchers, only one of them (Wyatt Mills) with scant major league experience. The 36-year-old Santana has continued to slip, batting .216 with four homers in 52 games so far this year—though he can still draw the walks, with 36 accrued, and has hit the ball well of late.

With Santana gone, waiting in the wings to take his place is Vinnie Pasquantino, a big left-handed slugger who’s drilled 18 homers with 67 RBIs in 69 games this year for Triple-A Omaha.

Tuesday, June 28

Jesse Winker, eligible to play after appealing his seven-game ban for his role in the melee against the Angels, cracks a two-run double to provide the Mariners with all of their runs in a 2-0 home victory over Baltimore. Robbie Ray and two relievers limit the Orioles to a single hit; third-year pitcher Dean Kramer, in tossing seven shutout innings for Baltimore, ties an Orioles record with three straight starts throwing five or more innings allowing no runs.

Atlanta closer Kenley Jansen, who’s had two previous surgeries performed on his heart, has been placed on the IL after he began experiencing an irregular heartbeat. Jansen had his heart worked on in 2012 and 2018; he has saved 20 games with a 3.58 ERA in his first season with the Braves after 12 years with the Dodgers.

Wednesday, June 29

Bryan Reynolds becomes the second Pirates player this month to smack three home runs in a game, turning the hat trick in an 8-7 victory at Washington. Reynolds’ first blast, a two-run shot in the first inning, puts Pittsburgh ahead; his third homer, a three-run clout in the seventh, caps the Pirate scoring and puts them ahead to stay.

The power effort from Reynolds follows Jack Suwinski’s three-homer performance for the Pirates on June 19. The 10 days between both hat tricks sets a Pirates mark, barely beating out the 11 days between a pair of three-homer games—both from Hall of Famer Willie Stargell—in 1971. Only in two other seasons have the Pirates seen multiple three-homer games; in 1947 (both by Ralph Kiner) and in 1958.

Justin Verlander becomes the season’s first 10-game winner, tossing eight shutout innings in the Astros’ 2-0 win at New York over the Mets. Houston breaks a scoreless tie with two outs in the ninth when Jason Castro punches out his first homer of the season; Ryan Pressly wraps it up with his 16th save.

The Astros do not finish the game pain-free; in the eighth, a pop fly to short left center is chased after by left fielder Yordan Alvarez and shortstop Jeremy Pena from opposite directions—and the two collide. Pena holds onto the ball for the out, but both are knocked out of the game—with Alvarez being carted off the field. Both are seen afterward walking in the clubhouse, but at upload time it’s unknown as to their playing status.

It appears firmly established that Miami pitcher Sandy Alcantara is the closest current thing to a major league workhorse. After the Marlins notch a pair of runs on Avisail Garcia’s two-out homer in the ninth to take a 4-3 lead at St. Louis, the bullpen is told to stand down as Alcantara finishes off his second complete game of the season; he would have three, but his nine shutout frames on June 8 against the Nationals doesn’t count because the game continued on to extra innings without him. Alcantara is the major league leader in complete games, innings (115.1) and total pitches (1,639); he’s also thrown at least seven innings in each of his last 10 starts.

Thursday, June 30

A day after Bryan Reynolds’ hat trick for the Pirates, teammate Michael Perez equals him with three clouts of his own, driving in five runs—the final three capping the scoring in Pittsburgh’s 8-7 win over the visiting Brewers. Perez adds a single to make it a 4-for-4 night; he had entered the game with a .129 average over 85 at-bats on the year. The Pirates become the first team in major league history with a trio of three-homer games from their players in a calendar month. The back-to-back efforts from Perez and Reynolds represent the second time that’s ever happened in MLB history, after Marcell Ozuna and Adam Duvall for the Braves on September 1-2, 2020.

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