This Great Game Comebacker

The Month That Was in Baseball: May 2022

Have Position-Player Pitchers Become MLB’s Mercy Rule?
Heaven Receives an Angell    Scandal Over Angel Stadium

April 2022    Comebacker Index    June 2022


Sunday, May 1

The Pittsburgh Pirates bow to the visiting San Diego Padres, 5-2, and in the process establish a major league record to start a season by not having a starting pitcher earn a win in any of their first 22 games; the bullpen has gotten credit for all nine wins the Bucs have so far registered. The old record belonged to the 1988 Baltimore Orioles, who infamously lost their first 21 games. Picking up the win for the Padres is former Pirate Joe Musgrove, who’s now 4-0 on the year. 

After those awful Orioles of 1988, the Cincinnati Reds have now joined the list of teams with the next worst start after 22 games of any regular season. With their 10-1 defeat by the Colorado Rockies at Denver, the Reds are now 3-19—tied with the 2003 Detroit Tigers, 1992 Kansas City Royals and 1936 St. Louis Browns for the second-worst start to a season, by the record. The unwanted achievement is academic almost from the start, as the Reds give up nine runs within the first two innings to the Rockies; starting pitcher Reiver Sanmartin gives up six of those runs and is now 0-4 with a 13.78 ERA—the worst figure for any pitcher having tossed 15 or more innings thus far in 2022. 

Kevin Gausman continues his hot start in his first year at Toronto, allowing two runs on six hits with 10 strikeouts and no walks as the Blue Jays edge the visiting Houston Astros, 3-2. The former San Francisco ace is the first pitcher since Cy Young, in 1906, to go five starts into a season with a minimum of 20 innings without allowing either a walk or home run. On the year, Gausman has struck out 41, 17 shy of the MLB record to start a season—set last year by Milwaukee’s Corbin Burnes

The New York Mets take care of the visiting Philadelphia Phillies, 10-6, despite the continued efforts of Kyle Schwarber. The first-year Phillie blasts two home runs and now has 12 in his last 11 games against New York; no other major leaguer has ever hit that many homers over an 11-game stretch against a single team. 

Ben Joyce throws the fastest pitch in college baseball history, dialing up 105.5 on the radar gun for the University of Tennessee in a game against Auburn. Joyce’s delivery is, in fact, the second fastest recorded, period; Aroldis Chapman threw 105.8 during his 2010 rookie season with the Reds. Joyce is a reliver who has thus far appeared in 19 games for the Volunteers, recording a 2-1 record with a 0.86 ERA and 38 strikeouts over 21 innings; he’s allowed nine hits and walked six. A redshirt junior who’s rebounding from Tommy John surgery, Joyce missed the 2021 season. 

Monday, May 2

Veteran second baseman Robinson Cano, trying to rediscover his groove at age 39 after being suspended for PED usage in 2021, is released by the Mets as MLB teams enter May forced to reduce team rosters by two players down to 26. Cano performed part-time for the Mets in April and batted .195 with a home run over 41 at-bats; he’s the closest active major leaguer to 3,000 hits (with Albert Pujols and Miguel Cabrera having passed the milestone), but at his age, salary ($44 million owed through 2023) and baggage, the odds do not favor him getting there—let alone getting another shot at playing every day with another team. 

Eleven days later, Cano will get that shot—as the San Diego Padres sign him after passing through waivers. 

Tuesday, May 3

Dusty Baker becomes the 12th manager in major league history with 2,000 wins, reaching the milestone with the Astros in their 4-0 win at Houston behind solo home runs from Jose Altuve and Yordan Alvarez and 5.1 shutout innings of work on the mound from Cristian Javier. Of the 11 other managers in the 2,000 Club, only two (Connie Mack and Bruce Bochy) have a lower winning percentage than Baker’s .534, while only Bochy is not in the Hall of Fame—in part because he has yet to be placed on a ballot. 

It’s a doubly good night for Baker; his son Darren Baker—yes, the one who at age 3 had to be pulled out of harm’s way by the Giants’ J.T. Snow—hits a walk-off single for the Class-A Wilmington Blue Rocks in their 3-2 win over Bowling Green. 

Wednesday, May 4

Rowdy Tellez sets a Milwaukee Brewers record by knocking in eight runs, providing the damage on a single, double and two home runs—including a third-inning grand slam—to help demolish the visiting Reds, 18-4. The hopeless Reds drop their seventh straight game and their 12th straight on the road; no NL team has had as worse a start to the season since the 1894 Washington Nationals, who also began at 3-21. (Those Nationals disbanded after the 1899 season and bare no connection to the current-day Nats.) In modern, post-1900 times, only the 1988 Orioles (1-23) and 2003 Tigers (3-21) can match or do one worse than the Reds. 

Adam Wainwright is practically flawless for seven shutout innings at Kansas City, allowing only a single and walk on 89 pitches while Nolan Arenado drives in five runs to give the St. Louis Cardinals an easy 10-0 victory. It’s the 202th career win for Wainwright when Yadier Molina is doing the catching behind the plate, tying a major league record held by the Boston/Milwaukee Braves’ Warren Spahn and Del Crandall

The Yankees’ 11-game win streak, the majors’ longest this season, is snapped in Toronto as the Blue Jays squeak out a 2-1 victory. But New York doesn’t go without a fight; manager Aaron Boone is ejected in the eighth for arguing balls and strikes, and the Yankees load the bases in the ninth before Isiah Kiner-Falefa’s bid for a game-tying infield hit is denied as Toronto first baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr. splits his legs to the ground to reach out and grab Matt Chapman’s throw for the final out. 

The Arizona Diamondbacks grab a come-from-behind, 8-7 victory at Miami on Pavin Smith’s two-run homer in the ninth for their third straight win and a 13-13 record after a poor start. But the moment everyone’s talking about in this game is the ejection of Arizona pitcher Madison Bumgarner after just one inning. Still seething that a couple of his pitches weren’t called strikes, Bumgarner undergoes the usual check of foreign substances of his hand by first-base umpire Dan Bellino. And although Bellino is feeling Bumgarner’s hand, he’s staring at the pitcher’s face, as if trying to provoke a reaction or draw a guilty look out of him. Bumgarner notices and has some choice words for Bellino—who quickly throws him out of the game. 

Former MLB pitcher Dan Haren tweets: “(The ejection) was completely instigated by Dan Bellino, was staring at Bum until he looked at Bellino in the eyes. Wanted to throw him out. He was targeted, Bellino needs to be disciplined. Complete BS.” 

Bellino will later apologize, stating, “When I began my MLB career almost 15 years ago, I received some good advice. I was told to umpire every game as if my children were sitting in the front row. I fell short of those expectations this week. While I can’t go back and change what happened, I take full accountability. I will learn from this incident, and I sincerely apologize.” 

Thursday, May 5

Nobody gives the Mets much of a chance when they enter the ninth inning at Philadelphia trailing, 7-1; in their previous 330 games when down by six or more runs entering the final frame, they hadn’t won. But the 2022 Mets appear to be something special, and they show why as they bounce back with seven runs in the ninth to stun the Phillies, 8-7, for their NL-best 19th win. Starling Marte, who begins the rally with an infield single and later scores on Francisco Lindor’s home run, returns to the plate and drives in the game-winner by doubling home Brandon Nimmo

It’s the first time any MLB team has come from behind that late and that far down in 857 games to triumph. Only twice before had the Mets done it, in 1973 (with 42-year-old Willie Mays getting the game-winning hit), and in 1997. 

Not even rookie pitcher Hunter Greene, one of the few bright spots so far for the otherwise woe-be-way-gone Reds, can save the club as it suffers another hammering from the Brewers at Milwaukee. While Greene strikes out seven in just 2.2 innings of work, he also surrenders eight runs on five homers, which is the reason he doesn’t make it out of the third. From there, the Brewers ease to a 10-5 romp, handing the Reds their ninth straight loss, 13th straight on the road, and dropping their overall record to 3-22. 

Only one other Reds pitcher has given up as many homers in fewer innings over a single appearance: Frank Pastore, another rookie who served up five in 2.1 innings during a relief appearance against the Dodgers in 1979. 

For the Orioles, who had hit just six home runs over their first 12 home games of the year as the left-field fences were moved back at Oriole Park at Camden Yards, a simple solution is found: Just hit it farther. That they do, launching five solo homers to account for all of their scoring on the day in a 5-3 victory over Minnesota. Ryan Mountcastle hits the Orioles’ first dinger on the day in the second inning, and the last in the eighth just one batter after Austin Hays breaks a 3-3 tie with a 409-foot blast to left. 

Friday, May 6

The Giants lose their fifth straight game with a 3-2 home defeat to the Cardinals courtesy of Dylan Carlson’s ninth-inning RBI single off Camilo Doval. Two Giants pitchers before that, reliever Sean Hjelle makes his major league debut, throwing a perfect seventh on 11 pitches. But the real story is Hjelle’s height; at 6’11”, he ties pitcher Jon Rauch (who played from 2002-13) as the tallest-ever major leaguer. The Minnesota native, who turns 25 today, leaves a first impression as a freak of nature, with a neck that even a giraffe might envy

In his seventh game back with Atlanta after an extended knee injury, Ronald Acuna Jr. crushes his first home run of 2022—but while the ball is traveling 450 feet to its landing spot, Acuna is falling over himself to begin the trot. The self-inflicted knockdown isn’t enough for the Braves, who lose at home to the rampaging (19-8) Brewers, 6-3. 

Saturday, May 7

The Reds snap their latest losing streak, a nine-game skid, with a 9-2 victory over the visiting Pirates in the first game of a doubleheader set up by bad weather the previous night. The game is tied at 2-2 going to the bottom of the eighth, but a pivotal move is forced upon the Pirates as second baseman/outfielder Josh VanMeter is asked to take over the catcher’s spot after Roberto Perez suffers a hamstring injury; backup catcher Andrew Knopp isn’t available after earlier being ejected for barking at umpires from the dugout a few innings earlier. VanMeter, who hasn’t played catcher since summer ball at the age of 14, lets a wild pitch get past, and his inability to frame pitches leads to three walks; overall, the Reds collect seven runs in the eighth to roll away with their rare win. 

Two weeks after securing his 3,000th career hit, Detroit’s Miguel Cabrera nets another milestone by becoming the 18th major leaguer to collect 600 doubles. Cabrera’s bloop two-bagger to left in the third inning brings home the game’s first two runs at Houston, but the Astros rebound with one in the bottom of the third and two more in the eighth to triumph over the Tigers, 3-2. Detroit’s 8-18 record is the AL’s worst. 

Another big round figure is achieved in San Francisco, where Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina brings home his 1,000th career run in a 13-7 loss to the Giants. Molina is one of eight active players with 1,000 RBIs; St. Louis teammate Albert Pujols is one of the other seven, while fellow Cardinals Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado will likely join the list either this year or next. 

Before this game, another catcher makes news as recently retired Giant Buster Posey is given a big ceremony to honor his career, which should lead him into the Hall of Fame. The tribute includes appearances by ex-teammates—including Bengie Molina, who Posey replaced at catcher in 2010—former manager Bruce Bochy, and film director Chris Columbus (Mrs. Doubtfire, the first two Harry Potter movies), who hands Posey an Emmy award for his various work in commercials, both local and national. 

Toronto splits a doubleheader at Cleveland, winning the first game 8-3 behind six strong innings from first-year Blue Jay (and former Giant) Kevin Gausman, who serves up his first walk of the season after striking out 45. It’s the third-highest total of K’s without a walk to start a season, following Corbin Burnes’ 58 (last year) and closer Kenley Jansen’s 51 (2017). In defeat, Cleveland ace Shane Bieber gives up a career-high seven runs over 3.1 innings, walking three—and striking out none. 

Sunday, May 8

Max Scherzer takes his first regular season loss in nearly a year, ending a streak of 24 straight starts as he and the Mets are edged in the first game of a doubleheader at Philadelphia, 3-2. It’s not that Scherzer pitches all that badly; he allows three runs on 10 hits through six innings, striking out seven while walking none. Scherzer’s last regular season defeat came on May 30, 2021 when, while during another quality start, he took a 3-0 loss to Milwaukee while still pitching for the Washington Nationals; he did lose once in the 2021 postseason. 

During his 24-start run, Scherzer was 15-0 with a 2.55 ERA. It encompassed employment for three different teams: The Nationals, Dodgers and Mets. 

The Giants split a four-game series against the visiting Cardinals with a 4-3 win, and in doing so almost pull off a rare feat for this day and age. The last Giants batter on the day, Joc Pederson, strikes out for the final out of the eighth; it’s the first time all day that a San Francisco batter is K’d. The last time any team when through a full MLB game without striking out was the Royals, back on September 7, 2017 against Minnesota.

Monday, May 9

The Cleveland Guardians score six in the ninth at Chicago to tie the White Sox, then add three more in the 11th to take a startling come-from-behind 12-9 victory that will be forever be known as the Josh Naylor Game. Hitless with a walk and two strikeouts, the 24-year-old outfielder doubles one run home in the eighth, belts a two-out grand slam in the ninth to cap a crushing six-run rally to tie the game, then goes deep again in the 11th for a decisive three-run shot. Naylor is the first major leaguer to drive in eight runs from the eighth inning on, and the first to hit a pair of home runs each driving in three-plus runs from the ninth inning on. Among Cleveland players, only Lonnie Chisenhall (2014) and Chris James (1991) have driven in more runs over an entire game, each knocking in nine. 

Coupled with the Mets’ stunning 8-7 comeback win at Philadelphia five days earlier, this is the first time that two road teams have come back from six or more runs down in the ninth inning to win within a week of each other. It hasn’t happened twice over an entire season since 1937. 

In Pittsburgh’s 28th game of the year, Jose Quintana becomes the first Pirates starting pitcher to record a win as he allows two hits over six scoreless innings to help nullify the visiting Dodgers, 5-1. The 27 games without a win from a starting pitcher to begin a season sets is an MLB record. 

In a Monday matinee make-up following a rainy weekend, the Yankees eke out a 1-0 victory over the visiting Texas Rangers thanks in great part to Nestor Cortes Jr., who takes a no-hitter into the eighth before Eli White pokes out a single with one out. Cortes is immediately removed following the knock, thus not getting credit for the win as the Yankees break the ice in the bottom of the eighth on Anthony Rizzo’s RBI double. New York improves to an MLB-best 20-8 on the year with the victory. 

The Angels’ two superstars, Shohei Ohtani and Mike Trout, both make history in an 11-3 drubbing over the Tampa Bay Rays at Anaheim. Ohtani belts two home runs, including his first career grand slam, and passes Ichiro Suzuki among Japanese-born MLB players with his ninth multi-homer game; Trout adds a dinger, his 161st at Angel Stadium to pass Tim Salmon for the most ever hit at the 57-year-old ballpark.  

The Oakland A’s snap a nine-game losing skid, their longest in 10 years, with a 2-0 victory at Detroit. Paul Blackburn throws 6.2 shutout innings to improve to 4-0 with a 1.74 ERA, while Tony Kemp’s solo homer in the third is all the A’s need to triumph. The Tigers are now an AL-worst 8-20. 

Tuesday, May 10

A lot of people are asking themselves: Who the heck is Reid Detmers? Here’s your answer: He’s a 22-year-old southpaw for the Angels who enters tonight’s game against the Blue Jays with a career 2-4 record and 6.33 ERA over 10 starts—and throws MLB’s first solo (and second overall) no-hitter of the year. Detmers is the youngest Angels pitcher to toss a no-hitter and the first to throw one solo since Jered Weaver in 2012; no pitcher in modern MLB history had ever thrown one with fewer professional (major and minor league) innings under his belt than Detmers’ 104.1. 

There’s so much more to appreciate about the Angels’ 12-0 romp at Anaheim. Shohei Ohtani receives his AL MVP award in a pregame ceremony; Mike Trout crushes two home runs; right-handed batter Anthony Rendon, deciding it would be fun to hit left-handed with position player Brett Phillips doing voluntary mop-up duty for the Rays, drives one over the fence in right field; and rarely-used Chad Wallach, catching his second game for the Angels, ties Houston’s Alan Ashby record from 1979 for the fewest games played for a new team before catching a no-hitter. (Oh—Wallach homers, too.) 

Before Detmers completes his gem, all eyes are on 39-year-old Justin Verlander as he takes his own bid for a no-hitter into the eighth inning at Minnesota. But the Twins’ Gio Urshela puts an end to the dream of Verlander’s fourth career no-no with a leadoff single. It’s the only hit Verlander will allow over eight innings, as the Astros take a 5-0 victory for their eighth straight win, while ending the Twins’ nine-game win streak at Target Field

According to ESPN, this is the eighth time that Verlander has taken a no-hitter into the eighth inning; only Nolan Ryan has done it more often—actually, far more often, with 23 such bids. 

From start to finish, the ninth game of the season between the Blue Jays and Yankees is a wild one. George Springer begins it all with his 47th career leadoff home run—tying Curtis Granderson for the fifth highest all-time total. It gets frisky in the middle when Toronto reliever Yimi Garcia, after allowing a game-tying homer to the first guy he faces (Giancarlo Stanton), is ejected when he plunks the second (Josh Donaldson). And it ends with Aaron Judge belting a three-run bomb for his first career walk-off homer and a 6-5 Yankee victory at New York. Judge’s homer is his 10th of the year, making him the first MLB player this season to reach double-digits in that department. 

In the Cardinals’ 5-3 loss to the visiting Orioles, Harrison Bader hits the first inside-the-park home run for St. Louis since 2001 in the sixth inning; it’s the first inside-the-parker ever at new Busch Stadium, which opened in 2006, and the first by a Cardinals player at home since Vince Coleman raced around the bases at Busch Memorial Stadium in 1985. Bader’s memorable moment is one of the rare bright spots on the evening for the Cardinals, as they’re trumped by a terrific effort on the mound by the Orioles’ Kyle Bradish (seven innings, two runs allowed on four hits and no walks, 11 K’s), and center fielder Cedric Mullins (four hits, including his fifth home run). 

The A’s and Tigers split a doubleheader with each team winning on the road. Wait, what? The first game, played at Detroit’s Comerica Park, is won by the home team—except that home team is technically the A’s, making up one of three games originally scheduled in Oakland to start the season before the winter lockout’s wiped out that first week of play. Detroit wins that first game batting first, 6-0—breaking a 27-inning scoreless streak with a pair of runs in the fifth. In the second game, the Tigers officially go back to being the home side, losing to the visiting A’s, 4-1. 

An eight-year-old lawsuit slated to go to trial in a few weeks is averted when MLB reaches a settlement with minor league players over minimum wages. The suit was filed in 2014 by Aaron Senne, who played three years professionally but never made it past A+ ball; he, along with a couple of other players who joined the suit, claimed that minor league teams were violating minimum-wage and overtime provisions. Terms of the settlement are not revealed. 

Wednesday, May 11

In MLB’s highest scoring game of the season thus far—a 14-11 home win for the Reds over Milwaukee—the Brewers’ Christian Yelich becomes came the fifth player in the modern era to hit for the cycle three times; all three have come against Cincinnati. Yelich doubles in the first inning, homers in the third, singles in the fifth and nails the hard part (a triple) during a furious, six-run last-gasp rally in the ninth. 

The other four players with a hat trick of cycles are Bob Meusel, Babe Herman, Adrian Beltre and Trea Turner. Additionally, John Reilly did it three times for the Reds during the 19th Century. Yelich is the only one among the group who accomplishes the feat against the same team. 

The scheduled game between the Guardians and White Sox in Chicago is postponed after both manager Terry Francona and bench coach DeMarlo Hale, among others, test positive for COVID-19. No Cleveland players are listed as testing positive, but there has been a recent mini-outbreak in the clubhouse. This is the first COVID-related postponement of 2022; last season, there were nine. 

The Nationals end a nine-game home losing streak—tied for the second longest in club history—with an 8-3 win over the Mets. All eight runs are scored over the first two innings against New York starter Tylor Megill; Nelson Cruz and Juan Soto go deep for the Nationals. The team’s longest home drought remains 12, set back in 1969 when the Nationals were known as the Montreal Expos in their expansion season. 

Thursday, May 12

The Yankees approve their MLB-best record to 23-8 in Chicago at the expense of the White Sox and starter Dylan Cease, who has an on-and-off performance to say the least. The 26-year-old right-hander strikes out 11 Yankees through four innings—but also gives up six runs, four of them coming from a pair of two-run homers from Giancarlo Stanton, that leads to his departure before the fifth. Down 6-4 at that point, the White Sox rally to tie the game in the seventh thanks to Yoan Moncada’s three-run shot, but the Yankees respond with a bludgeon—notching seven runs in the eighth and one in the ninth to run away with a 15-7 triumph. 

Cease’s 11 K’s tie the MLB record for the most in a start lasting four or fewer innings; in 2017, the White Sox’ Carlos Rodon (now pitching for San Francisco) also racked up 11 K’s over four innings of work. 

Before the game, Yankees GM Brian Cashman responds harshly to comments made to USA Today by Houston owner Jim Crane over the two teams’ cheating issues of 2017. In that article, Crane bashed Cashman for stating earlier in the spring, “The only thing that stopped us (in 2017) was something so illegal and horrific, so I get offended when I start hearing we haven’t been to the World Series since ’09.” “There’s the letter, and you were doing it too,” Crane remarked, referring to the Yankees’ own cheating scheme that same year which was recently made public in a letter the Yankees fought to keep sealed. “If I was one of the teams, and I knew our team was doing it,” Crane said, “I’d keep my mouth shut and just go about our business.” Responding to those comments, Cashman reminds Crane that what the Yankees did was relatively nothing compared to the Astros’ complex scheme, something reflected in the far harsher penalties given to Houston. “I’d say (Crane’s comments are) called deflection, him trying to equate probably…an equivalent of a parking ticket to maybe 162 felonies.” 

For the Reds, the thought right now must be: Thank God for the Pirates. After beating the Bucs in Cincinnati two out of three times last weekend to snap out of their season-starting 3-22 funk, the Reds take the first game of a four-game series in Pittsburgh, 4-0, ending a 13-game skid on the road; they’re now 5-2 since the beginning of that first series against the Pirates. Connor Overton throws 6.1 scoreless frames for Cincinnati, while catcher Tyler Stephenson has his second straight three-hit game. 

For the Phillies and Bryce Harper, their thought right now must be: Thank God for the universal DH. News earlier broke that the reigning NL MVP tore an ACL and would need a minimum of four weeks to allow it to heel. But the injury only keeps him from throwing and, thus, playing in the field; he can still bat as a DH. And boy, can he still bat. Harper has a solo home run in the first inning at Los Angeles, adds an RBI double in the fifth, then caps a two-run rally in the ninth with a home run to undo a 7-7 tie and give Philadelphia a 9-7 win over the Dodgers.  

Friday, May 13

It’s another wild one at Dodger Stadium, where the Phillies survive an early deficit and ninth-inning rally by the Dodgers to triumph in 10 innings, 12-10.  Los Angeles ace Walker Buehler is not at his best—allowing five runs on nine hits through five innings—while the Phillies’ Nick Castellanos is, bringing home two runs with a double before scoring a third in the 10th. 

It’s only the 19th time in the 61-year history of Dodger Stadium that both teams have scored 10 or more runs; it’s the first time that a team has allowed seven or more in back-to-back-games at the ballpark—and won both. 

Robinson Cano, recently jettisoned by the Mets, has found a new home with the San Diego Padres. The 39-year-old second baseman cleared waivers and was released by New York, meaning that the Mets will still need to pay him the $44 million he’s owed—plus, he’ll get a prorated minimum ($700,000) salary from the Padres. 

Remember Kumar Rocker? Roughly a year ago, the right-handed pitcher from Vanderbilt was considered the top draft pick in the upcoming 2021 MLB Amateur Draft, but instead was selected #10 by the Mets after word got around of injury concerns; even after picking Rocker, the Mets decided not to sign him, citing further concerns about his health. Now, Rocker is hoping for a refresh by signing with the independent Tri-City ValleyCats. His hope is to put to rest all the concerns scouts have pinned on him, and re-establish himself in the 2022 draft. 

Saturday, May 14

The Astros’ bid to tie the franchise mark for consecutive wins comes to a crushing halt as the Nationals go on the offensive and stomp Houston at Washington, 13-6. The 13 runs allowed by the Astros are one more than they allowed throughout their entire 11-game win streak; the Houston record for consecutive victories remains at 12, set in 1999, 2004 and 2018

Shohei Ohtani belts the 100th home run of his career to join Hideki Matsui (175) and Ichiro Suzuki (117) as the only Japanese players with 100 or more MLB home runs. His two run-shot in the fifth helps propel the Angels to a 9-1 win in the second game of a doubleheader at Oakland; the A’s win the first game, 4-3, on a two-out, three-run walk-off from rookie Luis Barrera, the first homer of his career. The A’s had lost eight straight home games. 

Three pitchers for the Class-A Dunedin Blue Jays combine for 24 strikeouts in a 1-0 win over the Tampa Tarpons, the most total K’s in a nine-inning minor league game since at least 2005. Nick Frasso starts and strikes out eight through the first three innings; Dahian Santos picks up 10 K’s over four innings of work, and Braden Scott finishes by striking out the side in each of his two frames. The known record for most strikeouts in any professional baseball game is 27 by Pirates prospect Ron Necciai for the Class-D Bristol Twins in 1952

Sunday, May 15

For only the sixth time in major league history, a team gives up no hits—and loses. Of course, that team has to be the 2022 Cincinnati Reds. Rookie Hunter Greene takes the mound, and keeps the Pirates hitless into the eighth inning at Pittsburgh—but after walking two batters with one out, he’s relieved by Art Warren—who walks one more batter; Ke’Bryan Hayes next hits into a fielder’s choice that allows the game’s only run to score. Pittsburgh reliever David Bedner completes the three-hit, 1-0 shutout contributed to by two other Pirates pitchers—including starter Jose Quintana, who tosses the first seven frames. Greene, who threw as many as 30 pitches at 100 MPH or more in earlier starts this year, only throws seven at triple digits. His 118 pitches overall on the day are the most thrown by a major league pitcher thus far in 2022; he drops to 1-6 on the year with a 6.21 ERA. 

The last no-hitter thrown by a team that lost took place in 2008, when the Angels’ Jered Weaver and Jose Arredondo combined to keep the Dodgers hitless yet still lost, 1-0. 

The Cardinals smash the Giants, 15-6, as Adam Wainwright throws six strong innings to easily nab his 187th career win—and the 203rd won by St. Louis when he and catcher Yadier Molina are the starting battery. That establishes an MLB record for the most victories by a pitcher/catcher tandem, breaking the old mark held by the Braves’ Warren Spahn and Del Crandall. Molina helps the cause offensively with two hits, including his second home run of the year and 173rd of his career, moving past another former Cardinals catching great (Ted Simmons) for ninth on the Redbirds’ all-time list. Additionally, his four RBIs moves him into the franchise’s #6 spot, ahead of Ken Boyer

To save on bullpen usage, the Giants send in rookie outfielder Luis Gonzalez to pitch the final 1.1 innings against the Cardinals, allowing one hit. For the losing team to do that is hardly unusual, especially in this day and age; but in a weird twist, the Cardinals send none other than Albert Pujols to the mound to mop up in the ninth. The future Hall of Famer will not be going to Cooperstown for his pitching; he allows four runs on three hits, two of them home runs, and a walk. 

Monday, May 16

The Cubs win for only the fifth time in 16 attempts at Wrigley Field, but say this for the North Siders: When they win, they win big. They score eight runs in the first inning against the visiting Pirates, highlighted by Willson Contreras’ grand slam—the 10th time in modern MLB history that a leadoff batter in the first inning has hit a bases-clearing homer. Of course, Contreras’ slam comes in his second at-bat of the inning. With their 9-0 win, the Cubs have outscored their opponents in their five home victories by a whopping 48-6. According to STATS, that’s the highest run differential by a team through its first five games of a season since the 1893 New York Giants (+43). Meanwhile, the Cubs’ 11 losses have led to an aggregate run differential of just -32. 

The Pirates don’t get their first base hit until the fifth, when Michael Chavis slaps out a two-out single. It’s the Bucs’ first knock in 13 innings, with much of that drought taking place in the previous day’s 1-0 no-hit win over Cincinnati. 

The Yankees win for the 19th time in 22 games with a 6-2 triumph at Baltimore, as Anthony Rizzo joins Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton as one of three Yankees with 10 or more home runs on the young season; only two other major leaguers (Houston’s Yordan Alvarez and Minnesota’s Byron Buxton) have reached double figures. Supplying the Orioles with their only two runs is Anthony Santander, who belts two solo homers to give him six on the year. It’s Santander’s sixth career multi-homer game—and the Orioles have lost them all. According to ESPN, no other MLB player has ever started his career by watching his team drop the first six games in which he hit two or more homers. 

Tuesday, May 17

Pitcher Matt Harvey pays the price for testifying under oath in the opioid death of Tyler Skaggs. MLB is suspending Harvey 60 games for distribution of oxycodone, which he sometimes gave to Skaggs (though not those that led to his passing); he also admitted on the stand that he took the drug himself, along with cocaine. Harvey’s suspension is retroactive to April 29 and includes games in the minors, where he is currently trying to work his way back to the top via the Baltimore Orioles’ system. 

In their 13-4 rout of the Red Sox at Boston, the Astros explode in the second inning for nine runs on eight hits—five of them home runs—off pitcher Nathan Eovaldi. It’s the eighth time in MLB history that a team has collected five homers in a single inning—and only the third time that they’ve been hit off a single pitcher; the other two were Toronto’s Chase Anderson (2020) and Milwaukee’s Michael Blazek (2017). Eovaldi gave up 15 homers over 182.1 innings last year; so far in 2022, he’s allowed a major league-high 14 in just 41.2 frames. 

Five is the lucky number for another pitcher. Relieving for the Cubs in their 7-0 beating of the visiting Pirates, 26-year-old lefty Brandon Hughes makes his major league debut in the sixth inning and proceeds to earn strikeouts for each of his five outs—making him the first player in MLB history to do so. The only player he allows on base during this stretch is Josh VanMeter, who walks. Additionally, another debutante makes a memorable first impression when 22-year-old third baseman Christopher Morel homers in his very first MLB plate appearance. He’s the first Cubs player to go deep in his first at-bat since Willson Contreras in 2016

J.C. Mejia’s career has so far been bad enough, with an 8.89 ERA in 19 MLB appearances over one-plus seasons. Now it’s tarnished as well; he’s been banned 80 games for having Stanozolol in his system. While he’s allowed six runs on five hits and five walks over 2.1 innings for Milwaukee to start this season, a recent demotion to the minors appeared to be setting him straight with a 0.84 ERA in nine games. But he now won’t be back until August. 

Wednesday, May 18

The Mets hammer the visiting Cardinals, 11-4, behind Pete Alonso’s four RBIs and ninth home run of the year, while Max Scherzer picks up his fifth win of the young season. But that’s where the good news ends for New York. Midway through the sixth inning, Scherzer, who had been feeling tightness in his left side, feels it “zing” after a delivery and gives a throat-slashing gesture toward Mets coaches to let them know he’s done for the night. The first-year Mets ace undergoes an MRI a day later,  and it’s determined he has a severe oblique strain; miss up to the next eight weeks of the season. 

MLB and the Cardinals also make a big deal of the fact that Albert Pujols’ two hits against the Mets moves him into the top 10 among all-time hitters with 3,314, passing Eddie Collins. And that would be a big deal if we knew it to be true—but historical sources vary on this fact. MLB relies on the Elias Sports Bureau for their historical numbers, while most everyone us (including This Great Game) embraces retrosheet.org and baseball-reference.com, both of whom state that Collins actually has 3,315 hits, with Pujols still one behind. Furthermore, the two latter sites place Pujols not at #10 or even #11 but #12, with 19th-Century hit king Cap Anson weighing in at #7 with 3,435; Elias/MLB lists him at 3,011, as the 424 hits he gathered for the 1871-75 National Association are not counted by MLB because of what it remarked in 1969 as a circuit plagued by gambling and “erratic schedules and procedures.” 

The Red Sox’ Nick Pivetta tosses the majors’ fourth complete game of the season, allowing a first-inning leadoff home run to the Astros’ Jose Altuve, a Michael Brantley double, and nothing else over nine innings as Boston takes a 5-1 home victory. Despite the win, Red Sox DH J.D. Martinez fails to earn a hit or reach base to end an 18-game hit streak (longest so far this season in the majors) and 34-game on-base streak. 

The Rockies notch three runs in the bottom of the eighth inning to produce a 5-3 comeback win over the visiting Giants, ending a 12-game drought against San Francisco. It’s the longest skid by Colorado against a single team since losing its very first 16 games against Atlanta from 1993-94. 

Thursday, May 19

First-year Boston Red Sock Trevor Story answers an underwhelming start and the Fenway Park boos accompanying it by bashing three home runs as part of a monster, 4-for-4 night with five runs and seven RBIs in the Red Sox’ 12-6 home rout of Seattle. Story’s effort includes a pair of two-run homers that erase an early 4-0 Mariners lead, an RBI single that gives Boston the lead for good in the sixth, and a three-run blast that caps the scoring in the eighth. It’s the second career hat trick for Story, who went deep three times for Colorado in 2018; the seven RBIs tie a career mark; the five runs scored set a personal best, and are the most scored by any major leaguer so far this season. 

It’s interesting to note: There have been three players who’ve hit three homers in a game this season—with all three playing for AL East teams. The other two, besides Story, to hit three are Toronto’s Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and the Yankees’ Anthony Rizzo. 

Friday, May 20

Arizona third baseman Josh Rojas enters today’s game against the Cubs at Chicago having not hit a single home run over his previous 51 games—and exits it with three, becoming the 10th Diamondbacks player with a hat trick in a homer-filled 10-6 victory. Overall, the Diamondbacks ride gusty winds blowing straight out at Wrigley Field to hit seven homers, most by an MLB team this season; the Cubs add four, adding up to 11 between both sides to tie a Wrigley record. 

Adam Wainwright continues his mastery of the Pirates. The 40-year-old St. Louis ace extends his scoreless streak against the Bucs to 38.1 innings until Michael Chavis ends it with a solo home run in the seventh, the last with Wainwright on the mound in the Cardinals’ 4-1 win. The scoreless string against one team is the longest by a major league pitcher since Roger Clemens threw 40 straight zeroes against Seattle from 1987-90. 

Over his last nine starts against the Pirates, Wainwright has won them all—allowing five runs in 62 innings. He’s the only pitcher since 1900 to give up no more than a run in each of nine straight starts against one team. 

It takes a major league season-high 13 innings, but the Orioles overcome the visiting Rays, 8-6, on Rougned Odor’s two-run walk-off homer—and end a 15-game losing streak against Tampa Bay, the longest active skid against a single opponent. After the Orioles tie the score with a three-run rally in the seventh, the game moves into extras—where both teams trade a pair of runs in the 10th, followed by a run each in the 11th, before Odor’s game-winner. 

The Nationals are flattened by the Brewers and Eric Lauer (seven shutout innings) at Milwaukee, 7-0, but the consolation prize occurs for Washington when they turn a triple play in the seventh inning; it’s the 13th tri-killing in franchise history, and only the second since the Nationals moved from Montreal in 2005

Roger Angell, the soft-spoken, elegant baseball writer who worked over 70 years for The New Yorker, passes away from heart failure at age 101. Though he came from a rich heritage—his mother was the first fiction editor at The New Yorker, his father led the American Civil Liberties Union, and his stepfather was acclaimed writer E.B. White—Angell rightfully earned his path toward his own fame, writing on a number of subjects. But his essays and books on baseball is what Angell will be best remembered for, applying a wistful style of richly textured prose. The New Yorker’s David Remnick recalls Angell as a true baseball fan whose witnessing of the game spanned Babe Ruth to Shohei Ohtani; even baseball royalty bowed to him, as evidenced in the late 1990s when Yankees manager Joe Torre once rattled off a story before looking over to Angell and asking, “Roger, am I getting this right?” 

Saturday, May 21

It’s a hit-and-miss day for the Colorado Rockies on a historic level. In the first game of a doubleheader against the visiting Mets, the Rockies drop a 5-1 decision and fail to score two or more runs at home for the first time in 85 games—just three games shy of the all-time record held by the 1949 Red Sox. In the second game, the Rockies make up for lost offense by drubbing the Mets, 11-3, as rookie catcher Brian Serven—playing in only his second major league game—drills a pair of two-run homers. Serven is the first MLB player to hit multiple homers of two or more runs each for his first two career hits in the same game. 

Mike Trout becomes the second player in Angels history to plate 1,000 runs, scoring after reaching base on a sixth-inning walk during the Angels’ 5-3 home win over the A’s. Only Garret Anderson, with 1,024 runs, has more in Angels history; the 30-year-old Trout is one of eight active players with 1,000—though the other seven are 34 or older. 

Catcher Adley Rutschman, the first pick in the 2019 MLB Amateur Draft, makes his major league debut for the Orioles in a 6-1 home loss to Tampa Bay. Batting sixth, the 24-year-old Rutschman strikes out, walks, triples and pops up. In 19 minor league games this year before being called up, Rutschman batted .309 with three home runs and nine RBIs over 68 at-bats. 

Sunday, May 22

In a funky game at Pittsburgh, the Cardinals roll to an 18-4 laugher behind Albert Pujols’ two home runs and yet another cameo appearance on the mound by a star St. Louis position player—in this case, catcher Yadier Molina, pitching the ninth a week after Pujols did the same while the Redbirds were well ahead. Pujols’ two homers give him 683 for his career; his eight total bases put him at 6,071, moving past Willie Mays for #3 on the list—though, if you count Mays’ Negro League statistics as MLB now allows from 1920-47, Pujols still trails Mays by nine; and his two hits put him ahead of Eddie Collins (by our count and most everyone else’s) for #10 on that list. 

In his one inning of work, Molina allows four runs—giving him a 36.00 career ERA to match that of Pujols, who also made his first appearance on the mound a week earlier against San Francisco in a similar situation. 

Pujols’ 32 home runs at PNC Park are far and away the most hit at the ballpark against the Pirates since its 2001 opening; Anthony Rizzo, with 17, is next on that list. 

The White Sox cool off the Yankees at the Bronx in a weather-forced doubleheader, allowing just a single run on the day with 3-1 and 5-0 victories; it’s the fewest runs scored by the Yankees in a double-dip since 1991. Veteran pitcher Johnny Cueto, making his second start for Chicago after six years in San Francisco, throws six shutout innings—just as he did in his first outing, six days earlier against Kansas City—in the first game. In the nightcap, Tim Anderson takes over. The outspoken shortstop, embroiled in a weekend controversy with Yankees third baseman Josh Donaldson over insensitive comments made by the latter toward the former, smacks a three-run homer to cap a five-run eighth and break a scoreless tie to ultimately triumph, 5-0. 

The friction between Anderson and Donaldson began a day earlier when Donaldson called Anderson “Jackie”—a reference to a comment Anderson had made earlier saying that he’s the “new Jackie Robinson.” Many believe there was racist intent behind Donaldson’s remark, though the few defending Donaldson believe he was just needling Anderson for comparing himself with such a legend. Regardless of the intent, Donaldson will be suspended one game by MLB for his actions. 

Monday, May 23

The red-hot Paul Goldschmidt looks cold through nine innings at St. Louis against the Blue Jays, going hitless in four at-bats with three strikeouts. Then comes the 10th, and an opportunity to bring home the winning run with two outs and the bases loaded. Goldschmidt does just that, planting a grand slam to win it, 7-3. It’s the second straight day in which MLB has seen a walk-off slam—the first time that’s happened since July 2018. For Goldschmidt, it’s his seventh career slam. 

The Giants, racked by injuries and playing unknowns such as Kevin Padlo and Stuart Fairchild, are thumped on by the visiting Mets, 13-3, for their fifth straight loss. Preserving the San Francisco bullpen for the second straight day is rookie outfielder Luis Gonzalez, who pitches the ninth and, serving up deliveries with velocities in the 40s, gives up the Mets’ final three runs. Gonzalez thus becomes the first position player in the last 60 years (at least) to pitch in back-to-back games. 

Already this year, position players have taken the mound 19 times in MLB games, most of them blowouts as managers try to keep relievers from doing up mop-up work. The results have been predictable; the ERA for these hitters-cum-relievers is 16.93. People may find the stunt funny as it brings macabre intrigue to games long decided, but in truth it’s grown quite embarrassing. “Luis Goznalez’s ability to pitch back-to-back games is the absolute worst of really awful news disguised as good news,” tweeted Bay Area sportswriter Henry Schulman, echoing our sentiment. 

A few years back, someone posted a handwritten wish list of possible future MLB rules that supposedly came from commissioner Rob Manfred. Among them: Mercy rules, a concept stolen from the Little Leagues to just cut short a one-sided game that’s become too unnecessary to continue playing. Mercy rules should never apply at the professional level, especially when fans are paying their good money to get a full nine innings’ worth of action, but the emergency (position player) pitcher concept essentially exists as the white flag, the mercy rule without stopping the game early. The honorable thing to do is to avoid the mercy and let the pitchers do what they are paid to do: Pitch. Even if it occurs in unwanted moments. 

The ongoing effort to modernize Angel Stadium into a mixed-use community, including an upgraded or brand-new ballpark, goes sideways as Anaheim mayor Harry Sidhu resigns under the weight of an FBI investigation. The contention is that Sidhu attempted to funnel inside information about the project to the Angels in exchange for political donations. Progress on the project, which is still in the planning phase, has been halted; it’s reported that the Angels are not being investigated as part of the FBI’s continued probe. 

Catcher and coach Joe Pignatano, involved in a number of historic “lasts” over his career, dies of complications from dementia at the age of 92. Pignatano’s career spanned six seasons (1957-62) and he was a part-time performer at best, but his name is attached to many memorable moments. As a rookie catcher for the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1957, he caught the final five innings of the Dodgers’ last game at Ebbets Field; as a member of the infamous 1962 expansion Mets, he hit into a triple play in what would be his last career at-bat, as the Mets suffered their 120th defeat with a 5-1 loss at Chicago against the Cubs. And he returned to the Mets as a coach in 1968, staying in New York through 1981 and witnessing the “Miracle” 1969 champion team and the equally improbable 1973 squad that stunned the powerful Reds in the NLCS and took the Oakland A’s to seven games in the World Series before bowing. He was the last surviving coach of the 1969 team. 

Tuesday, May 24

Despite giving up 10 runs over their final three innings, the Giants survive the visiting Mets and end a six-game losing streak with a 13-12 victory behind Joc Pederson’s three home runs and eight RBIs. Pederson’s third and final homer is a three-run shot that ties the game in the eighth; his RBI single in the ninth re-ties the game, in advance of Brandon Crawford’s walk-off hit. Pederson is the first Giants player to hit three homers in a regular season game in the 22-year history of Oracle Park; Pablo Sandoval smoked out three in the first game of the 2012 World Series against Detroit. The only visitor to do it is the Dodgers’ Kevin Elster, at the ballpark’s very first game in 2000.  

The 12 runs scored by the Mets are the most they’ve ever plated in a loss. 

A day after Anaheim mayor Harry Sidhu resigned over bribery accusations regarding the sale of Angel Stadium to the Angels, the Anaheim City Council unanimously kills the deal, knowing full well that it will likely be bracing for legal action from the Angels as a result. Says councilman Stephen Faessel: “If we do a do-over (on the project), make it 2025 when all of us, or most of us, will be gone. This needs a fresh start by fresh faces.” The Angels want to purchase the ballpark and surrounding land from the city so it can build a mixed-use community from which they will profit from, while performing yet another rebuild or a brand-new yard in place of the ballpark originally constructed in 1965

Wednesday, May 25

The Mets lose their second straight game, a 9-3 decision at San Francisco, and in the process end a 14-game streak of games won after a loss. It was the third-longest such streak in MLB history, after the 1934 Giants (16) and 1911 A’s (15). The Mets quickly lose sight of the game as the Giants pile up nine runs on seven hits—four of them home runs—and three walks in just 1.1 innings against rookie pitcher Thomas Szapucki, making his first-ever major league start. Only Ron Darling, in a 1988 outing, allowed as many runs in fewer innings by a Mets starting pitcher. 

Thursday, May 26

The Reds continue to show that they’re not the team everyone thought they were in April, rolling to a 20-5 home romp over the Cubs. The score of scores is the most ever collected by a team in the 20-year history of Great American Ball Park, and the most both plated by the Reds and allowed by the Cubs since 1999. Nick Senzel and Kyle Farmer each collect four hits for Cincinnati—the latter knocking in five runs and drilling the Reds’ lone two home runs. 

Since starting the year at 3-22, the Reds have won 11 of their last 19—but they still own the majors’ worst record at 14-30. 

The Dodgers administer their own beating in Arizona upon the Diamondbacks, cruising to a 14-1 victory as every starting member in the lineup amasses at least two hits—led by Freddie Freeman’s four hits and five RBIs. It’s only the second time since the team’s move to Los Angeles in 1958 that everyone in the starting lineup has at least two hits. 

In their first get-together of the year, the Yankees defeat the Rays at Tampa Bay, 7-2, as Nestor Cortes chalks up yet another excellent effort on the mound—allowing a run on four hits through eight innings to lower his season ERA to 1.70. While competing against one another on the field, the two teams partner off it, sending out numerous tweets raising awareness on the scourge of gun violence in the wake of a yet another mass shooting, at a school in Uvalde, Texas. The Yankees state that the rash of mass shootings has become “intolerable,” while the Rays tweet, “This cannot become normal. We cannot become numb. We cannot look the other way. We all know, if nothing changes, nothing changes.” 

For the Rays, the Uvalde shooting is personal. Reliever Brooks Raley was born and raised in Uvalde, and attended the very elementary school where 19 children and two teachers were murdered. “I walked those halls,” the 33-year-old Raley told reporters. “I can’t imagine what they experienced…I’m feeling for that community. It’s a small, close-knit community, so it’s obviously a tough day today.” 

Friday, May 27

Even before the first pitch is thrown in a rain-delayed game at Cincinnati between the Reds and Giants, there’s plenty to talk about. San Francisco manager Gabe Kapler announces that he will skip the National Anthem going forward until he “feels better about the direction of our country”—an act of defiance born out of the frustration of the mass killing committed days earlier in Uvalde, Texas. Then, during batting practice, the Reds’ Tommy Pham slaps the Giants’ Joc Pederson across the face after an altercation in which the two argue over…their fantasy football league. (Yes, you read that right.) Pham, whose dance with controversy is hardly his first, is scratched from the starting lineup at the request of MLB, which is investigating the incident; it will suspend Pham for three days. 

As for the game itself, the Reds prevail 5-1 behind rookie pitcher Graham Ashcraft, who throws 6.1 scoreless innings in just his second major league appearance. Despite a fastball that’s constantly tracked at 100 MPH, Ashcraft strikes out only one batter. 

For the Reds, it’s their first win against an NL West opponent in 15 tries dating back to the end of last season. 

Somebody finally roughs up Justin Verlander. In Seattle, the Astros ace is throttled by the Mariners, who launch four home runs over six innings in a 6-1 result. It’s tied for the most homers Verlander has ever allowed in a start; the six runs conceded end a streak of 52 straight starts in which he gave up no more than four runs per outing, the fourth longest such streak in MLB history. 

Who are the three people with longer streaks? At #1 is White Sox Deadball Era ace Ed Walsh, with 61 from 1908-10. The #2 and #3 slots are still active: The Red Sox’ Rich Hill (59) and the Astros’ Ryne Stanek, with 56—though Stanek’s run denotes an asterisk since all of his starts were as an “opener” for the Tampa Bay Rays from 2018-19. (He has made 121 appearances since with two other teams, all of them in relief roles.) The #5 spot, by the way, belongs to Jacob deGrom at 50—a streak he, too, can add onto whenever he can get himself healthy enough to return to the mound. 

Hill’s streak will also end in his next start on May 30, giving up six runs to the Orioles at Boston. 

The Yankees continue to click, silencing the Rays for the second straight night at St. Petersburg, 2-0. Jameson Taillon throws eight shutout innings, a night after Nelson Cortes allowed a run over eight of his own; it’s the first time the Yankees have gotten eight-plus innings from starters in consecutive games since 2013. With the win, the Yankees improve to 33-13—the best record after 46 games to start a season since the 2001 Mariners began at 34-12. 

The downfall of former All-Star pitcher Carlos Martinez continues. Once heralded as a future ace in St. Louis, Martinez began losing his way in 2020 amid a number of injuries and has never recovered; from 2020-21, he went 4-12 with a horrible 6.95 ERA. Let go by the Cardinals after 2021, Martinez hooked on with the Giants, who quickly released him; the Red Sox were next to take a flier on him, but in two starts at the minor-league level, he allowed 10 runs over 4.1 innings before being let go on May 18. 

And now, this: MLB has suspended Martinez 80 games for violating its PED policy. As if his comeback efforts weren’t challenging enough, the 30-year-old right-hander now has to hope that any team willing to bring him on will be okay with him sitting for 80 games before he can do anything at a competitive level. 

Saturday, May 28

In Boston’s 5-3 home win over the Orioles in the first game of a doubleheader, the Red Sox’ Nathan Eovaldi tosses his first complete game in his 211th lifetime start—setting a major league record for the most starts without a CG to begin a career, a mark that’s bound to be short-lived in an era of pitchers being pulled well before the ninth. Eovaldi throws 108 pitches, allowing three runs (two earned) on seven hits and one walk; he strikes out six. The Orioles make it a split on the day by the winning the second game, 4-2. 

Marcus Semien, for whom the Rangers spent a ton of money on after he crushed a record-setting (among second basemen) 45 homers for the Blue Jays last year, finally connects on his first round-tripper in 2022, a fifth-inning grand slam that puts the game out of doubt in a 11-4 romp of the A’s in Oakland. Raising his season batting average to .194, Semien is the first player in MLB history to go homerless through at least his first 40 games a year after hitting 40-plus. 

Former AL Cy Young Award winner Dallas Keuchel is designated for assignment by the White Sox after starting the year at 2-5 with a 7.88 ERA. The 34-year-old southpaw is in the final year of a three-year, $55 million contract; he has gotten progressively worse with each season at Chicago, putting together a fine 6-2 record and 1.99 ERA in 2020, followed by 9-9 and 5.28 last year. 

Sunday, May 29

By giving up three runs in the first inning at New York against the Mets, the Phillies become the first team in MLB history to have 100,000 runs scored on them, according to baseball-reference.com. (Your statistical database may vary.) As for the rest of the game, the Phillies bounce back and take a 4-3 advantage into the ninth—but the Mets’ Nick Plummer, in his second career major league at-bat, sends a Corey Knebel pitch down the right-field line into Citi Field’s second deck to tie the game. An inning later, the Mets will win it on Eduardo Escobar’s RBI single, 5-4. 

After the Phillies, the Cubs are next in line to reach the 100,000 milestone in runs allowed—but with just under 97,000 on their watch, don’t expect them to get there until sometime in 2025. 

Monday, May 30

The Guardians take care of the visiting Royals, 7-3, thanks once again to the productive run machine that is Jose Ramirez. The star third baseman knocks in three runs for the 10th time this season in this, the 44th game of the year for Cleveland; he’s the fastest to reach 10 three-RBI efforts since Jimmie Foxx, who did it within the Red Sox’ first 39 games of the 1940 season. Overall on the year, Ramirez has knocked in 51 runs, making him the second fastest player in Cleveland history to reach the half-century mark; Manny Ramirez got there in the 38th game of 1999, on his way to 165 RBIs. 

Miami’s Jesus Sanchez channels all his anger of a terrible month for both he and the Marlins by belting the longest home run seen in an MLB game since 2019, a 496-foot solo blast that reaches the third deck of Denver’s Coors Field in the second inning against the Rockies. Alas for Miami, Sanchez’s homer provides the Marlins with their only run of the night as the Rockies net all seven of their tallies between the seventh and eighth innings to triumph, 7-1. 

Tuesday, May 31

Koby Clemens, the son of seven-time Cy Young Award winner Roger Clemens, makes his major league debut for Detroit playing as a second baseman against the visiting Twins, going hitless in three at-bats with a walk in the Tigers’ 4-0 win. Jonathan Schoop, who normally plays at second but in this game is performing as the DH, knocks in all four runs for the Tigers, two on his fifth homer of the season. 

For the first time since Game Seven of the legendary 1975 World Series, the Reds win a game at Fenway Park, squeaking past the Red Sox, 2-1. Luis Castillo tosses six innings of one-hit shutout ball with 10 strikeouts for Cincinnati, while Joey Votto smacks his 441th double to tie Barry Larkin for second on the Reds’ all-time list. 

For the second straight night, the Giants triumph in extra innings at Philadelphia in the longest MLB game of the year by time so far, at four hours and 52 minutes. Joc Pederson’s 428-foot smash to right field in the 11th caps a three-run rally and gives San Francisco a 7-4 win.

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