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Elias Says: August 24, 2017

Walkoff homer sinks Hill’s no-hit bid in extras

It’s almost unfair to say that Rich Hill “lost” on Wednesday night after accounting for his unbelievable performance. The Dodgers lefty retired the first 24 Pirates batters he faced at PNC Park, and, although he lost his bid for a perfect game on a Logan Forsythe error to start the ninth inning, Hill finished nine innings without allowing a hit or a run. The Dodgers failed to provide any run support, however, leading to Hill going out to the mound in the 10th inning, the first starting pitcher to do so since Cliff Lee in 2012. Lee finished 10 innings for the Phillies on April 18, 2012 at San Francisco, but the Giants prevailed against Antonio Bastardo in the 11th.

Harrison makes history with walkoff blast

Hill’s fourth pitch of the 10th inning was a fastball down the middle, which was smashed by Josh Harrison into the seats in left field, ending Hill’s night with one hit, one run, and, yes, one loss. Harrison became the first player in major-league history to end a pitcher’s no-hit bid with a walkoff home run.

Put an asterisk on Joe Adcock for this one, who spoiled Harvey Haddix’s no-hit bid for the Pirates in the 13th inning on May 26, 1959. In one of the most incredible feats in baseball history, Haddix did not allow a Braves hitter to reach base in the first 12 innings of that game. An error to start the bottom of the 13th inning ended Haddix’s bid for a perfect game, and, after a bunt and intentional walk, Joe Adcock hit Haddix’s final pitch out of the park to win it for Milwaukee. Adcock’s hit was ruled a double in the game’s aftermath, however, as he was ruled to have passed Hank Aaron on the basepaths. Adcock’s game-winner was the most recent walkoff hit of any kind to end a pitcher’s no-hit bid before Harrison’s homer on Wednesday.

No hits thru nine innings is still mighty impressive

Back to Hill, who became the first pitcher in 22 years to lose a no-hit bid in the 10th inning or later. On June 3, 1995, Pedro Martinez retired the side in order in each of the first nine innings for the Expos at San Diego. Montreal finally pushed across a run in the 10th inning, giving Martinez a shot at the rarest of the rare – a 10-inning perfect game – but Bip Roberts led off the bottom of the 10th for the Padres with a double to end Martinez’s perfect night.

Fine week for Machado

Manny Machado’s flyball in the 12th inning just barely escaped Khris Davis’s outstretched arm and landed in the first row of the left field bleachers, giving the Orioles their ninth walkoff win of the season and an 8–7 victory over the A’s. Machado was also responsible for Baltimore’s last walkoff win, hitting a game-ending grand slam five days earlier against the Angels. Only one other player this season hit a pair of game-ending home runs within a seven-day span, and wouldn’t you know it – that player also victimized the Angels and A’s with his walkoff blasts. Steve Pearce hit a game-ending grand slam for the Blue Jays on July 27 against Oakland and repeated that feat three days later versus the Angels.

Prior to Machado, only one player produced multiple walkoff homers in a span of six or fewer days in the history of the Orioles franchise, which began play in 1901 as the Milwaukee Brewers and spent over 50 years in St. Louis as the Browns before relocating to Maryland. Fred Lynn hit a pair of walkoff shots for Baltimore in back-to-back wins over the Twins on May 10 and 11, 1985.

Britton (BS, 1)

The Orioles overcame some shaky pitching by two of their best relievers in their extra-innings win. Mychal Givens allowed two runs in the eighth inning, marking just the second time in his last 20 outings that he allowed a run. Zach Britton then surrendered a pair of runs in the ninth inning, marking his first blown save in his last 101 appearances for the Orioles and bringing to an end his streak of 60 successful save conversions. Britton’s streak, which began in October 2015, was the second-longest by any pitcher since the adoption of the save as an official statistic in 1969, behind Eric Gagne’s streak of 84 consecutive saves spanning from 2002 to 2004.

Beckham hitting at record pace

Tim Beckham’s hot hitting for the Orioles continued on Wednesday, as Baltimore’s new leadoff man stroked three hits in six at-bats. The former Rays infielder has produced 40 hits in 22 games with the Orioles, a nearly unprecedented feat among midseason transplants. Only one other player in the modern era – that is, since 1900 – totaled at least 40 hits in his first 22 games with a new team after playing for a different major-league club earlier that season. Matt Holliday also reached 40 hits in 22 games with the Cardinals in 2009 after a midseason trade from the A’s.

Kimbrel slams door on Indians

A four-run top of the ninth inning by the Red Sox took away Craig Kimbrel’s save opportunity, but it didn’t strip away his dominance. Kimbrel recorded all three outs in the bottom of the ninth via strikeout to close out Boston’s 6–1 victory over the Indians. Kimbrel now has 102 strikeouts on the season, surpassing another C.K. (Brewers closer Corey Knebel) for the lead among relievers this season. The Red Sox closer also became the fourth pitcher to rack up at least 100 strikeouts in relief before issuing at least 10 walks (Kimbrel’s walk on Wednesday was just his ninth of the season). The previous three pitchers to do that did so in the last five seasons – Koji Uehara (2013 Red Sox), Kenley Jansen (2016 Dodgers), and Andrew Miller (2016 Yankees and Indians).

Kimbrel has struck out three or more batters in an inning 15 times this season. The only pitchers to do that more often this year are Chris Sale (20) and Max Scherzer (17), both of whom have logged 100 more innings than Kimbrel this season.

Cubs score early (and) often versus Reds

A three-run first inning provided the Cubs with an early cushion in their 9–3 victory over the Reds. Including Wednesday’s three-spot, Chicago has scored 20 first-inning runs against Cincinnati this season, tied for the most runs scored in the opening frame by any team against a particular opponent this season. Chicago matched the Diamondbacks, who have scored 20 runs in the first inning versus the Padres. The Cubs have won each of their last 15 games against the Reds (dating back to September 2015) in which Chicago plated at least one run in the opening inning.

A first for Hosmer

Eric Hosmer capped a comeback win for the Royals with a three-run homer off former teammate Greg Holland in the bottom of the ninth inning at Kauffman Stadium. That was Hosmer’s first walkoff homer of his major-league career and his eighth walkoff RBI since his debut with Kansas City in 2011 (not counting his game-ending sacrifice fly in Game One of the 2015 World Series). Only four players have produced more walkoff RBIs over the last seven seasons than has Hosmer: Josh Donaldson and Justin Upton have 10 game-ending RBIs since 2011, while Freddie Freeman and Albert Pujols have nine such RBIs over that span.

How about Hoskins!

Though the Phillies are way out of the postseason picture, they still have much to be excited about thanks to Rhys Hoskins. The rookie slugger doubled and homered – his seventh longball in 14 major-league games – to drive in five runs for Philadelphia against the Marlins on Wednesday night. Hoskins became the first Phillies player to record at least seven home runs within his first 14 major-league games. Two other active players homered at least seven times before playing in his 15th game – Trevor Story (eight homers through 14 games) and Trey Mancini (seven homers through 14 games). Hoskins is also one of three active players to produce at least 16 RBIs in his first 14 major-league games, along with Cody Bellinger (17) and Jason Heyward (16). No other Phillies player started his major-league career in that fashion since 1920, when RBIs were first officially recorded in the majors.

Severino is road warrior for Yankees

The Yankees reached double-digits in runs for the second straight day at Comerica Park, though Luis Severino hardly needed that much support. Severino improved to 11–5 on the season (including a 6–1 mark on the road) after allowing one run over 6⅔ innings against the Tigers. Wednesday’s start marked the 10th time this season that Severino allowed no more than one run in a start away from Yankee Stadium. That’s the most road starts of that kind for any pitcher this season, and it’s the second-most by a Yankees pitcher in any season. In 1904, Jack Powell allowed zero runs or one run in 13 of his 26 road starts for New York’s American League franchise, then known as the Highlanders.

Blue Jays power past Rays

The Blue Jays did all of their damage on Wednesday via the longball, scoring seven runs on a two-run homer by Josh Donaldson and five solo shots against the Rays at Tropicana Field. Wednesday’s effort is evidence of Toronto’s modus operandi this season – the Jays entered play on Wednesday having scored 50.4 percent of their runs on the season via home run, which was the highest such percentage in the majors. Entering this season, the only season in which the Blue Jays drove home at least half of their runs on round-trippers was 2010, when they established the record for highest runs via homer percentage of any major-league team at 53.1 percent.

Wednesday’s power performance by the Blue Jays marked the 11th time this season that a team homered at least six times in a game. Toronto’s seven runs tied the fewest by any of those teams – Philadelphia also scored seven runs with six homers on July 9 versus the Padres. Prior to Wednesday, the only other time in franchise history that Toronto scored seven or fewer runs in a game despite homering at least six times was on May 21, 2010. The Blue Jays scored six runs in a loss at Arizona, with six solo homers accounting for all of their runs.

Weaver dazzles Padres

Luke Weaver struck out 10 batters over seven scoreless innings to lead the Cardinals to victory over the Padres. Only two other Cardinals rookies since the end of World War II struck out at least 10 batters in a game without allowing a run. Prior to serving three terms for North Carolina in the House of Representatives, Wilmer “Vinegar Bend” Mizell struck out 11 in each of two complete-game shutouts for St. Louis in his first major-league season in 1952. The other Cardinals rookie on that list is Shelby Miller, who racked up 13 strikeouts in a shutout win over the Rockies in 2013.

Bregman on short list of early achievers

Alex Bregman’s three-run homer in the bottom of the eighth inning capped the scoring for the Astros in their 6–1 win over the Nationals. The home run was Bregman’s 51st extra-base hit of the season, and his RBI total for the year also stands at 51 after Wednesday’s performance. Bregman, who celebrated his 23rd birthday in March, is the third Astros player in the last 50 seasons (1968–2017) to produce at least 50 extra-base hits in a season at age 23 or younger. Cesar Cedeno had four such seasons for Houston in that span (1971–74, ages 20–23), and Carlos Correa did so last year at age 21. The only player this season younger than Bregman that has accrued as many extra-base hits is 22-year-old Cody Bellinger (55 extra-base hits).

Beltre belts a pair

Adrian Beltre hit a pair of solo home runs in the Rangers’ victory over the Angels on Wednesday. It was Beltre’s first multi-homer game of the season and the 32nd of his major-league career, fourth-most among active players. Four of Beltre’s multi-homer games have come at Angel Stadium of Anaheim, which is his highest total at any ballpark as a visiting player. It’s also the second-highest total of multi-homer games at Angel Stadium among players that never played a game for the Angels franchise. Alex Rodriguez hit a pair of homers in five games at that stadium.

Mets snap skid thanks to Nimmo

As the Mets are looking to determine who can contribute on next year’s squad, Brandon Nimmo turned in a successful audition for New York’s new leadoff hitter. Nimmo reached base safely in all four of his plate appearances from the top spot in the batting order and scored two runs to help the Mets defeat the Diamondbacks at Citi Field. Nimmo became the fourth rookie in franchise history to start in the leadoff spot and reach base safely (via hit, walk, or hit-by-pitch) in every plate appearance with at least four times up to bat. The other rookies to accomplish that feat for the Mets were Mookie Wilson (1981), Gregg Jefferies (1989), and Kazuo Matsui (2004). The last rookie on any team to do that was Trea Turner, who did so exactly one year prior to Nimmo (four hits in four plate appearances on Aug. 23, 2016 for Washington at Baltimore).

Clutch hit by Parker

Jarrett Parker’s two-run double in the seventh inning gave the Giants the lead for good in their 4–2 victory over the Brewers. Parker has produced nine hits in 16 at-bats with runners in scoring position since the start of August, and his 0.563 batting average is highest among players with at least 15 at-bats in that situation this month. Parker entered August with a .235 RISP batting average in his major-league career, mustering just 12 hits in 51 at-bats.