Kernels: One heck of a holiday

Last week it was Friday that brought us a day full of oddities. July 4 historically provides some bizarre notes about the national pastime, so we should have known that this week, it would be Thursday.

Among the highlights:

• The Mets and Diamondbacks played a 15-inning epic in their series finale. The Diamondbacks had go-ahead RBI in three separate innings from the 13th on, the first to do that since the 1986 Cardinals.

What else happened last week?

• The loss was the Mets' third defeat of 15 innings or longer this season. In the expansion era (1961), only 13 teams have lost at least three 15-or-more-inning games in a single season, and five of those also won at least one along the way. The 2007 Astros were the last, losing a 15-, a 16-, and a 17-inning contest that season. The 1968 Mets (1-3 in games of 15 or more innings) were among the other squads to do it.

• The Reds and Giants had the 33rd postponed game of the season. There were only 20 postponed games in 2012. It was the first rainout of a July 4 game since 1994.

• The Athletics won their game over the Cubs 1-0 with the only run scoring on a passed ball by Welington Castillo.

If that seems unusual, it is. You might have heard on the Sunday morning Baseball Tonight that It hadn't happened in 20 years... exactly 20 years. The last time the only run of a game scored on a passed ball was another July 4 game, between the Dodgers and Expos on July 4, 1993.

• The White Sox walked off against Baltimore on Thursday when Adam Dunn launched his 23rd homer in the bottom of the 9th. It was Dunn's first walk-off anything since he homered for Washington in the final week of the 2010 season.

However, it was the third consecutive year that the White Sox had won their July 4 game on a walk-off.

The last team to win three consecutive Independence Day games via walk-off is somewhat of a statistical technicality. It happened for the Cleveland Indians, who played a doubleheader with the Tigers on July 4, 1962, and won both in extra innings. They then beat the Red Sox in 14 innings in the first game of a '63 double-dip.

But winning three straight years on July 4 via walk-off?

Since 1900, no team had ever done it. Until this week.

• The Pirates and Phillies finished their cross-commonwealth series on Thursday with an interesting pitching matchup. Pittsburgh starter: Gerrit Cole. Philadelphia starter: Cole Hamels. "Cole" ended up with both the win and the loss as the Phillies won 6-4.

There was one such "name game" matchup last season: June 16 when Oakland's Tyson Ross faced the Padres' Ross Ohlendorf in interleague play. But before that you have to go back more than 20 years to find an exact match. On April 13, 1991, Mike Scott of the Astros faced Scott Garrelts of the Giants. It didn't go well; San Francisco won 16-2. Darryl Kile also pitched for Houston in that game; 10 years later he would face Kyle Lohse on July 17, 2001.

• Thanks to eight walks and a hit batter, the Royals scored 10 runs on only six base hits in Thursday's 10-7 win over Cleveland. They're just the second team in the past 10 years to reach double digits on as few as six hits. The Twins also received eight free passes from the Tigers in a 10-2 win on September 5, 2008.

In Royals franchise history, they'd never before had a game-- of any linescore-- where their number of runs exceeded their number of hits by at least four.

Erick Aybar's walk-off single capped a three-run Angels comeback in the ninth inning on Thursday as they downed the Cardinals 6-5. The Angels had been 1-38 when trailing after eight innings this season, and then they pulled off two wins in three days.

On Saturday night, they trailed the Red Sox 7-3 before piecing together four singles, a hit batter, and a Boston error to score four two-out runs to tie the game. Josh Hamilton eventually won it with a walk-off homer in the 11th.