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Kernels: Horsing around for the first time in a long time

Tim Heitman/USA TODAY Sports

Everyone was abuzz on Saturday when horse racing's Triple Crown was claimed for the first time since 1978. Baseball's Triple Crown was last claimed three seasons ago by Miguel Cabrera. But in celebration of American Pharoah, our weekly look at baseball oddities found a few other things that happened this week for the first time in (at least) 37 years.

• The White Sox won Friday's game when Avisail Garcia was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded in the 11th. It's the first "plunk-off" in the majors this season, and the South Siders' first since A.J. Pierzynski on April 5, 2007. However, it was the first game-ending hit by pitch for the White Sox in extra innings since Sept. 2, 1966, when Tommie Agee was hit by the Orioles' Stu Miller.

• Pirates catcher Chris Stewart not only had three hits in Monday's victory, he had three doubles. Tuffy Gosewisch (May 7) is the only other catcher with a three-double game this season, and the last Pirates backstop to do it from the eighth (or ninth) spot in the order was Earl Smith against the Cubs on May 27, 1925.

• Speaking of catchers, Baltimore's Matt Wieters had a home run and a triple in Sunday's win over Cleveland. He's the third catcher this season to homer and triple in the same game, joining Nick Hundley (April 21) and Derek Norris (May 14). The last to do it for the Orioles was Jake Fox in April 2011, also in Cleveland. However, since so few catchers bat in the cleanup spot, the Orioles (slash, Browns) had not had a catcher with a homer and a triple while batting fourth since at least 1907.

Tyler Cravy made his major league debut on Tuesday and was on the wrong end of a 1-0 score despite pitching seven innings and allowing just four hits. He is the first pitcher in Brewers history (starter or reliever) to allow one run in his major league debut and lose. The only "Milwaukee" pitcher ever to do it was Juan Pizarro for the Braves (at Pittsburgh) on May 4, 1957.

Carlos Corporan entered Tuesday's game in the third inning after Robinson Chirinos was hit by a pitch. Corporan homered in the eighth inning and ended up driving in five of the Rangers' 15 runs. He's the first player this season with a homer and five RBIs in a game he did not start, and the first ever in franchise history (to 1961).

Jeff Samardzija gave up 10 hits, six runs and two homers Sunday. If that sounds familiar, it's because Samardzija allowed 12, nine and two in his previous start on Tuesday (the 15-2 loss to the Rangers mentioned above). The last White Sox pitcher to surrender 10 or more hits, six or more earned runs and at least two homers in back-to-back starts was Hall of Famer Ted Lyons, against the Athletics and Yankees in July 1940.

• The Mets collected 10 hits in Arizona on Saturday, but they managed to turn that into only one run -- and that came on a homer by Juan Lagares. The other nine hits were singles, and the Diamondbacks turned four double plays. The Mets had not had a 10-hit game in which they scored their only run on a solo homer since April 14, 1974, against Philadelphia. The dinger in that game was by Rusty Staub; it tied the game in the eighth, but the Phillies went on to win in 11.

• Astros starter Lance McCullers threw a complete-game four-hitter on Wednesday, walking none and fanning 11. The season's only other walk-free complete game with 11-plus strikeouts was thrown by his teammate Dallas Keuchel, last week. The Astros' staff hadn't thrown two such games in a season since 1986 (Mike Scott had both), and the last time two different Houston pitchers did it was the infamous "year of the pitcher," 1968. Those gems were spun by Mike Cuellar and future manager Larry Dierker.

Joey Gallo made his major league debut this week for the Rangers. In his first game he had three hits, a home run and four RBIs, which no player had done in his debut since Mark Quinn of the Royals in 1999. However, since RBIs became official in 1920, he's the first player ever to score three runs and drive in four in his first game. The next day Gallo homered again, becoming the first player in franchise history to homer in each of his first two MLB games.

In his fourth game, Gallo cooled off a bit, going 0-for-4 and striking out every time. The last Ranger to do that within his first four career games was actually a Washington Senator: first baseman Tom Brown on April 13, 1963.

Carlos Gomez went 4-for-4 and drove in three runs in Milwaukee's 4-2 win on Saturday. However, Gomez failed to score a run himself, becoming the first Brewer to post four hits, three RBIs and zero runs since Mark Loretta did it against the Giants in 1999. The only other player in franchise history to do it and steal a base, as Gomez did, was outfielder Von Joshua against the Yankees on July 13, 1977.

• The Cardinals got one-hit by Clayton Kershaw and the Dodgers on Saturday, already the third time this season that St. Louis has been shut out on two hits or fewer and struck out a dozen times on offense. How many other teams in the live ball era have done that three times in a season? None. And it's only June.

• And one last note to fit the theme: Esmil Rogers became the first Yankees pitcher in the live ball era (since 1920) to face at least five batters, and have all of them score, in a game that the Yankees ended up winning.