“We talk all the time that every night we go to a Major League game we might see something we’ve never seen before AND NO ONE HAS EVER SEEN THIS!!!!”
That was ESPN’s Tim Kurkjian on Aug. 22, 2007, after the Texas Rangers set a single-game modern-day record (since 1900) for runs in their 30-3 victory at the Baltimore Orioles in Game 1 of a doubleheader. Today marks 10 years since this crazy game was played.
How unlikely was that performance?
The Rangers entered the day in last place in the AL West at 54-70, 19.5 games back of the Angels. The Orioles were not much better at 58-65, trailing the Red Sox by 16.5 games in the AL East.
The Rangers had totaled two runs and struck out 30 times in their previous two games. They had scored 28 runs in their previous nine games combined. The Orioles had allowed 26 runs in their previous eight games combined.
The last time a team scored at least 30 runs was on June 29, 1897, when the Chicago Colts (now the Cubs) scored a record 36 against the Louisville Colonels. The previous modern-day mark for runs was 29 on June 8, 1950, by the Red Sox against the St. Louis Browns and matched on April 23, 1955, by the White Sox vs. Kansas City Athletics. The 27-run victory was the largest margin of victory since that Colts’ 29-run win over Colonels.
Las Vegas betting lines had the over/under for runs scored in that game set at nine. The Rangers beat that in one inning and tied it in another. Vegas had the over/under for the amount of runs the Rangers would score at four. The Rangers beat that in four separate innings. The betting line for the total hits/runs/errors for both teams combined in that game was 27.5. The Rangers exceeded that total in hits and runs alone.
What stood out in that game?
The Orioles led this game 3-0 going into the top of the fourth inning. This was the first time in MLB history a team scored 30 unanswered runs.
The Rangers had teammates with seven RBIs: Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Ramon Vazquez. That hadn’t happened in any game since Mickey Mantle and Elston Howard did so for the 1962 Yankees. Saltalamacchia, who was hitting .132 with two strikes coming into the game, had four hits, including two home runs with two strikes. He had hits off three different pitchers and three different pitch types (fastball, change, split-finger).
The Rangers were the first team with four players with four RBIs (Travis Metcalf, Marlon Byrd, Saltalamacchia, Vazquez) since the Phillies on May 17, 1979 (Pete Rose, Garry Maddox, Mike Schmidt, Bob Boone).
Metcalf, Michael Young, Frank Catalanotto, David Murphy and Vazquez swung at 43 pitches and missed twice. Young, who would lead the Rangers with 94 RBIs in 2007, had none in the game.
The seven-eight-nine hitters for the Rangers were 13-for-19 with 14 runs scored and 16 RBIs.
Wes Littleton got a save in a game his team won by 27 runs. How does a pitcher get a save when the team wins by that much? Pitch at least three innings and finish the game.
In perhaps the most general and simple -- yet stupefying -– note of the game is the Rangers were held scoreless in more innings (five) than innings they actually scored (four).
The 30 runs in that game are more than what the Dallas Cowboys have scored in each of their three road games against the Baltimore Ravens.
Orioles Reliever Paul Shuey, who gave up the last nine runs of the game in two innings pitched, appeared in one more game for the Orioles before being released. He never pitched in the majors after 2007. Fellow reliever Rob Bell gave up seven runs in a 1 1/3 innings and finished the year with a 5.94 ERA in what would be his final season in MLB.
The Rangers won the second game of the doubleheader, winning 9-7. The 39 runs are still the most in a doubleheader by one team in the modern era (since 1900).
Tune in tonight as the Rangers take on the Angels at 10 ET on ESPN.