There was no June swoon for weird, wacky and wonderful in baseball. The greatest game provided another load of strikeouts, including immaculate ones, home runs and unusual name connections, led by a threesome of Santanas on one play, and Griffin Jax and Skye Bolt in one week. It gave us bizarre plays, triple plays and a triple shot of Cedric Mullins. So here, with statistical assistance from the Elias Sports Bureau, are The Quirkjians for June.
On a day that Domingo German (Yankees) and German Marquez (Rockies) started for their teams, Ty France had three hits for the Mariners, Jonathan India had a single and a stolen base for the Reds, and Derek Holland got the win for the Tigers.
When Reds infielder Alex Blandino pitched against the Phillies, it marked the third time this year that the Phillies had faced a pitcher wearing 0. Marcus Stroman and Adam Ottavino were the others.
The Phillies’ Brad Miller went 0-for-4 with four strikeouts in a game in which his team scored 17 runs. The last player to do that was Arizona’s Christian Walker in an 18-2 win over the Giants on May 24, 2019.
In the Rays-Yankees game, the pitchers of record were Jordan Montgomery and Shane McClanahan, whose names total 31 letters. Noteworthy, but that couldn’t match Aug. 9, 1995, when the pitchers of record in the Pirates-Giants game were Jason Christiansen and William Van Landingham, who totaled 38 letters.
Ryan Yarbrough pitched a complete game against the Yankees, ending the Rays’ streak of 731 games without a complete game, the longest, by far, in major league history. Complete games have become close to obsolete. Over the past 10 years, six pitchers have thrown a no-hitter, and it was, and remains, their only complete game: Phil Humber, Hisashi Iwakuma, Alec Mills, Joe Musgrove, John Means and Spencer Turnbull.
The Yankees’ Michael King pitched an immaculate inning (three strikeouts on nine pitches) in the fourth inning against the Red Sox. He went to Bishop Hendricken High School in Warwick, Rhode Island. So did former Blue Jays pitcher Thomas Pannone, who also had an immaculate inning in his major league career.
The Dodgers became the sixth team since 1900, and the first team since the Tigers in 1996, to score nine runs in a game in which they got only four hits. In Detroit’s 10-9 win over the Mariners that day, Alex Rodriguez batted ninth.
The Royals led the Twins 13-0 after two innings (the first team to do that since the Phillies led the Nationals in 2017). In the game, the Twins’ Willians Astudillo became the first position player to throw a scoreless inning in a game after going 0-for-5 (with a GIDP and error) since the Orioles’ Chris Davis went 0-for-8 (with a GIDP), then pitched two scoreless innings against the Red Sox in 2012. Davis was the winning pitcher that day in Boston.
The Mets’ Jacob deGrom allowed one or no earned runs for a ninth consecutive start, tied for the longest such streak since the mound was lowered in 1969. Among those tied was the Giants’ Kevin Gausman, who did so earlier in the day. (Gausman’s streak would end his next time out — but deGrom wouldn’t allow his next earned run until four starts later.)
The Orioles’ Cedric Mullins recorded his second five-hit game of the season, meaning he had two more five-hit games in nine weeks than Lou Gehrig, Mel Ott and Edgar Martinez had in their careers combined.
Padres reliever Austin Adams hit his 10th batter of the season. It came in his 20th inning pitched. The last pitcher to hit 10 batters in fewer innings was Orel Hershiser, who hit 10 in his first 18⅓ innings in 2000. Padres Hall of Famer Trevor Hoffman hit nine batters in 1,089⅓ innings in his career.
Yandy Diaz hit the first home run by a Rays first baseman this year. The last team to go this deep into a season without a home run by its first baseman was the 2010 Orioles, who got a home run from Ty Wigginton on June 30, the 77th game of the season.
Ranking Shohei Ohtani’s top five hits — and pitches — of the 2021 MLB season.
The Phillies’ Travis Jankowski made the 1,000th plate appearance of his career and still was without a sacrifice fly. The record for most career plate appearances without a sac fly is 1,192 by Larry Jackson, a pitcher.
Royals pitcher Jackson Kowar threw three wild pitches in the first inning of his major league debut, two more than Orioles reliever Dick Hall threw in 1,269 innings in his career. The last pitcher to throw three wild pitches in the first inning of his major league debut was the Brewers’ Chris Mabeus on May 29, 2006.
The Phillies’ Luke Williams hit a walk-off home run in his first major league game. J.D. Martinez of the Red Sox, at that time, had 250 home runs without a walk-off. Norm Cash is the record holder for the most career homers (377) without a walk-off. Cash never had a walk-off RBI of any kind in his career.
In a 12-8 loss to the Red Sox, the Astros led in the middle of the second, third, fifth and sixth innings, but didn’t lead at the end of any inning. They are the third team in the past 50 years to lead through the middle of four innings, but not lead at the end of any of the nine innings.
The Angels’ Shohei Ohtani balked twice during an at-bat to Eduardo Escobar, the first pitcher to do that since the Tigers’ Ryan Carpenter in 2019. So, Ohtani had more balks during one batter than Mike Mussina (one) had in 3,562⅔ innings. And two more balks than Jeff Samardzija has in his career, covering 1,645⅓ innings.
In the Dodgers 12-1 win over the Rangers, Los Angeles’ line score in the runs column read like what looked to be an Arizona phone number: 602-220-0012. We dialed the number. Thankfully, it was not in service.
Four days after the aptly named Griffin Jax, a reliever for the Twins, allowed the first two homers of his career, the aptly named Skye Bolt, an outfielder for the A’s, hit his first career home run.
How the Savannah Bananas are changing the rules of baseball.
The A’s used two pitchers of Armenian descent, starter James Kaprielian and reliever Cam Bedrosian, in the same game. This note was written by a writer of Armenian descent, Tim Kurkjian. It has been confirmed that that is the first time in baseball history that an Armenian has written about two Armenians pitching for the same team in the same game.
The Tigers beat the Royals 10-3 but used nine pitchers in the victory. The last team to use nine pitchers in a game in which it scored at least 10 runs and won by at least seven runs was Sept. 27, 2019, when the Yankees beat the Rangers 14-7.
The Astros’ Jose Altuve became the first player ever to hit a leadoff home run the game after hitting a walk-off grand slam. Three players have hit three walk-off grand slams in their career: Cy Williams, Vern Stephens and Alex Rodriguez.
Dusty Baker (age 72) and Tony La Russa (76) managed against each other, marking the first time since 1900 that managers of that age managed against each other. From June 3-6, the Mets’ Luis Rojas managed against the Padres’ Jayce Tingler, neither of whom was alive when La Russa made his managerial debut in 1979.
In the fourth inning of the Red Sox-Royals game, Boston’s Danny Santana, batting against Ervin Santana, grounded out to Carlos Santana.
The first six hits for the Orioles were home runs in a 10-7 loss to the Blue Jays: three by Ryan Mountcastle, two by Cedric Mullins and one by DJ Stewart. The last team whose first six hits were homers was the Indians on June 24, 1989, against the Rangers: three by Joe Carter and one each by Cory Snyder, Pete O’Brien and Andy Allanson. They were the only hits the Indians got that day in a 7-2 victory. Six hits, all home runs.
The Red Sox’s Bobby Dalbec recorded the first three-hit game of his career. By the time he got there, he had 10 games of at least three strikeouts, three of which were four-strikeout games. Different times, different era, different player, but Tony Gwynn finished his career with one three-strikeout game and 297 three-hit games.
The Orioles’ Cedric Mullins and the Marlins’ Adam Duvall had multi-homer games for the second consecutive day. The only other time in major league history that the same two players had multi-homer games on consecutive days was May 12-13, 1958, by the Giants’ Willie Mays and Daryl Spencer.
The Yankees turned their third triple play in 31 days. No team in baseball history has ever turned three triple plays so quickly. This one ended the game, the third time in the expansion era (since 1961) that a triple play ended a game, but the first time that it protected a one-run lead. So the Yankees had as many triple plays (three) in 31 days as the Rays have had in their franchise history, and more than the Diamondbacks (two) or the Marlins (one) have had in their franchise history.
Braves third baseman Austin Riley entered the day with 17 hits in 30 at-bats this season on Sundays. That .567 average was the highest by any player on any day this season. Then, in a Sunday doubleheader against the Cardinals, he went 1-for-6.
The Diamondbacks ended their 17-game losing streak, but extended their modern (since 1900) major league record by trailing in a 38th game in a row during one season, breaking the previous mark of 37 set by the 2019 Tigers and the 1982 Mets. As for the longest streak with a lead in every game, in one season or over two seasons: 48 by the Yankees from June 30 to Aug. 19, 1998.
Cardinals outfielder Lars Nootbaar made his major league debut and promptly offered to donate a vowel to two former players, Twins first baseman Kent Hrbek and Brewers/Cubs catcher Joe Kmak.
The Giants’ Mike Tauchman joined Ray Lankford (1998), Sammy Sosa (2000), Brian Dozier (2017) and Dexter Fowler (2019) as the only players in major league history to hit a home run in a game in which they struck out five times. Tauchman and Lankford are the only ones to hit a homer after already striking out five times in a game.
Four Cubs pitchers no-hit the Dodgers despite having more walks (8) than strikeouts (7), the first no-hitter like that since 2011 when the Twins’ Francisco Liriano had six walks and two strikeouts in his no-hitter. The most walks in a no-hitter is 10 by Jim Maloney on Aug. 19, 1965. In 10 innings that day, Maloney struck out 12 and, according to his catcher, Johnny Edwards, Maloney threw 187 pitches.
The Rays won 1-0 on a wild pitch in the ninth inning, the first team to do that since 2013 when the Marlins’ Giancarlo Stanton scored on wild pitch thrown by the Tigers’ Luke Putkonen.
The Royals’ Salvy Perez has played in all 78 games for the Royals this year. Three times in major league history has a primary catcher played in all of his team’s game for an entire season: Mike Tresh (150 games in 1945), Frank Hayes (155 games in 1944) and Ray Mueller (155 games in 1944).
The Phillies’ Aaron Nola became the second pitcher ever, joining Hall of Famer Tom Seaver, to strike out 10 consecutive batters in one game. Nola struck out the first 10 Mets. On April 22, 1970, Seaver struck out the last 10 Padres of the game to finish with 19. Seaver didn’t have any problem going through the Padres’ order a third time.
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The Cubs’ Javy Baez struck out twice, making him the first player to 100 strikeouts this season, edging out the A’s Matt Chapman (99). Babe Ruth never struck out 100 times in a season. Neither did Hank Aaron. The worst strikeout season of Joe DiMaggio and Stan Musial combined was 85. Baez got to 100 in 67 games. Chris Davis and Adam Dunn hold the record for fewest games (64) to 100 strikeouts.
Fernando Tatis Jr. hit three home runs in his first four at-bats, the first Padre ever to do that. He joined Vladimir Guerrero Jr. in the major league home run lead with 25. In their honor, here is the all-time All Junior Team. C: Junior Ortiz. 1B: Vlad Guerrero. 2B: Jerry Hairston. SS: Fernando Tatis. 3B: Cal Ripken. OF: Ken Griffey. OF: Ronald Acuna. OF: Jose Cruz. P: Lance McCullers.
The only two players in major league history with the first name Keegan — pitcher Keegan Akin of the Orioles and pitcher Keegan Thompson of the Cubs — each got a loss.
The Cubs’ Jason Heyward entered Sunday night’s game 0-for-26 on Sundays this season. (He then sat against the Dodgers.)
In the top of the seventh inning at Great American Ballpark, the Reds’ pitcher, Art Warren, wore No. 77. In the bottom of the seventh, the Braves’ pitcher, Luke Jackson, wore No. 77. Jackson was replaced by A.J. Minter, who wore No. 33, and faced Jesse Winker, who wore No. 33.
The Nationals’ Kyle Schwarber hit two more home runs, giving him 15 in June, most ever in a calendar month by a leadoff hitter, and almost as many as the Diamondbacks have hit (17) in June. The 15 homers all came starting June 12, covering in 17 games. Only Barry Bonds (2001) and Sammy Sosa (1998) have ever hit 15 homers in a 17-game span. In that span, the Cardinals had 11 homers, the Diamondbacks nine and the White Sox eight. By the way, from 1926 to ’32, Babe Ruth outhomered the Washington Senators 343-327.
The Phillies had an awful month from their bullpen, and it’s certainly not the fault of rookie reliever Bailey Falter, who has been good this season: 13 innings, 10 hits, four runs, one walk, 15 strikeouts. But the Phillies have lost all five games in which he has pitched, fittingly, we guess, for a reliever named Falter.
The Rockies won at Coors Field, improving their record to 26-16 (.619) at home against 6-31 (.162) on the road. That .457 difference would be the largest disparity in home and road winning percentage in major league history. The 1897 Cleveland Spiders had a difference of .451, following by the 2020 Astros (.433). (They’d win again at Coors Field the next day on a near-no-hitter — increasing the disparity to .466.)
And then … Schwarber homered again.