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Ashway: Amazing oddities dominate baseball's first half
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Forsyth County News

As the baseball season takes an All-Star breather, we can get caught up on all the wild goings-on from the season’s first half.  With a little help from our friends at the Elias Sports Bureau, here’s what you might have missed:

April 1:What a start! No foolin’. The Nats’ Bryce Harper becomes the first player under age 21 to hit two homers on Opening Day…Clayton Kershaw of the Dodgers joins the Indians Bob Lemon (1953) as the only pitchers to throw a shutout and hit a home run on Opening Day…The White Sox Tyler Fowler becomes only the fourth player to homer in a 1-0 opener…The Reds (17) and Astros (13) combine for a record 30 strikeouts in their opener.

April 4:The Cubs and Pirates conclude their three game series with 24 hits. Total. The fewest hits between the teams in a three game set since 1915.

April 7:R.A. Dickey (Jays) and David Price (Rays) both charged with 8 earned runs, both lose, 13-0; the first time ever reigning Cy Young winners surrendered 7 or more runs on the same day…In his first two starts, the Indians Justin Masterson beat them both, the first pitcher to beat reigning Cys in successive starts.

April 14: Oh, those Cubbies! Already in midseason form, they manage to lose to the Giants on a walk-off balk in the 10th inning. Believe it or not, they’ve done it before: on April 28, 1965, with Ernie Broglio on the mound; another dividend from the hideous Lou Brock trade.

April 16:The Red Sox and Indians play the very first 9-inning game featuring 15 walks and 25 strikeouts.

April 19:Matt Harvey of the Mets becomes the first pitcher to win his first 4 starts allowing 10 hits.  Total.  Meanwhile, in his first 4 starts, the Indians Brett Myers has allowed a record 10 home runs.  Total.

April 23:Adam Wainwright of the Cards records 35 strikeouts before issuing his first walk, breaking the record of 30 held by Dennis Eckersley (1990) and Billy Wagner (2004.)

April 28:Catchers hit a record 99 homers in April, breaking the record of 96 set in 1996, led by

April 29:John Beck of the Mets, whose 9th homer ties the April record for catchers set by John Bench (1971) and Charles Johnson (2001.)

April 30:Tim Hudson homers in his 200th win, joining — all together now — Bob Lemon, who did it on September 11, 1956.

May 5:A’s Josh Reddick singles at Yankee Stadium, breaking an 0-for-33 skid there. That’s the longest hitless streak in the Bronx since Bill Monbouquette singled off of Dooley Womack to end an 0-for-39 skid in 1966.

May 9:Twins Oswaldo Garcia homers at Fenway Park on his 22nd birthday, the youngest to do so there since Yogi Berra in 1947. Ted Williams homered on his 23rd birthday at Fenway in 1941.

May 10:Alex Cobb of the Rays strikes out every batter he faces in an inning, but for the first time in history, still allows a run! The Padres’ Will Venable struck out, but reached first on a wild pitch, stole second as Chase Headley struck out, stole third, watched Carlos Quintin strike out, came home on a balk, and saw Yonder Alonso strike out to end the inning. Cobb later became the first pitcher to register 13 strikeouts in less than 5 innings pitched but be removed from the game.

May 13:The Indians beat the Yankees, 1-0, on a first inning homer by Jason Kipnis, the first such win in the team’s 113-year history.

May 18:The D’backs beat the Marlins, 1-0, on a first pitch homer by Gerardo Parra, the first such game since September 2, 1963, when Reds rookie of the year Pete Rose homered off of the Mets Jay Hook.

May 20:The Indians win 3 of 4 in Seattle in walk-off fashion, and manager Terry Francona observes, "You don’t often see your opponent score in 3 straight innings, and you win!" True enough: it’s been 17 years and over 40,000 games.

May 25:The Giants beat the Rockies on Angel Pagan’s walk-off inside-the-park home run, the Giants first since Bill Terry did it in 1931.

May 30:On the bright side, Cub pitchers set a record with 19 runs batted in for the month.

June 4:The Phillies John Mayberry becomes the first to homer twice in extra innings, including a walk-off grand slam.

June 5:The White Sox and Mariners play 13 scoreless innings, and then both score 5 runs in the 14th. Never happened before. Their 12 runs in extra innings tie an American League record.

June 16:The Pirates Gerrit Cole becomes the first pitcher to defeat two Cy Young winners in his first two starts.

June 25:The Cards score 13 runs on 15 hits with 14 strikeouts. The first 14-hit, 14-strikeout game occurred in 1966.  The 60s, 70s and 80s each had one such game; the 90s, six. In this century there have been 28.

July 2:Raul Ibanez of the Mariners becomes the first player over 40 to hit 20 homers before the All-Star break.

July 13:Tim Lincecum of the Giants adds a no-hitter to his two Cy Young awards and two World Series rings, joining Sandy Koufax, Bob Gibson and Jim Palmer.

July 14:The White Sox and Phillies go extra innings, one day after both ends of a doubleheader go extra innings. In the last 73 years, it only happened one other time: to the White Sox, against the Royals, in August, 2010.