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Oddities from baseballs first half
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Forsyth County News
As baseball takes its annual All-Star breather, we have a moment to catch up on all the oddities from the first half of the season. With a nod of appreciation to Seymour Siwolf’s research staff at the Elias Sports Bureau, here are some of the highlights. And lowlights:

April 4: The Red Sox rally from four runs down for the first time ever in an opener, beating the World Champion Yankees, 9-7. Ah, but it’s a long season.

April 5: Jason Heyward becomes the youngest player to homer in his first at bat since Ted Tappe of the Reds in 1950. The Braves become the first team to record two six run innings in its home opener, blasting the already hapless Cubs, 16-5…Ian Stewart of the Rockies becomes the first player to homer in his first at bat of a season on his birthday…Placido Polanco becomes the first Phillie to hit a grand slam on opening day…Garrett Jones becomes the first Pirate to homer in his first two at bats of a season.

April 7: An omen? Chipper Jones hits a two-run homer in the eighth inning as the Braves beat the hapless Cubs, 3-2. It marks Jones’ first lead-changing home run that late in a game since August 28, 2007.

April 11: Roy Halladay beats Roy Oswalt in the first matchup of pitchers with winning percentages over .658 in at least 250 career starts since
July 15, 1913, when Christy Mathewson beat Mordecai Brown.

April 12: The Twins open Target Field with a 5-2 win over the Red Sox. It marks the Sox first stadium opener since 1923, when they lost to the Yankees, 4-1, on a three-run homer by Babe Ruth in the House That He Built.

April 15: Brewers 8, Hapless Cubs 6, as the teams score in 12 different half innings, the second time in history that occurred.

April 18: Orioles pitcher Brian Matusz gets his second win. He’s 2-0. The rest of the team is 0-11.

April 20: The Reds win their sixth game, all in their final at bat, tying the record of the 1970 Giants.

April 22: Brewers 20, Pirates 0, the worst loss in Pirates history, which dates to 1887. The cumulative series score is 36-1, the widest margin posted since 1901…The Yankees turn a triple play, their first in 6632 games. That dates to 1968, and it involved Dooley Womack, Bobby Cox, and Mickey Mantle.

April 24: Joe Mauer of the Twins becomes the first catcher with five hits in one game, including a triple, since Carlton Fisk in 1988. Well played, Mauer.

April 25: They’re not the Pirates: the Brewers are swept by the hapless Cubs by a cumulative score of 25-4, a record turn around.

April 29 & 30: Paul Konerko hits his 10th homer, the first time a White Sox ever led the league to 10 homers. With his 11th, he’s the first White Sox to lead the league in homers at the end of April since Zeke Bonura in 1935.

May 3: Ubaldo Jiminez surrenders his first run in 16.3 innings after no-hitting the Braves, the longest post-no-hitter scoreless streak since Cy Young went 22 innings in 1904.

May 8: Henry Blanco and Rod Barajas of the Mets become the first catchers on the same team with walk-off homers in consecutive games. Ever.

May 9: Dallas Braden of the A’s pitches a perfect game, marking the shortest time span between perfectos since 1880. Mark Buehrle of the White Sox threw the last one on July 23, 2009. Ironically, the victims both times were the Rays.

May 12: Tyler Clippard of the Nats leads the league with his seventh win, the first time a reliever has led the league with seven or more wins since Gene Garber of the Braves in 1987.

May 13: Mat Latos of the Padres joins Cy Young (1905) and Billy Pierce (1958) as the only pitchers with back-to-back games of 8 innings pitched, 2 hits, 0 walks, and 0 runs.

May 16: The Mets drop into last place, the second-fastest first-to-worst slide in history (Padres, 11 days, 2001.)

May 19: Jason Heyward becomes the second active rookie to convert his first two walk-off opportunities. The other? Eric Hinske in 2002.

May 25: Cardinals manager Tony LaRussa drops to 34-43 in one-run games. Among managers with the 30 most one-run decisions, only two have a worse winning percentage: Gene Mauch and Wilbert Robinson.

May 29: Roy Halladay throws baseball’s 20th perfect game, the sixth on the road, and the second of those to be a 1-0 decision. It marks the shortest time span between perfect games, and the first season with two perfectos since 1880.

May 30: The Twins finish 50 games with only 12 errors, shattering the record of 17 set by the 2006 Red Sox and tied by the Phillies last year.

June 9: Carlos Lee of the Astros sets a record with his third extra inning grand slam.

June 11: Andy Petitte wins his 200th game as a Yankee, joining Whitey Ford and Red Ruffing.

June 14: Albert Pujols of the Cards and Ichiro Suzuki of the Mariners become the first players with at least 5000 at bats and career batting averages over .330 to play in the same game since 1942 (Joe Medwick and Paul Waner.)

June 24: Kevin Millwood of the Orioles has surrendered at least two runs in the first inning of seven straight starts, the longest such stretch in 110 years.

June 27: With Millwood’s help, the O’s become the first team to win four straight games after trailing by at least three runs since the 1901 Tigers.

July 4: Adam Wainwright of the Cards beats the Brewers to run his home record to 9-0 with a 1.43 era. He’s the first to post marks like that in his first nine home starts since 1946, when the Tigers Hal Newhauser went 9-0 with a 1.24 era.

July 9: The Phils beat the Reds after trailing, 7-1, going to the bottom of the ninth. That’s the third such game of the season (see Rockies over the Cards on July 6, and Braves over the Reds on May 20), a record. The Reds are the first team to lose two such games in one season, and Reds rookie Mike Leake is the first to start more than one such game in his entire career.