Barry Zito Hurls My First Strat No-Hitter! Oakland Takes Series v. Boston

June 30: Boston 4, Oakland 3

Oakland’s Chief Bender was absolutely rolling and took a 1-0 lead into the top of the eighth when things went south for him. The incredibly hot Carlton Fisk led the inning off with a single, Bender got the next two batters, and then Tris Speaker singled in Fisk to tie the game, Yaz walked, and Ted Williams doubled in Speaker for the go-ahead run.

In the ninth, Fisk homered—his fifth in his last four games—to add a couple of insurance runs. Those runs looked big after Oakland mounted a rally in the ninth that fell just one run short.

                  R H BB
BOS 000 000 022 - 4 6  4
OAK 010 000 002 - 3 9  3

HR: C. Fisk (10)

starters    IP  R ER HR BB SO
S.J. Wood  8.0  3  3  0  3  5  
C. Bender  7.2  2  2  0  4  1 

BOS 50-29, OAK 42-37

zitoJuly 1: Oakland 4, Boston 0

After seven years and approximately 900 games of Strat-O-Matic, this was my first no-hitter! It was an unlikely combination of pitcher and opponent. Oakland’s Barry Zito has scuffled all year and hadn’t thrown a nine inning start or made a start without allowing at least one run, and usually plenty more than that. His ERA stood at 6.27 as he took on Boston and their second-best team batting average in the league.

I noticed Boston didn’t have a hit yet after six innings, but had no expectations Oakland could get nine more outs without giving one up. But Zito kept flying and using his defense through the final out. Zito struck out only four all day. Jose Canseco corralled a lazy fly ball to right field off the bat of Wade Boggs to finish the no-hitter.

Dwight Evans reached on a Home Run Baker error in the third but never advanced past first. Then Fisk led the sixth off with Boston’s lone walk of the game. Boston, by now seeing how locked in Zito was, decided to risk sending Fisk on a steal attempt against catcher Mickey Cochrane’s weak arm, but Cochrane nailed Fisk. Zito only needed to face 28 to complete the gem (and without Baker’s error, it could have been 27).

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July 2: Oakland 1, Boston 0

The Boston hitters were still on their heels the next day against a rock solid Rube Waddell. Not even Pedro Martinez’s brilliance could save the day in this one. Pedro and Rube traded zeroes for six and a half innings before Mickey Cochrane started the bottom of the seventh with a double and Eddie Joost singled him home. It was the only run of the game as Waddell followed up Zito’s masterpiece with a shutout of his own. Waddell issued two walks and four singles, but nothing else.

It was the third shutout of Boston’s offense in their last four games. Boston tripped and fell flat on their face on their way into the All-Star break, but an otherwise brilliant first half has them on a 100 win pace.

                  R H BB
BOS 000 000 000 - 0 4  2
OAK 000 000 10x - 1 6  2

HR: none

starters      IP  R ER HR BB SO
P. Martinez  7.0  1  1  0  1  5 
R. Waddell   9.0  0  0  0  2  5

BOS 50-31, OAK 44-37

Minnesota Aces Turn NY Bats Limp In Sweep

June 27: Minnesota 11, New York 5

Walter Johnson gave up four walks and nine hits, but none of the extra base variety. That’s no small trick against NY, by far the sluggingest team in the league.

Meanwhile, the Twins knocked 17 hits, six for extra bases. Sam Rice had four hits and two triples.

                  R  H BB
NY 000 030 200 -  5  9  4
MN 002 220 50x - 11 17  3

HR: none

starters     IP  R ER HR BB SO
B. Shawkey  4.1  6  6  0  2  0  
W. Johnson  9.0  5  3  0  4  6 

NY 43-33, MN 40-36

santanaJune 28: Minnesota 5, New York 1

Johan Santana tamed the Yankee bats even more the next day. He gave up just four hits (three to Alex Rodriguez) and all were singles. Santana barely missed throwing a second straight shutout after a pair of walks in the top of the ninth prompted a pitching change. Joe Nathan finished off the game, allowing one inherited runner to score. Tony Oliva had three hits, including a double, which was the only extra base knock of the game. Santana lowered his league-best ERA to 2.13.

For the first time all season, Lou Gehrig failed to reach base safely in two consecutive games.

                 R H BB
NY 000 000 001 - 1 4  4
MN 200 010 11x - 5 7  4

HR: none

starters     IP  R ER HR BB SO
L. Gomez    7.0  4  3  0  2  3  
J. Santana  8.1  1  1  0  4  9 

NY 43-34, MN 41-36

June 29: Minnesota 4, New York 2

After 21 innings in the series without a New York extra base hit, Charlie Keller launched a two-run round-tripper in the fourth inning. The Yankees still trailed by a run, and it was the extent of New York’s scoring. Camilo Pascual somehow tiptoed around eight walks in his seven innings to again frustrate New York’s bats and lead the way to a convincing sweep.

Keller’s dinger was the only homer of the series for either team. Minnesota has by far the fewest homers in the loop, but leads the league in hits (802), triples (51), and batting average (.283).

                 R H BB
NY 000 200 000 - 2 6  8
MN 111 010 00x - 4 9  4

HR: C. Keller (11)

starters      IP  R ER HR BB SO
R. Caldwell  5.0  4  4  0  2  2  
C. Pascual   7.0  2  2  1  8  5 

NY 43-35, MN 42-36

Ball Jumps Out of the Yard As Seattle Takes First Two, Texas Nabs Low Scoring Finale

harrahJune 27: Seattle 8, Texas 7 (10 innings)

Two of the premier strikeout pitchers in the league faced off, but both found trouble with the long ball in the hot Texas air. The first four Seattle hitters of the game pounced on Nolan Ryan for a walk, double, and two homers for a quick 4-0 lead.

But Randy Johnson got roughed up in the bottom of the first and Texas was immediately back within a run. Ryan settled in after that and put together five shutout innings, while Johnson never could stop the bleeding. A Rafael Palmeiro dong in the third gave Texas the lead, and Toby Harrah hit his second bomb of the game (and season) in the fourth to knock out the Unit in his worst start of the year. Harrah, Adrian Beltre’s back-up at third, was making just his 10th start, and added two singles to his two homers.

Dan Wilson tagged Ryan with a solo shot in the seventh, but the Texas bullpen inherited a 7-5 lead. Neftali Feliz coughed it up in the ninth on a pinch-hit, two-run shot by John Olerud that sent the game into extras, and Robinson Cano smacked the eighth homer of the game with a solo shot in the tenth to give Seattle the W. After Johnson’s rough start, the Mariners bullpen did not allow a single run in 6.2 innings of work.

                    R  H BB
SEA 400 000 102 1 - 8  8  5
TEX 302 200 000 0 - 7 12  1

HR: A. Rodriguez-SEA (13), K. Griffey (12), R. Cano (7),
J. Olerud (1), D. Wilson (2), T. Harrah-2 (2), R. Palmeiro (14)

starters      IP  R ER HR BB SO
R. Johnson   3.1  7  7  3  1  4  
N. Ryan      7.0  5  5  3  3  9 

SEA 34-42, TEX 34-42

June 28: Seattle 8, Texas 3 (11 innings)

The teams matched up well for 10 innings, both putting up three runs that included one solo shot. Then Seattle went bonkoid in the 11th, crushing relievers Francisco Cordero and John Wetteland for two dingers and five runs. Every Mariner had a hit, led by Ichiro’s four singles.

                     R  H BB
SEA 010 101 000 05 - 8 14  6
TEX 000 100 200 00 - 3  7  3

HR: K. Griffey (13), K. Seager (12),
K. Johjima (4), J. Franco (10)

starters       IP  R ER HR BB SO
F. Hernandez  7.0  3  3  1  2  8  
Y. Darvish    7.0  3  3  1  5  5 

SEA 35-42, TEX 34-43

June 29: Texas 2, Seattle 1

A couple of wily veterans brought it down for the finale in a well-played and fast-paced game. Jamie Moyer and Charlie Hough each allowed just one run in the first seven innings. Then both hurlers put a couple of men on in the eighth and were pulled for relievers. The Texas bullpen stranded both Mariners, but Frank Howard drove in one of Moyer’s left-overs to claim the game.

The teams ended the series in a three-way tie with Houston for third place.

                  R H BB
SEA 100 000 000 - 1 7  4
TEX 001 000 01x - 2 8  2

HR: none

starters   IP  R ER HR BB SO
J. Moyer  7.0  2  2  0  2  3  
C. Hough  7.1  1  1  0  3  1 

SEA 35-43, TEX 35-43

Oakland’s Burners Steal Their Way To Series Win In Detroit

June 27: Detroit 4, Oakland 2

It was a pretty good duel between Rube Waddell and Justin Verlander for the first half of the game, but the Tigers chipped away for single runs against Waddell in four separate innings. Verlander stayed strong through the ninth, when he couldn’t quite record the final out of the game as the A’s mounted a rally. John Hiller came in and grounded out his first batter to close the win for Detroit.

                  R  H BB
OAK 001 000 001 - 2  8  2
DET 000 111 01x - 4 11  4

HR: none

starters      IP  R ER HR BB SO
R. Waddell   7.1  4  4  0  4  4  
J. Verlander 8.2  2  2  0  2  6 

OAK 40-36, DET 37-39

rickeyJune 28: Oakland 8, Detroit 4

Oakland’s offense fared much better the next day against Hal Newhouser and then Dizzy Trout. Rickey Henderson went hitless, but that didn’t stop him from swiping second base four times, once after hitting into a fielder’s choice and thrice after a base on balls, and scoring four.

                  R  H BB
OAK 011 032 010 - 8  8  7
DET 000 020 200 - 4 10  1

HR: J. Foxx (13), D. Murphy (3), H. Greenberg (4)

starters       IP  R ER HR BB SO
L. Grove      7.2  4  4  1  1  5  
H. Newhouser  4.1  5  4  1  4  4 

OAK 41-36, DET 37-40

June 29: Oakland 6, Detroit 3

Henderson, Eddie Collins, Home Run Baker, and Bert Campaneris combined to steal seven bases in seven attempts against catcher Bill Freehan’s mediocre arm, and they scored five of Oakland’s six runs.

Bobby Veach drilled two triples and scored all three Detroit runs but Tim Hudson subdued all the other Detroit hitters en route to joining an exclusive group of six qualified hurlers with a sub-3.00 ERA.

                  R  H BB
OAK 210 002 100 - 6 12  2
DET 010 000 101 - 3  9  1

HR: R. Jackson (13)

starters     IP  R ER HR BB SO
T. Hudson   8.0  2  2  0  0  3  
T. Bridges  7.0  6  5  1  1  5 

OAK 42-36, DET 37-41

Boston Predictably Takes First 2, Anaheim Breaks Out For Great Game 3

fiskJune 27: Boston 14, Anaheim 1

This is what you get when the team with the best walk rate goes up against the pitcher with the worst walk rate. Anaheim’s Nolan Ryan issued seven free passes in his 4.2 innings, five of which turned into runs for Boston.

The Angels got a ray of hope when they got a quick run off Pedro Martinez in the first inning on a Tim Salmon double and Mike Trout single, but Pedro was Pedro from there. Over his next five innings, Pedro yielded one more hit and one HBP.

Carlton Fisk had a career day with a walk, single, triple, and two homers. It was his second straight game with two homers.

                   R  H BB
ANA 100 000 000 -  1  3  1
BOS 122 040 23x - 14 12 11

HR: C. Fisk-2 (9)

starters      IP  R ER HR BB SO
N. Ryan      4.2  9  9  0  7  2  
P. Martinez  6.0  1  1  0  1  5 

ANA 26-50, BOS 48-28

June 28: Boston 5, Anaheim 2

It was a much closer affair the next day, and it could have been even closer if not for two errors committed by Anaheim in the first inning. Rod Carew and Erick Aybar both erred in the frame around two outs and a Carl Yasztremski walk. So the bases were juiced for Nomar Garciaparra, who cranked a grand slam.

When his defense was helping him out, Andy Messersmith had an excellent game, giving up just one earned run in 6.2. Roger Clemens was even better though, limiting Anaheim to one run in eight innings. Just like the day before, Anaheim got a quick first inning run driven in by Mike Trout but were pretty well shut down thereafter. Martinez and Clemens own the second and third best ERAs in the league at 2.45 and 2.47 respectively.

                  R H BB
ANA 100 000 001 - 2 9  3
BOS 400 000 10x - 5 5  7

HR: N. Garciaparra (9)

starters         IP  R ER HR BB SO
A. Messersmith  6.2  5  1  1  5  6  
R. Clemens      8.0  1  1  0  2  5 

ANA 26-51, BOS 49-28

June 29: Anaheim 10, Boston 0

The Angels turned in the shocker of the year to close the series. Jered Weaver was superlative in his first shutout, spacing out five hits and one walk to keep Boston on their heels all day. Wade Boggs, Tris Speaker, and Ted Williams, three of the toughest outs in the league, never reached safely.  It was Weaver’s best and final game of the first half and likely sealed Weaver a spot as one of the Expansion Division’s three starters in the All-Star series to be played July 3rd and 4th.

The Angels bats were rolling too, every batter getting at least one hit, Troy Glaus and Mike Trout leading the way with three apiece. Trout’s day included a triple and a homer, more encouraging evidence that Trout’s power is back for good. After a distinct lack of power for much of the first quarter, he’s raised his slugging percentage to a much more Trout-like .432, and he is also in line to see action in the All-Star series.

Carlton Fisk added another two hits and has seemingly come out of nowhere to have the best wOBA (.395) in Boston’s great lineup, and eighth best in the league.

                   R  H BB
ANA 211 010 041 - 10 15  3
BOS 000 000 000 -  0  5  1

HR: M. Trout (8), M. Napoli (3)

starters    IP  R ER HR BB SO
J. Weaver  9.0  0  0  0  1  8  
C. Young   5.0  5  5  1  0  0 

ANA 27-51, BOS 49-29

Baltimore Comes Back To Claim Series Over Toronto

June 27: Toronto 6, Baltimore 2

Doc Halladay was on, going the distance and holding the powerful Orioles lineup to two runs. Halladay is on a nice streak in his last seven starts, during which he has a 2.62 ERA.

Edwin Encarnacion blasted two dingers against Erik Bedard to help Toronto hand Baltimore just their second loss against an Expansion team.

                  R  H BB
TOR 300 001 002 - 6 11  2
BAL 100 100 000 - 2  5  3

HR: E. Encarnacion-2 (7), F. Robinson (18)

starters      IP  R ER HR BB SO
R. Halladay  9.0  2  2  1  3  8  
E. Bedard    7.0  4  4  2  2  6 

TOR 38-38, BAL 45-31

sisler
Sisler

June 28: Baltimore 9, Toronto 3

Baltimore’s first three hitters in the lineup, Ken Singleton, George Sisler, and Frank Robinson, all reached three times as Baltimore’s bats overwhelmed a scuffling Dave Stieb.

                  R  H BB
TOR 000 020 001 - 3 11  2
BAL 311 000 13x - 9 13  6

HR: G. Sisler (5)

starters     IP  R ER HR BB SO
D. Stieb    6.0  6  6  1  3  1  
H. Howell   9.0  3  3  0  2  5 

TOR 38-39, BAL 46-31

June 29: Baltimore 4, Toronto 3

The rubber match was tight. Toronto jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first two innings, in part thanks to a Fred McGriff double and a Tony Fernandez triple. Fernandez is third in the league and first in the Expansion with 10 triples.

The Orioles grabbed the lead in the bottom of the fifth in one fell swoop when Bobby Grich slammed a three-run homer against Jimmy Key.

The Jays managed to tie it up in the eighth on a Rance Mulliniks double and a Shannon Stewart single. The tie didn’t last long though. Ken Williams drew a walk in the bottom of the frame, and Brooks Robinson drove him in with a single. Zach Britton closed out the victory for Baltimore in the ninth.

The teams wrapped up their inter-divisional play for the first half. Both finished with the best inter-division record in their respective divisions, Baltimore at 16-2 and Toronto at 12-12.

                  R  H BB
TOR 110 000 010 - 3 11  2
BAL 000 030 01x - 4  7  5

HR: B. Grich (12)

starters     IP  R ER HR BB SO
J. Key      6.2  3  3  1  3  5  
J. Powell   8.0  3  3  0  2  2 

TOR 38-40, BAL 47-31

KC Starts Quiet, Mayberry Wakes Them Up In Time To Claim Series In Cleveland

June 27: Cleveland 5, Kansas City 0

It was the Addie Joss show as the Cleveland hurler twirled his second shutout of the year. Manny Ramirez was good in a supporting role, blasting two homers to drive in four of Cleveland’s five runs.

                  R  H BB
KC  000 000 000 - 0  6  2
CLE 001 000 13x - 5 10  2

HR: M. Ramirez-2 (14)

starters     IP  R ER HR BB SO
K. Appier   7.0  2  2  1  2  6  
A. Joss     9.0  0  0  0  2  2 

KC 37-39, CLE 39-37

mayberryJune 28: Kansas City 4, Cleveland 2

Sam McDowell shut out the KC bats for eight innings, and 17 innings had passed in the series with the Royals still looking for their first run. Bret Saberhagen was cruising for KC too, giving up just one run in eight innings of work.

McDowell took the hill in the top of the ninth looking to complete a 1-0 win for the Naps, but the Royals finally made some noise. Mike Sweeney led off with a walk, Alex Gordon followed with a single, and Darrell Porter drew a walk to load the bases with nobody out. Cody Allen came on to relieve McDowell and very nearly got out of it. He got Willie Wilson to fly out shallow enough to hold Sweeney at third, then Frank White struck out for the second out. But Big John Mayberry came off the bench to pinch-hit for Alcides Escobar and drilled a grand slam to cast a pall over the Cleveland crowd.

                  R H BB
KC  000 000 004 - 4 8  5
CLE 000 000 101 - 2 6  1

HR: J. Mayberry (12), T. Hafner (9)

starters        IP  R ER HR BB SO
B. Saberhagen  8.0  1  1  0  1  3  
S. McDowell    8.0  3  3  0  5  7 

KC 38-39, CLE 39-38

June 29: Kansas City 6, Cleveland 4

The Royal bats stayed awake the next day against Corey Kluber. Willie Wilson smacked three singles, and now leads the league in singles with 82. Darrell Porter collected one single and two doubles. Frank White laced a two-RBI single in the sixth to push across the winning run and help KC reach .500.

The series wrapped up a tough stretch of nine straight inter-divisional games for KC, five of which they managed to put in the win column.

                  R  H BB
KC  002 103 000 - 6 15  1
CLE 200 020 000 - 4  6  3

HR: A. Rosen (10)

starters    IP  R ER HR BB SO
J. Rosado  7.1  4  4  1  1  7  
C. Kluber  5.2  6  6  0  0  6 

KC 39-39, CLE 39-39