After the trade deadline, division and wild card races started to heat up in August. The month featured teams as hot as the weather and some amazing plays. In her monthly review Cheryl Wright takes a look at a couple of cycles and some quirky plays.
As we close in on the end of the regular season, some powerhouse teams have emerged. The Toronto Blue Jays went 21-6 in August, scoring 170 runs (6.3 runs per game) while allowing just 83. The St. Louis Cardinals just keep winning, and they finished August with a 19-9 record and 85 total wins. The Kansas City Royals also went 19-9 in August, and reached 80 wins. Meanwhile, the slumping Washington Nationals, Baltimore Orioles, San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Angels saw their playoff hopes begin to fade. Here are some remarkable moments from August:
August 1: Wade Davis allowed an eighth-inning homer to Jose Bautista, marking a rare bad night for the reliever. In fact, that home run was the first allowed by Davis since August 24, 2013. Davis went 125 ⅓ innings between home runs, which was the second-longest streak in the last 20 years. Only Brad Ziegler, at 147 innings (from 2010-12) threw more innings between home runs.
August 2: Curtis Granderson, Daniel Murphy and Lucas Duda all homered in the third inning of the New York Mets’ victory over the Nationals. This was the first time in New York Mets history that three left-handed hitters homered in the same inning.
August 3: Adrian Beltre hit for the cycle for the third time in his career. Beltre’s third career cycle tied him for the major league record held by Long John Reilly (who played in the 1880s), Bob Meusel (1920s), and Babe Herman (1930s). What made this cycle even more impressive was that it was completed in the fifth inning, making Beltre one of just six players in history to complete a cycle that quickly.
August 8: Stephen Strasburg, in his return from the disabled list, pitched seven strong innings, striking out a dozen batters and allowing just three hits. He also went 3-for-3 at the plate, collecting as many hits as he allowed. He is just the third pitcher in history to strike out at least 12 batters and go at least 3-for-3 as a hitter, joining Adam Wainwright (2013) and Camilo Pascual (1956 and 1961).
Also on August 8, Abraham Almonte had quite a debut with the Indians. He went 4-for-5 at the plate and hit a home run, making him the first Indians’ player with at least 4 hits and a homer in his debut.
August 11: For the first time in major league history, all fifteen games were won by the home teams. The previous record for games played with the home teams winning all contests was 12, set on May 23, 1914. On that date, the home teams won all of the four American League games, four National League games and four Federal League games.
Also on August 11, the Diamondbacks scored 11 runs in the second inning. All of the runs were charged to starter David Buchanan. The beleaguered pitcher became just the third Phillies pitcher since 1900 to allow at least 11 runs in an inning, joining Reggie Grabowski (11 runs in 1934) and Hal Kelleher (12 runs in 1938). Buchanan was also the first to allow 11 runs in an inning since Jason Jennings took a beating for the Houston Astros in 2007.
August 12: Hisashi Iwakuma became this season’s third pitcher to throw a no-hitter, and the second Japanese-born hurler to accomplish the feat. Surprisingly, this was the first American League no-hitter since Iwakuma’s teammate Felix Hernandez completed one on August 15, 2012; there were 12 National League no-hitters during that interval.
August 13: The Blue Jays won their eleventh straight game… for the second time this season! They are the first team to have two winning streaks of 11 games or more since the 1954 Cleveland Indians, who finished the season with a .721 winning percentage (highest all time) and a 111-43 record.
Also on August 13th, Anthony Rizzo made an amazing defensive play by leaping into the stands to catch a foul ball. Words can’t do this play justice:
August 14: Matt Kemp became the first player in San Diego Padres’ history to hit for the cycle. He is the fourth major leaguer to accomplish the feat in 2015, joining Brock Holt, Shin-Soo Choo and Adrian Beltre. Now that the Padres’ 47-year wait is over, the longest current major league drought is held by the Reds, who have not had a cycle since 1989.
August 15: Minnesota Twins’ second baseman Brian Dozier smashed home run number 25. He is the only Twin to reach 25 homers in any of the past three seasons, and the first Twins middle infielder in team history (since 1901) to reach that milestone.
On the same night, Ichiro Suzuki reached a milestone of his own, tallying major league hits numbers 2,914 and 2,915. He had 1,278 hits while playing in Japan as well. Counting those hits gives Ichiro a total of 4,193, one more than Ty Cobb’s legendary number.
Also on August 15, the Boston Red Sox followed the previous night’s 15-1 win over the Seattle Mariners by thumping them again, this time by a score of 22-10. It was the first time since 1950 that a team scored at least 15 runs on at least 21 hits in back-to-back games. Jackie Bradley Jr. was the biggest offensive star, going 5-for-6 with five extra-base hits and seven RBI. He is the youngest player in a century to compile five extra-base hits in a game.
August 16: Madison Bumgarner singlehandedly took care of the Nationals. He threw a three-hit shutout, striking out 14 batters, and also hit a home run. The only other pitcher in major league history to complete a shutout, strike out at least 14, and hit a home run was Early Wynn in 1959.
Also on August 18, Aroldis Chapman’s streak of 56 consecutive saves finally came to an end. The streak, which is the longest since the save rule was adopted in 1969, was snapped by Ben Zobrist’s game-tying home run for the Kansas City Royals.
August 19: Rookie Carlos Correa hit his fifteenth home run in just 62 games. Only two players who hit 15 home runs before their 21st birthday accomplished this in fewer games than Correa: Willie Mays hit his fifteenth homer in his 55th game, and Frank Robinson needed 58 games to reach 15 home runs.
August 20: Marcell Ozuna’s home run produced something I’ve never seen before. Not only did it hit the foul pole… it landed on the foul pole.
August 21: In just his third start since being traded to the Astros, Mike Fiers provided a pitching performance to remember, throwing a no-hitter against the Los Angeles Dodgers. Fiers struck out 10 and walked three batters in the 134-pitch performance. The no-hitter was the 11th in Houston’s history.
On the same night, another recently-acquired player had a big night for his new team. Yoenis Cespedes went 5-for-6 against the Rockies, including three home runs and a grand slam. His night included 7 RBI and 5 runs scored as well. He is the first player in major league history to record five hits, three home runs and a grand slam, and the second Met to compile at least five hits, five RBI and five runs scored.
August 24: The Mets collected 15 extra-base hits, including eight home runs, in defeating the Phillies 16-7. The extra-base and home run totals each set new Mets’ franchise records. In addition, ten different players (seven Mets and three Phillies) homered in the game, setting a major league record for the number of players with home runs in a game.
Aug 25: Wilmer Flores almost made an incredible play, diving to catch a Ryan Howard liner but dropping it as he hit the ground. Howard, however, made this play remarkable when he turned toward the dugout after the apparent catch. Flores tossed the ball to first base before Howard could recover from his own mistake.
August 30: Jake Arrieta finished off a torrid month by throwing a no-hitter against the Dodgers. During August, Arrieta went 6-0 with a 0.43 ERA, capping off the month by striking out the side in the ninth inning of his no-hitter.
Also on August 30, David Wright played in his 1510th major league game at third base. Having spent his whole career with the Mets, Wright has now played more games as a third baseman than any other player in New York’s history. Graig Nettles played 1509 games at third for the Yankees.