The beauty of baseball is that no matter how many games are played, you will always see something new. From A-Rod leapfrogging Mays, to Bartolo Colon making history, to Jon Lester’s futility, May 2015 did not disappoint. Cheryl Wright takes a tour around the league to look at the memorable May moments in Major League Baseball.
As spring morphs into summer, baseball’s playoff contenders are starting to emerge. But despite the length of this six-month schedule, each day brings with it the chance to witness something special, unique, or just plain weird. Here are a few of May’s most memorable moments:
May 1: In the eighth inning of a game against the Boston Red Sox, Alex Rodriguez came to bat as a pinch hitter and hit a game-winning homer. The home run was Rodriguez’s 660th, tying him with Willie Mays for the fourth-highest total in history. Surprisingly, it was also the first pinch-hit homer of his career.
May 2: For the first time since 2010, a game ended with a runner making an out by running into a batted ball. The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim fell to the San Francisco Giants 5-4 when Taylor Featherston was struck by a grounder to end the game. Just six hours later, it happened again! The Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 6-4 after Jordan Pacheco was struck by a baseball for the final out.
Also on May 2, Logan Schafer grounded to shortstop… and scored on the play! Starlin Castro made a throwing error to get Schafer started, and Anthony Rizzo’s half-hearted chase and errant throw to third base allowed Schafer to complete the circuit.
May 4: The Baltimore Orioles can’t wait for Bartolo Colon to finally retire. The New York Mets beat the Orioles 3-2 after Colon allowed one run over 7 2/3 innings. With this win, Colon became the first pitcher in major league history to record wins against one team for seven different clubs. He had previously beaten the Orioles while pitching for the Cleveland Indians, the Angels, the Red Sox, the Chicago White Sox, the New York Yankees, and the Oakland Athletics before securing the win with the Mets.
May 7: Against the Baltimore Orioles, Alex Rodriguez crushed a high, 1-1 changeup for home run #661, moving him into 4th place on baseball’s all time home run list.
May 13: Indians’ pitcher Corey Kluber dominated the St. Louis Cardinals, striking out 18 batters and allowing just 1 hit over 8 innings. It was just the fourth time in history in which a pitcher recorded at least 18 strikeouts while allowing no more than one hit.
May 25: Jeremy Guthrie had a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. He allowed 11 runs, including four homers, while getting only three outs against the Yankees. He was the first starter in history to give up at least eleven runs and four home runs while recording just three outs.
May 27: Jon Lester set a record that no baseball player wants to own, going hitless in the first 59 at bats of his career. In his start on May 22, he had tied the previous mark of 57 at-bats without a hit, set by pitcher Joey Hamilton in 1995. The streak has continued into June, currently standing at 61 at bats.
May 28: By defeating the Atlanta Braves 7-0, the Giants recorded their eighth shutout in May, with all 8 occurring at AT&T Park. The last team to record eight home shutouts in a month was also the Giants – the New York Giants, that is – in 1916.
May 29: Derek Norris was having a tough day at the plate, striking out in his first four plate appearances against the Pirates. Things turned around in his next at-bat, however, when Norris hit a walk-off grand slam. He is the first player in history to hit a game-winning home run after striking out four times.
May 30: The Dodgers set a franchise record by failing to score for 42 consecutive innings of road games, breaking the 41-inning scoreless streak set in 1908, when Brooklyn was their home. They finally snapped the streak during the next inning with Howie Kendrick’s RBI single.
May 31: John Danks pitched a complete game for the White Sox, going nine innings for the first time since August 27, 2011. Danks allowed 10 hits (including 4 doubles and a triple) and a walk… and threw a shutout! He is the first player in history to have allowed 10 hits and five extra base hits while throwing a shutout.
A Joey Votto walk is hardly a rare event since the slugger is known for his patience. However, Votto also made news on May 31 by walking on just three balls. After Votto tossed the bat away and trotted to first, no one questioned the outcome, and the game continued without incident.