Lots of crazy stuff going on today. It was an especially bad day to be a National League closer.
First, the AL:
Blue Jays 17, Rays 11. Plenty of gems from this one:
-Toronto hit 8 home runs. One from YCPB favorite Jose Bautista, Adam Lind, Edwin Encarnacion, and Lyle Overbay, and two from Aaron Hill and JP Arencibia.
–on top of his two home runs, Arencibia also doubled and singled.
—it was his Major League debut. He is the first player since 1900 to have four hits and two homers in his first game (h/t MLB.com for that one).
—-Dan Johnson homered for the Rays. It was his first home run since September 2008.
—–James Shields gave up nine hits over four innings. Six of them were home runs, and the the other three were doubles.
——The 17 runs allowed were the most by a Tampa team since the Devil Rays gave up 21 to the Yankees on 7/22/07. Tampa’s starter that day? You guessed it, James Shields.
Speaking of first career home runs, Trevor Plouffe, who came into today with a career .115/.111/.154 line, good for an OPS+ of -29, hit his.
Jorge Posada stole a base. He isn’t exactly fleet of foot.
Scott Kazmir, who gave up 30 earned runs in his last four starts (including a whopping 13 in his last outing) gave up just one unearned run in five innings.
Cole Hamels went 7 innings, didn’t walk anyone, struck out 11, and lost.
And now, the NL closer festivus of failure:
Francisco Cordero entered the game with a three run lead and promptly walked three of the first four batters he faced. Then he hit Starlin Castro. Then he was yanked in favor of Nick Masset, who struck out two and walked another. Reds pitchers walked four, hit a batter…and struck out the side. The Cubs scored two runs without ever putting the ball in play, but still came up just short.
Aaron Heilman (come on, you didn’t really think you could read about NL bullpen meltdowns that didn’t mention Arizona, did you?) entered the game with a 5-3 lead and gave up a leadoff home run to Jerry Hairston, Jr. (!) After two outs, Adrian Gonzalez tied the game. Heilman got the win after Chris Young took Luke Gregerson deep for the walkoff.
–Also in this game, Arizona scored a run when Clayton Richard threw a wild pitch with a runner on third. The wild pitch came in the middle of an intentional walk.
Leo Nunez took the ball leading 3-2 and was singled to death, leading to two Cardinal runs. Ryan Franklin then came in with a one run lead and in all of two pitches, Dan Uggla tied the game. Franklin stayed in for the tenth and gave up a walkoff double to Hanley.
Finally, we have the Rockies-Pirates game. Leading 5-2 in the ninth, Joel Hanrahan took the ball to try to close it out. Two singles, a home run, and just seven pitches later, the game was tied. In the tenth, the Rockies added two more runs on a home run from the Ghost of Todd Helton (just his third of the year), and Huston Street came on to close it out. Five batters later, Pedro Alvarez hit a three run walkoff home run.
The final tally: blown saves from Heilman, Nunez, Franklin, Hanrahan, and Street, and non-blown save poor performances from Gregerson and Cordero. The Ghost of Trevor Hoffman, in a save opportunity for the first time since May, did not blow it.