By Andrew Kahn
This past week saw the reigning Cy Young winner regaining his form, baseball’s most feared slugger hitting one out of the stadium, and the first of its kind triple play.
Kluber Ks 18
When the American League Cy Young was announced last season, many casual fans said, Who? Corey Kluber was not a household name, but he should be now. On Wednesday, he pitched what could easily hold up as the best game of the season, striking out 18, walking none, and allowing just one single. Kluber came out after the eighth—Cody Allen got the save to preserve a 2-0 win—making his strikeout total even more impressive. Only Randy Johnson has struck out that many in eight innings or fewer. The Cardinals have the best record in baseball and rank in the top five in the National League in runs, batting average, and on-base percentage, but were helpless against Kluber (Matt Holliday coming out of the game after getting hit by a pitch in the first inning didn’t help). The only hit he allowed was a single with two outs in the seventh. He’d been struggling this season after signing a five-year, $38.5 million extension just before the start of the season (0-5, 5.04 ERA before his gem), but he got off to a rocky start last year as well (4.14 ERA in his first six starts).
It’s outta here
The Marlins lost to the Dodgers 11-1 on Tuesday, but it felt like their one run should have counted as more. It came on a first inning home run by Giancarlo Stanton that was hit out of Dodger Stadium:
According to the Dodgers, Stanton was only the fourth player to do it, joining Willie Stargell (who did it twice), Mike Piazza, and, most recently, Mark McGwire (1999). Dodgers left fielder Scott Van Slyke didn’t budge on contact, simply turning his head to admire the 475-foot blast, Stanton’s eighth homer of the season.
It wasn’t particularly stylish, but the Pirates turned a triple play—the first of its kind—against the Cardinals on Saturday. With runners on second and third, Yadier Molina hit a line drive to second baseman Neil Walker, who caught it and threw to third baseman Jung Ho Kang for the second out. Jason Heyward had been running towards third and apparently thought the throw to third ended the inning. Walker did, too, for a moment. But he realized with plenty of time to throw back to second and complete the 4-5-4 triple play, the first in major league history according to the Society for American Baseball Research. It was important, too, considering Pittsburgh won 7-5.
Behind the back
Good or bad, a behind-the-back baseball flip is exciting. Miami’s Dee Gordon showed how it’s done on Tuesday, charging a slow roller and tossing it behind his back to first base to get the out:
Two nights earlier, Kansas City’s Omar Infante was far less successful with his attempt. A similar play yielded a very different result, as Infante’s flip was nowhere near the intended target and allowed the runner to advance to second base. He scored on a single to tie the game. Infante redeemed himself in the tenth by hitting the game-winning sac fly, but his error will become a part of blooper reels.
Happy Mother’s Day
Celebrating her first Mother’s Day, one fan in Philadelphia was nervous as a foul ball came right at her baby, who was strapped to her husband’s chest. Have no fear: Dad caught the ball with his bare hand, protecting the baby and snagging a priceless souvenir. He was interviewed during the game and got the ball signed by Phillies legend Mike Schmidt.
Pink was everywhere on diamonds on Sunday—pink bats, gloves, cleats, and more—for breast cancer awareness. Happy belated Mother’s Day to all the moms out there.
Andrew Kahn is a regular contributor to CBS Local who also writes for Newsday and The Wall Street Journal. He writes about baseball and other sports at http://andrewjkahn.com. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter at @AndrewKahn