7:00 AM ET
Tim KurkjianESPN Senior Writer
- Senior writer ESPN Magazine/ESPN.com
- Analyst/reporter ESPN television
- Has covered baseball since 1981
August was in august company when it comes to The Quirkjians. The month gave us, as always, plenty of home runs, including three in a game and those by pinch hitters, plenty of strikeouts, including 10 in a row and five in a game, and plenty of walks, several with the bases loaded. The month gave us Aaron Nola and the Nola brothers, it gave us young and old single-game achievements on the same team and it gave us an historic old versus old at-bat. We had dueling catchers with the last name starting with Z, but there was no time for ZZZZs.
With statistical support from the Elias Sports Bureau, here are The Quirkjians for August.
The Cubs' Rafael Ortega hit three home runs in a 6-5 loss to the Nationals. The day before, the White Sox's Seby Zavala hit three home runs (the first three of his career, the first player ever to hit his first three career homers in one game) in a 12-11 loss to the Indians. It marked the first time since 1900 that, on consecutive days, a player hit three homers in a game that his team lost.
Brewers shortstop Willy Adames hit a homer, and his team lost. That made his teams 18-1 (it's since become 20-2) when he hits a home run. The last player whose team was unbeaten in a full season of at least 16 homers was the Reds' Brandon Phillips in 2012 (17-0).
Royals catcher Sal Perez hit his 27th home run of the season. He had 10 walks at the time, giving him a chance to become the first player ever with 35 homers and fewer than 20 walks in a season (he'd ultimately walk for the 20th time on Aug. 28). Andres Galarraga (33 and 19 in 1994) and Rougned Odor (31 and 19 in 2016) are the only players ever to hit 30 homers and walk fewer than 20 times in a season.
Five players struck out four times: Manny Machado, Jonathan Villar, Jose Altuve, LaMonte Wade Jr. and Akil Baddoo. That ran the season total to 143 times a hitter had struck out four or more times in a game. It happened 12 times in 1955. In no season before 1956 did it happen more than 17 times.
Cardinals closer Alex Reyes faced five batters, walked four and hit one. The last pitcher to face five batters and walk or hit them all was Mark Hutton on Aug. 20, 1996. Reyes walked three batters with the bases loaded, giving Cardinals pitchers 26 walks with the bases loaded at the time, most since the Mariners had 28 in 1999. For comparison, the Yankees' Gerrit Cole has thrown the most innings (1,416) among active pitchers without walking anyone with the bases loaded.
White Sox pitcher Lance Lynn got hit squarely in the numbers on his back by a one-hop ground ball hit by opposing pitcher Kyle Hendricks. The ball ricocheted directly to shortstop Tim Anderson, who threw Hendricks out at first. Score that play 33-6-3.
The Rays' Nelson Cruz and Wander Franco homered in the same game, the seventh time in major league history that a 40-year-old and a 20-year-old homered in the same game for the same team. The others: Jim Thome and Machado (2012), Ken Griffey Sr. and Ken Griffey Jr. (1990), Chris Speier and Willie Mays (twice in 1971) and Orlando Cepeda and Hank Sauer (twice in 1958).
Phillies reliever Mauricio Llovera faced three batters, gave up a home run to each and was removed. The last reliever to face three batters, allow a homer to each, then be replaced was the Phillies' B.J. Rosenberg on April 14, 2014.
The White Sox finished a three-game sweep of the Cubs. The Sox became the first team in major league history to hit at least eight homers and strike out at least 45 batters in a series of three games or fewer.
The Giants won their 72nd game of the season, but only their second with a walk-off. The Rockies had, at the time, 51 victories and 10 walk-offs. The 1982 Brewers won 95 games and had one walk-off.
The Brewers' Corbin Burnes became the third pitcher ever to strike out 10 consecutive batters in a game, joining Tom Seaver in 1970 and Aaron Nola this year. Prior to 2021, four pitchers had struck out nine straight in a game, Seaver was the only one with 10. At this point in the season, four pitchers had nine-plus and two had 10-plus.
Burnes also struck out three times in a game in which he struck out 15. The last pitcher to do that was Cole in 2018. He struck out 16 and struck out five times as a hitter.
The Rays used only three pitchers in a 20-8 loss to the Red Sox. The last team to give up 20-plus runs in a game, and only use three pitchers, were the Senators in a 20-2 loss to the White Sox in 1956. The Rays scored seven runs in the ninth inning to cut the lead to 20-8. They became the first team in history to score seven runs in the ninth inning and lose a game by 10-plus runs.
The Dodgers' Cody Bellinger saw 38 pitches in five plate appearances, which included three strikeouts and two homers. The 38 pitches included 19 foul balls. He homered in a 13-pitch at-bat that included nine foul balls.
The Brewers' Luis Urias and Jace Peterson had five-hit games against the Cubs from consecutive slots in the batting order, the first teammates to do that since Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder on Aug. 2, 2010, also for the Brewers and also against the Cubs.
Patrick Wisdom struck out four times in a game, the fourth time he's done that this year. The record for most 4K strikeout games in a season is seven by Dick Allen in 1968.
The Diamondbacks' Tyler Gilbert threw a no-hitter in his first major league start, the fourth ever to do that, the first since Bobo Holloman in 1953. Greg Maddux, Roger Clemens and Pete Alexander combined for 2,047 starts, and never threw a no-hitter.
The Dodgers had lost 11 straight extra-inning games, then won two on consecutive days.
The night after the Indians' Ernie Clement hit his first two major league home runs in one game, the Astros' Jake Meyers hit his first two major league home runs in one game, and one was a slam. The last player to do that was ... Zavala of the White Sox on Aug. 1. His was a three-homer game with a grand slam.
The Pirates' Kevin Newman became the first player in the expansion era to hit a double in four consecutive innings.
Four games were decided by 10 or more runs. That runs the total to 22 such games since the trade deadline when the gap between the contenders and noncontenders got even larger.
White Sox second baseman Cesar Hernandez made three errors and grounded into two double plays in a loss to the Yankees. The last player to do that was Cardinals third baseman Todd Zeile on July 21, 1991.
The Orioles lost 9-2. Their minus-77 run differential over their previous 12 games is the largest run differential over any 12-game span by any team since 1900.
The Dodgers beat the Pirates 4-3. It was the 50th game this season that the Dodgers never trailed, most in baseball. The Diamondbacks had the fewest with 17. In 2019, the Braves had 65 such games. The major league record is 85 by the 1906 Cubs.
The Dodgers' Mitch White pitched 7⅓ scoreless innings in relief to finish, and win, a nine-inning game. The Astros' Kent Emanuel did so in April with 8⅔ scoreless, but before this year, the last time a reliever went more than seven innings, finished and won a nine-inning game was the Yankees' Greg Cadaret in 1990.
The Orioles lost their 15th game in a row. All were by multiple runs, breaking a tie with the 1911 Boston Rustlers for the longest streak since 1900 for losses by multiple runs.
The starting catchers in the White Sox-Rays game were Zavala and Mike Zunino. It marked the second time since 1900 that starting catchers in a game each had a last name starting with a Z. On June 4, 1965, the Senators' catcher was Don Zimmer in a game against the Twins, whose catcher was Jerry Zimmerman.
Phillies pitcher Aaron Nola faced his older brother, Padres catcher Austin Nola, for the first time on the major league level. It marked the first time that brothers -- one a pitcher, the other a catcher -- faced each other in a major league game since Norm and Tom Sherry in 1963. Nola struck out Nola in the second, got him to pop out in the fifth and walked him in the seventh.
The Dodgers' Albert Pujols (41), the oldest active player in the game, hit a home run off the Mets' Rich Hill (41), the second-oldest active player. The last time a 40 year old hit a home run off a 40 year old was July 26, 2007, when 41-year-old Craig Biggio went deep off 44-year-old David Wells.
The Giants' Donovan Solano hit a two-run, pinch-hit homer in the eighth inning, marking the first time since 1987 that the Giants have gotten go-ahead, pinch-hit homers on consecutive days. It was the 20th pinch-hit home run this season for the Giants, adding to their major league record. The previous record was 17 by the 2016 Cardinals.
The Braves won their 13th straight road game, setting a franchise record. The Cubs lost their 13th straight home game, setting a franchise record.
The Red Sox completed a 1-2-5-7 double play: Pitcher Nate Eovaldi fielded a bunt, threw home to catcher Kevin Plawecki, who threw to third baseman Rafael Devers, who tagged out the runner (Nick Solak) for the first out. Then Devers ran across the diamond toward first base where the batter/runner (Yonny Hernandez) was inexplicably wandering between first and second base. Devers ran him back to second, where left fielder Kyle Schwarber was stationed. Schwarber tagged Hernandez out for the first 1-2-5-7 double play in at least the last 60 years.
Mike Yastrzemski hit his 20th home run this year as a member of the Giants, making them the last National League team to have a 20-home run hitter even though they lead the major leagues in home runs. The Tigers are the only team without one player with 20 homers.
Dodgers pitchers issued eight intentional walks in a 5-3 victory over the Padres in 16 innings. That's the most intentional walks in one game since the stat became official in 1955. The 2019 Astros and 2020 Twins (60-game season) had no intentional walks for the entire season.
Brewers pitchers struck out 16 and walked none in victory over the Reds. It was the Brewers' fourth game this year with at least 16 strikeouts and no walks, twice as many as any team in any season in baseball history. From 2000 to 2009, there were five 16-strikeout, no-walk games by all teams combined.
Another no-hit performance for Dodgers pitcher Max Scherzer -- just not the type you'd want. Scherzer went 0-for-3 against the Padres, bringing him to 0-for-45 this season. The only pitchers in major league history to have a season with more at-bats with no hits are Karl Drews (0-46 in 1949), Ron Herbal (0-47 in 1964), Bill Wright (0-61 in 1950) and Bob Buhl (0-62 in 1962).
White Sox pitcher Reynaldo Lopez pitched five scoreless innings without allowing a hit in relief in a 17-13 win over the Cubs. He became the third reliever ever to throw five scoreless, hitless innings in which his team allowed 13 runs, joining Esteban Yan on April 13, 1998, and Roger Bowman on May 27, 1953.
The Royals' Perez hit his 37th home run, tying Carlton Fisk in 1985 for the most home runs in a season by a primary catcher in American League history. Perez got there with 20 walks this season. The fewest walks ever in a 40-homer season is 22 by Dante Bichette in 1995.
The Cubs' Hendricks saw his ERA rise to 4.47, yet he was tied at the time for the league lead in victories with 14. Here are the four pitchers that led their league in victories, yet had an ERA over 4.25: Brad Penny (2006: 16, 4.33), Rick Helling (1998: 20, 4.41), Jumbo Elliott (1931: 19, 4.27) and Ray Kremer (1930: 20, 5.02).