Couldn’t get around on the High Heat yesterday, so let’s play a little catch-up.

WEDNESDAY:

Rockies 17, Giants 8: Colorado set a new Coors Field mark for runs in a game without hitting a home run.

  • Pinch-hitter Eric Young led off the 5th with a bunt single, then stole second. He later capped the 7-run inning with an RBI triple.
  • In searchable MLB history, that’s just the 2nd known instance of the 3B/SB combo in a PH-only appearance. It’s the 26th instance of 2 hits as a PH-only.
  • CO’s 11 extra-base hits is the 3rd-highest total ever without a HR. The record is 13, all doubles, in this 1931 game; there was one game with 12 XBH and now three with 11.
  • For the first time ever, Tim Lincecum (2.1 IP, 8 H, 6 ER, no decision) failed to last 3 innings.
  • Just once in five prior seasons was Lincecum winless after two starts. That year worked out just fine for him.

 A’s 5, Royals 4 (11): A night to forget for Jonathan Broxton. Asked to protect a 1-run lead in the last of the 12th, he first loaded the bases with a pair of 1-out walks. After a groundout tied the game, Broxton hit the next two batters, each with the first pitch, to force in the winning run.

To “close,” or not to close? Sometimes you’re damned if you do (Nathan allows 3 in the 9th), damned if you don’t (Verlander lets another W get away).

Tough racket: Fernando Rodney has faced just 8 batters, but has 3 saves and a win. There have been two 1-batter saves so far this year, both by Rodney. (Fernando’s perfect performance to date rebukes our recent criticism. But if I had to do the same again, I would, my friend….)

Yankees 6, Orioles 4 (10): After getting swept in Tampa, the Bombers retreated to the ground that treats them best: Camden Yards. Since 1998, the Yanks have played at a .656 clip in Baltimore (80-42), but just .644 (728-403) in their so-called home. Their overall mark against the O’s is .674 in that span (163-79).

  • Comfortable, cocky, or cuckoo? Joe Girardi dialed up another of his unconventional intentional walks in the bottom of the 9th, pushing the winning run to 3rd to face cleanup man Adam Jones. I wouldn’t make that move myself, but I’ll refrain from joining the critics’ chorus this time. Two numbers in his defense: (1) In prior bases-loaded chances against a RHB, Rafael Soriano had retired the man 23 of 27 times (.148 OBP). (2) Soriano’s last wild pitch was almost 4 years ago; he’s never thrown one that let in or even contributed to a run, and his WP rate per inning is 7th-lowest among active pitchers with at least 300 IP.
  • Anyway, it worked: Jones struck out (now 0-7 against Soriano), and the Yanks won it with a 2-out rally in the 10th, the classic “bloop-and-a-blast.” Nick Swisher is now 4-11 with 2 HRs and a double against Kevin Gregg.

Phillies 7, Marlins 1: The Phils had their first inning of more than 2 runs, jabbing Josh Johnson for 5 runs on 6 hits in the 3rd, then knocking him out in the 4th with 3 more bingles.

  • The 11 hits Johnson allowed set a new career high. He’s yielded 10+ hits in both starts this year, after allowing that many just once in 113 prior starts.
  • In 3 seasons with the Phils, Roy Halladay has allowed a total of 3 ER in 44 IP in his first two starts of the year, producing a 5-0 record for himself and 6-0 for the team.

White Sox 10, Indians 6: A.J. Pierzynski, the hitter most likely to put the ball in play over the past two seasons, followed an IBB to Paul Konerko with an outbreak of left-on-left violence, a 3-run blast off Rafael Perez.

  • Platoon this: Pierzynski’s career HR rate is a smidge higher against LHPs than RHPs, while Perez’s HR rate and OPS allowed are just a tad lower vs. LHBs.
  • Earlier in that inning, Dan Wheeler gave up a HR. Wheeler has allowed more relief HRs than anyone since 2008, and his rate of 1.44 HR/9 IP is the 4th-highest of any active pitcher with 200+ IP in that span.
  • “Why are we here, now?” The last three games of Cleveland’s opening homestand drew an average of 9,866 customers. In last year’s season-starting homestand, the five games after Opening Day averaged 9,544. Apparently, Clevelanders don’t want to go to outdoor ballgames in early April, for some reason.

Blue Jays 3, Red Sox 1: Toronto bunched their five baserunners into two rallies against Jon Lester, who became the first this year to lose a CG.

  • The Jays are 4-2 despite Jose Bautista‘s 4-for-23 start.
  • It’s the first career loss for Lester when allowing 3 hits or less; he had been 22-0 with 7 no-decisions in such games.
  • Boston’s left fielders are 4 for 23 with no RBI and 2 GIDP.
  • After blowing his first two tries, new Jays closer Sergio Santos got his first save, retiring Kevin Youkilis and David Ortiz with the tying runs on base.

Brewers 2, Cubs 1: With Ryan Braun getting the day off, a 2-run HR by batterymate George Kottaras (his 2nd in 8 PAs this year) was all the offense Yovani Gallardo needed to collect his first win.

  • Carlos Mármol got his first two strikeouts after getting none in his first three games.
  • Thirteen of the game’s last 15 outs came on whiffs.
  • Francisco Rodriguez managed to use 29 pitches in a hitless, scoreless inning, with 3 Ks and 2 walks (including a 9-pitch pass to Alfonso Soriano).

THURSDAY:

Twins 10, Angels 9: Minnesota collected 20 hits for the first time since 2010. They were the second team to get 20+ hits this month; last year there were none before May 10.

  • For the second day in a row, reliever Jeff Gray came in, retired the only man he faced, and wound up a winner. The last man to do that was Scott Dohmann in April 2008; two weeks later he was sent to the minors, never to return.
  • Josh Willingham, Minnesota’s cost-efficient replacement for Michael Cuddyer, homered for the third straight day. He has 4 of the Twins’ 6 HRs to date.
  • After sitting out two games, LAA’s Mark Trumbo got his first HR and RBI of the year. He still has more errors (3) than RBI (2).
  • What does Chris Parmelee have in common with Albert Pujols? They’re the only active hitters with 100+ PA and an OPS of at least 1.000.

 Cubs 8, Brewers 0: Zack Greinke allowed 8 runs (exceeding his 2011 high) and 9 hits (matching). Matt Garza’s pitch count and his his own error with two out in the 9th cost him a chance to complete the shutout. (From the last replay in that video, it looks like Garza accidentally aimed his throw at the runner instead of first base.)

Tigers 7, Rays 2: Second-year pro Drew Smyly threw 90 pitches in just 4 innings in his MLB debut, but he escaped a bases-full, no-out jam in the 1st with a couple of strikeouts and held the Rays to just 1 run.

  • Alex Avila had a triple and a steal. In the expansion era, catcher-games with a 3B and SB have come about once a year; the last was by J.P. Arencibia in 2011.
  • Brennan Boesch celebrated his 27th birthday with a pair of 2-out, 2-run singles. The 11 birthday boys so far this year have a combined slash line of .378/.405/.811, with 12 RBI in 11 games. Nine of the ten who started on their birthday had at least 1 hit, and 9 of 11 overall had at least 1 Run or RBI. The two birthday pitchers so far have not allowed a run; Jeremy Hellickson blanked the Yanks for 8.2 IP. (If you’re looking for a hot fantasy tip … look elsewhere. The only regulars with birthdays this weekend are Hunter Pence, (Friday) and Kyle Farnsworth (Saturday). Pence 0-7 in two prior birthday games and has poor career marks against the Mets. Farnsworth got a win on his last birthday, but has often been rocked on his day.)

Nationals 3, Reds 2: On the day that injured closer Drew Storen underwent elbow surgery, Brad Lidge blew a save for the first time since August 2010. But the Nats still won their 3rd straight and grabbed sole possession of the NL East leadership, thanks to a wild pitch by Alfredo Simón with two out in the 10th.

  • Lidge’s blowup took the win away from Gio González, who left for a PH after tossing 7 scoreless frames on 2 hits and no walks. González did not have a walk-free game all last year.

Giants 4, Rockies 2: Madison Bumgarner had just the 2nd quality start for the Giants so far, which (not coincidentally) equals their win total.

  • Jason Giambi (age 41) had a pinch-single in Colorado’s 9th-inning rally, becoming the oldest player to get a hit this year. Three older players (Jamie Moyer, Omar Vizquel and Jim Thome)  are a combined 0 for 10 so far.

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