Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon

news

MLB News

Cards storm back twice to best Mets in 13

MLB.com @JoeTrezz

ST. LOUIS -- Dexter Fowler spent much of the 13 innings the Cardinals and Mets played Thursday quietly. But then he struck in the final frame, lining a walk-off single off Paul Sewald to score Jose Martinez and give St. Louis a 4-3 victory and a series win over New York.

Fowler's hit made a winner of John Gant, who threw three scoreless innings of long relief in his season debut, and brought a climactic end to an afternoon when Carlos Martinez and Noah Syndergaard spent a chunk of the game trading zeros. Tommy Pham's RBI single tied the game in the eighth against Robert Gsellman. Jose Martinez tied it again in the 10th, when his booming double off Jeurys Familia scored Pham. Martinez's two-out hit saved the Cardinals a half inning after Luke Gregerson walked in the go-ahead run with the bases loaded.

View Full Game Coverage

ST. LOUIS -- Dexter Fowler spent much of the 13 innings the Cardinals and Mets played Thursday quietly. But then he struck in the final frame, lining a walk-off single off Paul Sewald to score Jose Martinez and give St. Louis a 4-3 victory and a series win over New York.

Fowler's hit made a winner of John Gant, who threw three scoreless innings of long relief in his season debut, and brought a climactic end to an afternoon when Carlos Martinez and Noah Syndergaard spent a chunk of the game trading zeros. Tommy Pham's RBI single tied the game in the eighth against Robert Gsellman. Jose Martinez tied it again in the 10th, when his booming double off Jeurys Familia scored Pham. Martinez's two-out hit saved the Cardinals a half inning after Luke Gregerson walked in the go-ahead run with the bases loaded.

View Full Game Coverage

Video: NYM@STL: Martinez hits game-tying RBI double in 10th

Pham started St. Louis' first rally with a double in the seventh, and he finished with four hits, one day after suffering a bizarre head injury in the batting cage.

Widely considered as two of the top young aces in the sport, few starters present more uncomfortable at-bats than Martinez and Syndergaard. There were 37,762 fans at Busch Stadium expecting to see a high-octane duel, and that's what they got. The Mets' defense spoiled what was a dominant start through six. Syndergaard finished with two runs (one earned) allowed over 7 1/3 innings, while Martinez scattered four hits and one run over six frames, routinely wiggling out of jams brought upon by three hit batsmen.

Joe Trezza is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @joetrezz.

St. Louis Cardinals

Yanks sweep Twins with Sanchez's walk-off HR

Special to MLB.com

NEW YORK -- The Yankees always knew they had a chance. Get a couple guys on, get a pitch they could handle, and eight innings where the offense couldn't get going would be largely forgotten.

Just like that.

View Full Game Coverage

NEW YORK -- The Yankees always knew they had a chance. Get a couple guys on, get a pitch they could handle, and eight innings where the offense couldn't get going would be largely forgotten.

Just like that.

View Full Game Coverage

It didn't matter that the Yankees had no hits in the first five innings Thursday afternoon at Yankee Stadium, or that they still had just three hits entering the ninth. All that mattered was that Gary Sanchez came to the plate against Twins closer Fernando Rodney and rocketed a three-run walk-off home run into the left-field seats, giving the Yanks a 4-3 win and extending a six-game winning streak.

"If we can get traffic on the bases, we're always one swing away from our guys," Yankees manager Aaron Boone said.

Video: MIN@NYY: Boone on Sanchez's walk-off, late offense

The Yankees got that traffic when Didi Gregorius reached on an error to begin the ninth and Giancarlo Stanton followed with an infield hit. That brought up Sanchez, who was hitting .193 this season but already had five home runs.

"He had a real confident look up there," Boone said.

Sanchez was hitless on the day, but he had learned something from his first three plate appearances.

"I noticed through the game they were pitching me inside," Sanchez said through an interpreter. "I know Fernando Rodney is a good pitcher and he throws hard, but I was looking for a pitch I could hit."

Video: MIN@NYY: Montgomery K's LaMarre to strand two runners

Rodney indeed throws hard, and he tried to pitch Sanchez inside. The 96.5-mph fastball was the fastest pitch any Yankee has hit for a home run this season, according to Statcast™. It was the second time in his career Sanchez has homered on a pitch at least that fast, the other being a 99-mph Joe Kelly fastball last August.

The home run off Kelly tied a game the Yankees would go on to lose. This one finished off a four-game Yankees sweep of the Twins and earned Sanchez the Gatorade shower that goes to the game's star.

"I knew something was coming," Sanchez said of the shower. "I can just tell you it was cold."

The Yankees are hot, even if it didn't look that way in the early innings on Thursday. They were stifled by Twins starter Kyle Gibson, who allowed just one hit and struck out a career-high 10 in six innings. The Yankees didn't score until the seventh, when Stanton doubled off reliever Addison Reed and scored on an Aaron Hicks' sacrifice fly.

Video: MIN@NYY: Hicks plates Stanton on a sacrifice fly

New York didn't score again until Sanchez's home run on the final swing of the day.

It was the 59th career home run for the 25-year-old Sanchez, but it was his first walk-off.

"This definitely is up there, definitely a very exciting moment," Sanchez said. "The other special moment was when we made it to the playoffs, but this is up there."

It was an exciting ending, but a familiar result for a Twins-Yankees series in the Bronx. The Yanks have swept three of their past four home series against the Twins, whom they also defeated at home in last season's American League Wild Card Game.

Video: MIN@NYY: German ends relief outing on a high note

The victim this time was Rodney, a 16-year veteran who is in his first season with the Twins.

"I was trying to get a ground-ball double play," Rodney said. "Threw the pitch a little bit high in the strike zone, that's why he could use his hands. He's got quick hands."

MOMENT THAT MATTERED
Betances fans the side: Looking at the big picture, the Yankees had to be happy with how Dellin Betances looked in striking out the side in the ninth inning. Betances needed only 13 pitches to cut through the top third of the Twins' lineup, and 11 of his 13 pitches were strikes. It was the first time since April 5 that Betances had struck out the side.

Video: MIN@NYY: Betances K's Sano to strike out the side

"That was ho-hum Dellin at his best there," Boone said.

SOUND SMART
Bert Blyleven had three 10-strikeout games against the Yankees, the last one coming in 1987. Only two Twins pitchers since then have fanned 10 Yanks in a game: Eric Milton in 2000 and Gibson on Thursday.

HE SAID IT
"Our approach doesn't change whether they're in first place or last. Our approach is to win series." -- Sanchez, on the Yankees, whose next three opponents (Angels, Astros and Red Sox) entered play Thursday with a combined 51-23 record

UP NEXT
Boone is a Southern California guy, and he spent most of the 1980s at Anaheim Stadium when his father Bob was playing for the Angels. Now he returns as the Yankees' skipper for a series that could captivate Japan if Shohei Ohtani bats against Masahiro Tanaka Saturday night. First, New York sends ace right-hander Luis Severino (4-1, 2.32 ERA) to the mound for Friday's 10:07 p.m. ET series opener, against left-hander Andrew Heaney (0-1, 9.64 ERA).

Danny Knobler is a contributor to MLB.com based in New York.

New York Yankees, Dellin Betances, Aaron Hicks, Gary Sanchez

Acuna hits first homer, leads Braves to win

Power, speed on display as top prospect has 3-hit game
MLB.com @mlbbowman

CINCINNATI -- Ronald Acuna Jr. wowed with his power and impressed with the speed he displayed as he provided a glimpse of his five-tool talents while leading the Braves to a 7-4 win over the Reds on Thursday afternoon at Great American Ball Park.

Acuna notched his first career home run in impressive fashion to begin the second inning and then capped a three-hit performance with the game-winning bloop double he produced as the Braves regained the lead in the eighth and held on to split this four-game series.

View Full Game Coverage

CINCINNATI -- Ronald Acuna Jr. wowed with his power and impressed with the speed he displayed as he provided a glimpse of his five-tool talents while leading the Braves to a 7-4 win over the Reds on Thursday afternoon at Great American Ball Park.

Acuna notched his first career home run in impressive fashion to begin the second inning and then capped a three-hit performance with the game-winning bloop double he produced as the Braves regained the lead in the eighth and held on to split this four-game series.

View Full Game Coverage

"It's always good to get that first homer," Braves manager Brian Snitker said. "He clocked that ball. But he just shows you what he brings. That set of legs is going to be really valuable for us, the way he can run around and how athletic he is. He definitely makes our club better."

Video: ATL@CIN: Acuna Jr. homers, tallies three hits in win

After Freddie Freeman recorded the last of his three doubles to begin the decisive eighth, Acuna got jammed on Wandy Peralta's first-pitch fastball, but still managed to direct it into no-man's land in shallow right field for a two-out RBI double. The 20-year-old phenom raced home when Dansby Swanson followed with a single.

Albies continues torrid hitting with 8th homer | • Pumped Braves fan snags Acuna's first homer

"The real good ones make an immediate impact," Snitker said. "This kid has skills. He's an asset for us, whether he's batting, in the field or on the bases. It's nice to have him."

Acuna notched his first career hit during Wednesday's Major League debut and then experienced the thrill of his first homer when he opened Thursday's second inning by drilling Homer Bailey's 3-1 slider a projected 421 feet into the second deck located beyond the left-field seats. The majestic solo shot came in what was just the sixth career plate appearance for the young outfielder, who ranks as baseball's second-best prospect per MLB Pipeline.

Video: ATL@CIN: Albies makes nice basket-catch near the tarp

"It was truly a unique moment," Acuna said through an interpreter. "I really enjoyed being able to get my first home run in the big leagues. It was a once in a lifetime experience."

With the addition of Acuna, the Braves have enhanced the opportunities to produce the youthul, energetic brand of baseball that has been displayed as Swanson and 21-year-old Ozzie Albies have spent the season's first two months proving to be consistent offensive assets.

Ball hits directly off the knob of Suzuki's bat

Albies extended his power surge with the two-run homer he hit off Bailey in the fifth inning. The Braves second baseman is tied for the Major League lead with eight home runs. His ninth-inning RBI double increased his league-leading extra-base total to 19, a mark that had never previously been reached by the end of April by any Braves player.

Video: ATL@CIN: Albies skies a two-run home to right field

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Bouncing back: Before issuing consecutive four-pitch walks to Phil Gosselin and Billy Hamilton with one out in the fifth, Sean Newcomb had retired 13 of 17 and encountered just one three-ball count. The free passes proved costly when he grooved a fastball that Joey Votto barrelled for a game-tying three-run homer in the fifth. But the Braves' southpaw regrouped and finished with a perfect sixth.

"I think it boils down to that Votto at-bat," Newcomb said. "Obviously, I missed with one pitch. Other than that, I felt I was in control. I just chalk it up to making a bad pitch to a great hitter."

Video: ATL@CIN: Newcomb strikes out Hamilton swinging

Early advantage: Freeman started the first three-double game of his career with the first-inning two-bagger he sent down the right-field line. Nick Markakis followed with two-out single for the Braves, who have produced a MLB-best .318 batting average with runners in scoring position.

Video: ATL@CIN: Markakis lines an RBI single to right field

SOUND SMART
Acuna (20 years, 129 days) and Albies (21 years, 109 days) both homered Thursday. According to MLB.com's Andrew Simon, the last time a pair of teammates both Albies' age or younger homered in the same game was on Sept. 23, 1978. Coincidentally, that instance also featured the Braves (Bob Horner, Glenn Hubbard) accomplishing the feat against the Reds.

YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
Acuna got from home plate to first base at a pace of 30.4 feet per second when he recorded an infield single in the sixth. Twins center fielder Byron Buxton leads the Majors with an average sprint speed of 30.5 feet per second. 

Video: ATL@CIN: Acuna sprints to first in 4.12 seconds

HE SAID IT
"Atlanta is really playing good. They're doing a great job. I think they're really a force -- four or five guys in the middle of that lineup -- when they come up, we just didn't have any answers for them." -- Reds manager Jim Riggleman

UP NEXT
Julio Teheran will make his third start of the young season against the Phillies when the Braves open a three-game series at Citizens Bank Park on Friday at 7:05 p.m. ET. Teheran's nine strikeouts against the Phillies on April 16 stands as his highest total since 2016. He has a 1.42 ERA over his past three starts. Aaron Nola will start for the Phillies.

Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001.

Atlanta Braves, Ozzie Albies, Ronald Acuna Jr., Sean Newcomb

D-backs tie NL mark with 8th straight series win

Dyson, Ahmed, Peralta all went deep to back Koch's six-inning start
MLB.com @SteveGilbertMLB

PHILADELPHIA -- Before departing Citizens Bank Park late Wednesday night following a loss to the Phillies, D-backs left fielder David Peralta had a message for a reporter asking about how his team would respond the next day.

"We'll be ready," he said.

View Full Game Coverage

PHILADELPHIA -- Before departing Citizens Bank Park late Wednesday night following a loss to the Phillies, D-backs left fielder David Peralta had a message for a reporter asking about how his team would respond the next day.

"We'll be ready," he said.

View Full Game Coverage

The D-backs were in fact ready from the get-go Thursday afternoon as they rode a three-run first inning and a strong pitching performance from Matt Koch to an 8-2 win over the Phillies.

Video: ARI@PHI: Koch tosses six innings of two-run ball

With the win, the D-backs still have not lost consecutive games this year and they captured their eighth series to open the season. That is the most series wins to open a season by a National League team since the 1977 Dodgers won seven. The all-time NL record is held by the 1907 Cubs, who won their first 11 series, and the Mariners opened the 2001 season with nine.

"It's really fun to go into a town or be at home and win that first game and show up the second day with a chance to win the series," reliever Archie Bradley said. "We understand what it takes. We understand the situations. There's a moment in every game where we just understand getting to second or stealing that bag or whatever it is, that's kind of the moment that lets us take over the game."

The series wins have helped the D-backs get off to the best start in the NL at 17-7. Impressive, sure, but even more so when you consider that they are missing key pieces.

Outfielder Steven Souza Jr. has missed the whole year due to a right pectoral strain, third baseman Jake Lamb has played in just four games after spraining his left AC joint and Taijuan Walker has been lost for the season to Tommy John surgery.

Video: ARI@PHI: Peralta clubs a two-run shot to left field

"I was talking to Lamb last night through text messages and I was like, 'Dude, I just keep picturing a full lineup,'" Bradley said. "Nothing against the guys who are starting and playing now, but I think that's what everyone keeps saying. You look at the way we're winning, our starters, our bullpen, our defense.

"And, yeah, collectively we may not be hitting as a whole but we're hitting when we need to. With the way we've thrown the ball and the way we've played defense, it's exciting. If we're doing this with the guys now and we're missing two power hitters, what is the rest of the season going to play out to be?"

Video: ARI@PHI: Koch singles up the middle for first MLB hit

Jarrod Dyson and Chris Owings have filled in for Souza in right while Deven Marrero and Daniel Descalso have taken over for Lamb at third.

Koch has pitched in place of Walker twice and has a 1.93 ERA.

"We're missing Souza and Lamb, and those guys both hit 30 bombs [last year], so that's 60 bombs sitting on the DL right now," Dyson said. "Guys are just stepping up. You've got Deven stepping up, you've got Descalso stepping up, I've got to step up, C.O. doing his job. And that's all you can ask for."

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Early blow: The D-backs struck first and they struck hard. After Peralta led off the game with a single off Ben Lively, Dyson smacked a homer over the wall in right, his second of the series, as the D-backs grabbed a quick 2-0 lead. It became 3-0 later in the frame and provided Koch with some early breathing room.

"We got off the mat from a tough loss last night," manager Torey Lovullo said. "We were prepared. We scored three runs. You jump ahead of a team like the Phillies and don't really let them catch their breath, and I thought we did a good job of that with Lively. I thought that was the difference in the game today."

Video: ARI@PHI: Ahmed belts a three-run homer to left field

SOUND SMART
Four runs seems to be the magic total for the D-backs these days. They are 15-1 dating back to Sept. 26, 2017, when they score four or more runs in a game.

YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
Koch flashed some leather in the first inning when he snagged Odubel Herrera's smash up the middle. Koch reached behind his back with his glove and the ball found its way in there, and he was able to easily throw out Herrera at first.

Video: ARI@PHI: Koch reaches behind his back for nifty stop

HE SAID IT
"The guys come every day prepared, ready to win. So if you beat us, you beat us prepared. That's how we come in every day, and I love it so far because anybody can hurt you on any given day, and that's the fun part of this team." -- Dyson

UP NEXT
The D-backs open a three-game series with the Nationals on Friday at 4:05 p.m. MT at Nationals Park. Zack Godley will get the start for the D-backs opposite righty Stephen Strasburg. Godley won his last start against the Padres when he allowed a pair of runs in 5 1/3 innings. He has pitched well at Nationals Park, going 2-0 and not allowing a run in three games (one start) over 10 1/3 innings.

Steve Gilbert has covered the D-backs for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB.

Arizona Diamondbacks

Dickerson hits walk-off HR after Nova dazzles

Outfielder's homer stands after review; first walk-off shot of career
MLB.com @adamdberry

PITTSBURGH -- When Clint Hurdle named Ivan Nova the Pirates' Opening Day starter this spring, he referred to the veteran right-hander as the "dean" of Pittsburgh's rotation. Nova was at his experienced, efficient best on Thursday afternoon, so Corey Dickerson knew what Nova needed from Pittsburgh's lineup.

"Score a run any way possible," Dickerson said.

View Full Game Coverage

PITTSBURGH -- When Clint Hurdle named Ivan Nova the Pirates' Opening Day starter this spring, he referred to the veteran right-hander as the "dean" of Pittsburgh's rotation. Nova was at his experienced, efficient best on Thursday afternoon, so Corey Dickerson knew what Nova needed from Pittsburgh's lineup.

"Score a run any way possible," Dickerson said.

View Full Game Coverage

Dickerson delivered the only run the Pirates needed, putting an end to a tense pitchers' duel at PNC Park by launching his first career walk-off home run to right field and giving the Bucs a 1-0 victory -- and a series win -- over the Tigers.

"It's a shot in the arm. We've been scuffling," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "We win a series, and you get the dean on your staff to step up."

The Pirates entered Thursday having lost seven of their last nine games. They were physically worn out after splitting a doubleheader on Wednesday. But Nova took charge, firing eight scoreless innings and striking out five without a walk as he traded zeroes with Tigers right-hander Michael Fulmer.

After a couple shaky starts to begin the season, Nova has rounded into form. He needed only 93 pitches to complete his best start of the season, and he has not issued a walk over his last four outings, all quality starts. During that stretch, he has lowered his ERA from 6.10 to 3.32.

"Nova was Nova today. When you see guys swinging and you see he's pitching in the eighth with 70-something pitches, that's Nova," catcher Francisco Cervelli said. "Make people swing. Keep the ball down. Be able to control corners and read hitters. That's him. He's getting better and better. He's back."

But Fulmer was just as stingy on the mound. After holding the Pirates to one run over eight innings on April 1, he struck out nine over six scoreless innings on Thursday. The Tigers had a golden opportunity to break the scoreless tie in the ninth, too, loading the bases with nobody out against Pirates closer Felipe Vazquez.

But Vazquez buckled down. He induced a grounder to third and an infield pop-up for the first two outs, and shortstop Sean Rodriguez made a sliding stop up the middle for the inning-ending forceout at second base. How did he manage to get out of it?

"I have no idea. I was just making pitches, like every one of us should do in that situation. Try to put the pitches in the right place," Vazquez said. "I don't even know how I got out. I was just trying to make the best pitches that I could and I got out of the inning, like probably magic or something."

Video: DET@PIT: Vazquez navigates a bases-loaded jam in 9th

That kept the game tied heading into the bottom of the ninth. Up came Dickerson with one out against reliever Alex Wilson. Dickerson blasted Wilson's second pitch into the right-field seats and, after a replay review determined there was no fan interference, went about celebrating the first walk-off homer of his Major League career.

"I'm glad it stood," Dickerson said. "It's a pretty cool experience."

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Escape act: Nova defused one jam in the first inning, stranding Leonys Martin after a leadoff triple by inducing three consecutive groundouts. He walked out of another tight spot in the third, leaving Jose Iglesias on third base. But his most important escape act came in the sixth inning, when his fielding error and a Dixon Machado single put runners on the corners with one out and Miguel Cabrera due up. Cabrera hit a fastball back up the middle at 98.7 mph, according to Statcast™. Nova appeared to deflect the ball toward second baseman Adam Frazier, who flipped the ball to Rodriguez to start an inning-ending double play.

Video: DET@PIT: Nova retires Miggy, the side on double play

"No panic. You have [to think in your] mind that that run's not going to score," Nova said. "Just make one pitch and get the ground ball. … I was lucky enough to get that out."

Called out, thrown out: With two outs in the eighth inning, Frazier doubled and the Tigers intentionally walked Gregory Polanco. Starling Marte hit a grounder to third baseman Niko Goodrum, who attempted to tag Frazier on his way to third. Frazier avoided the tag, and Cabrera couldn't wrangle Goodrum's throw to first, seemingly loading the bases. But second-base umpire Mike Winters, the crew chief, overruled third-base umpire Tim Timmons to say that Frazier ran out of the baseline and was therefore out. Hurdle argued the call with Winters and was ejected for the first time this season.

Video: DET@PIT: Hurdle ejected for arguing call on the bases

 "I didn't like the call," Hurdle said. "What confuses me is maybe you've got to look to see if the guy's out or safe at first before you make the call at third, I don't know. But the angle -- he said he's all over it. I just don't think he's all over it. He's the ump. He made the call. The call stuck.

"The other hard part for us is we've seen Josh Harrison get out of some things. If you watch the replays of that and he's not out of the baseline, you watch the replay of this and he's out of the baseline, I think it goes back to interpretation. That's the hard part."

SOUND SMART
Since the start of the 2014 season, there have been seven games in which a team won, 1-0, on a walk-off home run. The Pirates now have three of those wins. Neil Walker walked off against the Cubs on March 31, 2014. Harrison did so on Aug. 23, 2017, ending Rich Hill's no-hit bid in the 10th inning. Dickerson rounded out the group on Thursday.

YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
On Wednesday night, Rodriguez robbed the Tigers of a run with a running grab at the warning track in left field. He was back at it on Thursday afternoon, this time from the shortstop position. With one out in the fifth inning, Rodriguez ranged back and over to the left-field line, diving to snag Victor Reyes' pop-up for the second out of the inning.

"I didn't think he was going to have it, to be honest," Nova said, "but the guy hustled and he got it."

According to Statcast™, Rodriguez ran 107 feet to make the play, his second-longest run for an out this season.

Video: DET@PIT: Rodriguez lays out for terrific diving grab

HE SAID IT
"Nova pitched unbelievable today. He got out of a lot of jams. He's a smart pitcher, calm pitcher. Great composure. We definitely wanted to feed off that. We needed to get a run over for him. He pitched a heck of a ballgame."-- Dickerson

MITEL REPLAY OF THE DAY
Dickerson's towering walk-off home run was almost for naught when the Tigers used a challenge to see if the fan who caught the ball committed interference by reaching over the right-field wall. However, after a quick review, the replay official could not definitively determine that the ball would have remained in play had no contact with the spectator occurred, so the call stood, and the Pirates' celebration continued.

Video: DET@PIT: Home run call stands on Dickerson's walk-off

UP NEXT
Left-hander Steven Brault will take the mound at PNC Park as the Pirates begin their first series of the season against the National League Central rival Cardinals on Friday. Brault will face Cardinals newcomer Miles Mikolas, with first pitch scheduled for 7:05 p.m. ET.

Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook and read his blog.

Pittsburgh Pirates, Corey Dickerson, Ivan Nova

One thing has changed for Darvish -- it's not good

Cubs righty has a 6.86 ERA through first four outings
MLB.com @mike_petriello

Each week on the Statcast™ Podcast, hosts Mike Petriello and Matt Meyers dig into the world of Statcast™ and advanced metrics, exploring the most important topics in baseball through the lens of the groundbreaking Statcast™ technology. Download, subscribe and help others find the show by leaving a rating and review on iTunes or your favorite platform.

What's wrong with Yu Darvish? That's the question that Cubs fan have been asking this month, as their big-ticket starting pitching acquisition -- and, notably, Jake Arrieta replacement -- has gotten off to a slow start, with a 6.86 ERA through his first four outings. It's been especially rough the past two times out, as Darvish has allowed nine earned runs while failing to get through five innings in losses to the Braves and Rockies.

Each week on the Statcast™ Podcast, hosts Mike Petriello and Matt Meyers dig into the world of Statcast™ and advanced metrics, exploring the most important topics in baseball through the lens of the groundbreaking Statcast™ technology. Download, subscribe and help others find the show by leaving a rating and review on iTunes or your favorite platform.

What's wrong with Yu Darvish? That's the question that Cubs fan have been asking this month, as their big-ticket starting pitching acquisition -- and, notably, Jake Arrieta replacement -- has gotten off to a slow start, with a 6.86 ERA through his first four outings. It's been especially rough the past two times out, as Darvish has allowed nine earned runs while failing to get through five innings in losses to the Braves and Rockies.

Darvish gets a chance to redeem himself on Friday against the first-place Milwaukee Brewers, who have won eight straight entering Thursday. Can he? His tough April was a topic of this week's Statcast™ podcast, as we dug into what the data says about the unexpectedly poor outings from a longtime ace.

The last we saw of Darvish in 2017, he was having a pair of awful starts for the Dodgers in the World Series, though that did follow a pair of good postseason starts and generally good work for Los Angeles down the stretch after being acquired from Texas. Two starts, even on the biggest stage, shouldn't take more importance than several years of ace-like quality. Still, based on what happened in the Fall Classic and the size of the $126 million contract Darvish signed with Chicago, he could have used a fast start.

Now, Darvish did throw effectively against Milwaukee on April 7, striking out nine over six one-run innings. But digging into the numbers, there's some pretty clear warning signs.

His strikeout rate is down.
Darvish struck out 31.7 percent of hitters in 2016, the second-highest rate of any pitcher with at least 100 innings pitched. Last year, that dropped to 27.3 percent, still above average but now 18th best. This year, he's down to just 22.8 percent. Darvish hasn't thrown enough innings to qualify for the leaderboards, but if he had, that would be 44th overall. Strikeouts in baseball are going up, but for Darvish, they're going down.

His walk rate is up.
Darvish consistently walked just under eight percent of hitters in both 2016 and '17. That's fine; nothing to see here. But this year, that's all the way up to 12 percent. So now we've got fewer strikeouts and more walks, and you can see where some of the problems are coming from. Why is this happening? Because…

His chase rate is down.
If there's a single culprit, it's this. There's almost nothing more beneficial to a pitcher than getting a hitter to swing at pitches outside the zone, because they're more likely to be misses or lead to poor contact. If you're wondering if this matters, note names on the Top 10 in 2016-17 at getting swings outside the zone were Masahiro Tanaka, Noah Syndergaard, Zack Greinke, Corey Kluber, Clayton Kershaw and Max Scherzer. Yes, it matters.

Darvish got a consistent 32 percent chase rate -- that is, nearly a third of pitches he threw outside the zone got swings -- in 2014, '16 and '17. This year? That's down to 23 percent. His once legendary slider, which once induced swings nearly half the time outside the zone, now has a chase rate of just 25 percent. It's been hit hard, with a line against of .269/.321/.654.

So what's the good news? There is good news.

First of all, Darvish's velocity isn't down, staying steady on his fastball at 94.2 mph, after 94.3 last year and 93.9 the year before. He's not really being hit harder, as his average exit velocity has dropped from last year's 85.7 mph to 84.8 mph, and at a lower launch angle, dropping from 13 degrees last year to 11 degrees this year.

There's definitely cause for concern about Darvish, especially after the way his slider got lit up by Houston last October (and November). But all hope is hardly lost, obviously, because the velocity is still there. The problem is if the command isn't, and if Darvish can't get hitters to go after the slider. Hittable in-zone fastballs tend to be hittable.

Mike Petriello is an analyst for MLB.com and the host of the Statcast podcast.

Chicago Cubs, Yu Darvish

Kang granted work visa, set to rejoin Pirates

Infielder will begin personal Spring Training in Pirate City
MLB.com @adamdberry

PITTSBURGH -- Jung Ho Kang is coming back.

The Pirates announced on Thursday that Kang was granted a work visa by the United States government and re-entered the U.S. After a year and a half away from the Majors following a DUI conviction in his native South Korea, Kang will soon rejoin the Pirates organization.

View Full Game Coverage

PITTSBURGH -- Jung Ho Kang is coming back.

The Pirates announced on Thursday that Kang was granted a work visa by the United States government and re-entered the U.S. After a year and a half away from the Majors following a DUI conviction in his native South Korea, Kang will soon rejoin the Pirates organization.

View Full Game Coverage

"After a lengthy process, we are pleased that Jung Ho has been allowed to re-enter the United States," Pirates president Frank Coonelly said in a statement. "We are encouraged by the steps that Jung Ho has taken to date and are hopeful that having the game he loves taken away from him for more than a year has driven home the reality that he must make better life decisions as we move forward together.

"As we have communicated to him throughout this process, we will work to provide Jung Ho with the resources and support necessary for him to meet the high expectations that we have for him as a member of our organization and our community."

It will likely be a while before Kang is ready to help the Pirates, however. He must first fulfill his obligations under the treatment program to which he agreed in January 2017. Kang will then report to the club's Pirate City complex in Bradenton, Fla., to begin a sort of personal Spring Training. Kang will remain on the Major League Baseball restricted list, according to the Pirates, while he works his way back into condition to participate in Major League games.

Kang has not played in the Majors since the end of the 2016 season. He was arrested and charged with driving under the influence of alcohol in Seoul, South Korea, on Dec. 2, 2016. He was previously denied a work visa, rendering him unable to enter the country and play for the Pirates. Pittsburgh placed him on the restricted list, where he was unpaid, on March 10, 2017.

Kang remains under contract for $3 million this season with a $5.5 million club option (or $250,000 buyout) for 2019. The 31-year-old infielder, the first position player to jump straight from the Korean Baseball Organization to the Majors, hit .273/.355/.483 with 36 home runs and 120 RBIs in 229 games for the Pirates in 2015-16.

Kang's excellent rookie season came to an early end on Sept. 17, 2015, when he underwent left knee surgery to repair the significant injuries caused by a hard Chris Coghlan slide into second base. Kang returned in early May of 2016 and played out the rest of the season, though the Pirates limited his defensive work to third base. Kang played third and shortstop in 2015.

It is unclear how Kang would fit on Pittsburgh's roster, but catcher Francisco Cervelli said the clubhouse would welcome him back. The Pirates addressed their need at third base, which was caused by Kang's continued absence, by acquiring rookie Colin Moran in January. They also have veteran infielder David Freese under contract for this season with a club option for next year.

"We never quit on him. He was a big thing in 2015. The fans love him," Cervelli said. "He's a human. We cannot judge and do anything. He's a human. He makes mistakes like everybody else. When he comes back here, we're going to make sure that he feels like he's at home."

While he was away, Kang remained in contact with several members of the Pirates organization, who made clear the expectations they have for him on and off the field. The club sent him a pitching machine and arranged to have him play winter ball in the Dominican Republic last offseason, though he struggled offensively after more than a year away from competitive baseball.

"We always talk," Cervelli said. "I saw him in the Dominican. He called me like two weeks ago, and he told me, 'I'm coming. I'm coming.' I didn't believe it, but this guy is hungry. He's part of this. He's part of this. For us, it's a good guy and also it's a good player. … Life gives you another chance, so you better take it and do it the right way. After this guy gets ready, he's going to be good for us."

Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook and read his blog.

Pittsburgh Pirates, Jung Ho Kang

MLB Home Run Derby VR launches today

MLB's first VR game offers unique immersive baseball experience
MLB.com

Major League Baseball is offering fans a unique immersive baseball experience with Thursday's launch of MLB Home Run Derby VR.

The game, which is available now for $19.99 on Sony Playstation®VR and HTC Vive via Steam, allows fans to step into the batter's box at Marlins Park in Miami, Nationals Park in Washington, D.C., and Progressive Field in Cleveland -- the All-Star host parks from 2017-19 recreated as high-fidelity 3D environments -- for an authentic virtual reality home run derby experience.

Major League Baseball is offering fans a unique immersive baseball experience with Thursday's launch of MLB Home Run Derby VR.

The game, which is available now for $19.99 on Sony Playstation®VR and HTC Vive via Steam, allows fans to step into the batter's box at Marlins Park in Miami, Nationals Park in Washington, D.C., and Progressive Field in Cleveland -- the All-Star host parks from 2017-19 recreated as high-fidelity 3D environments -- for an authentic virtual reality home run derby experience.

MLB Home Run Derby VR was developed and distributed by MLB's Games and Virtual Reality team, making it the first VR game created by an American professional sports league. It features unique motion controls as players compete to hit home runs and tally as many points as possible in the timed competition and worldwide leaderboards that showcase fans' standings.

Video: Petco Park's virtual reality home run derby

The game has been available for fans to play at a number of events, including MLB Battlegrounds in London, last year's All-Star FanFest in Miami, various offseason events and the Puerto Rico series between the Twins and Indians. The next showcase is scheduled for the Padres-Dodgers series in Monterrey, Mexico, from May 4-6, and at least 13 MLB clubs -- including the D-backs, Braves, White Sox, Astros, Marlins, Twins, A's, Cardinals, Padres, Giants, Rays and Nationals -- will host an in-venue setup for fans in 2018. Each will feature a customized recreation of the respective ballpark.

Fans can also download and play the award-winning mobile version of MLB Home Run Derby on their phones and tablets. It's available free on the App Store and Google Play and has been updated since its release in 2012 with several new features, including all 30 current MLB ballparks, high-resolution renderings of more than 50 Derby participants from the past eight competitions and a redeveloped multiplayer mode.

Chad Thornburg is a reporter for MLB.com based in Los Angeles.

Braves fan loses it after catching Acuna's 1st HR

Ronald Acuña Jr. made his MLB debut on Wednesday night against the Reds in Cincinnati, and he did not disappoint. He went 1-for-5 and scored the game-tying run in the Braves' 4-5 win.

But, he didn't homer. Braves fans had to wait one whole day for that. Acuña's first MLB dinger came in the second inning of Thursday's game against the Reds

These are the worst no-hitters in baseball history

MLB.com @JPosnanski

Let's just say it: We might be in for another crazy no-hitter year. We went through a no-hitter downturn in 2016 and '17 -- in large part because so many home runs were being hit. You can see it clearly when you look at the entire decade:

2010: Five no-hitters
2011: Three no-hitters
2012: Six no-hitters
2013: Three no-hitters
2014: Four no-hitters
2015: Seven no-hitters
2016: One no-hitter
2017: One no-hitter

Let's just say it: We might be in for another crazy no-hitter year. We went through a no-hitter downturn in 2016 and '17 -- in large part because so many home runs were being hit. You can see it clearly when you look at the entire decade:

2010: Five no-hitters
2011: Three no-hitters
2012: Six no-hitters
2013: Three no-hitters
2014: Four no-hitters
2015: Seven no-hitters
2016: One no-hitter
2017: One no-hitter

Those seven no-hitters in 2015 is a record -- well, there were actually seven no-hitters in '12, but one of them was delivered by six Seattle pitchers, so we'll not count that one. In all, there have been 31 individual pitcher no-hitters in this decade, and the decade isn't over yet. This is more than double what baseball had in the 2000s (14).

Those numbers, as mentioned, have been down lately. But less than a month into the 2018 season, there are signs that the no-hitter alerts on our phones might be buzzing. There has already been one no-hitter (Oakland's Sean Manaea against the Red Sox) and a whole bunch of near no-hitters.

Video: Must C Classic: Sean Manaea no-hits the Red Sox

And the trends are pointing toward a no-hitter year. It's only April, sure, and the weather has been terrible, which affects bats in a big way. But even if you compare April to April, batting average is down six points to .241 and strikeouts are way up to an all-time high of 8.87 per nine innings. More strikeouts equals lower average equals more potential no-hitters.

Home runs countered this trend somewhat the last couple of years. Last year there were five games where a team managed only one hit ... but it was a home run. That was a record. Well, home runs are down somewhat in 2018. Look out below.

With all this no-hitter talk, we thought it would be fun for this Throwback Thursday to look at ... the worst no-hitters ever thrown. Here's the caveat: There is no such thing as a bad no-hitter, but some are better than others. We are so used to lists of the best-pitched no-hitters in baseball history. Well, what about the roughest ones?

Here we go:

1. Matt Young, Red Sox vs. Indians, April 12, 1992
Unofficial: 8 IP, 2 ER, 7 BB, 6 K's, 6 SB
Final score: Indians 2, Red Sox 1

Young only pitched eight innings, so it was not an "official" no-hitter. Someone asked him after the game if he had a different word for it.

"Purgatory," Young said.

This was a nutty game, and it was that way right from the start. Young walked Kenny Lofton to lead off the first. Lofton promptly stole second. During a strikeout of Glenallen Hill, Lofton stole third. Lofton scored on a ground ball (the ball ended up being booted for an error but he would have scored anyway).

So 1-0 Cleveland, and Young has given up an earned run but no hits.

In the third, Young walked Mark Lewis and Lofton. Lewis moved over on a ground ball and then scored on another ground ball. Young had given up two earned runs but still had not given up a hit.

And so it went. Young walked Lofton three times, and Lofton stole four bases. Young threw 120 pitches over eight grueling innings. He did not pitch the ninth because Cleveland had already won the game. But Young never did give up a hit.

"It's irrelevant," Young said about not getting the opportunity to pitch the ninth, "because we lost the game. A no-hitter's supposed to be where you strike out the last guy, and the catcher comes out and jumps in your arms."

When someone asked him how he felt about it not being considered a no-hitter -- this was just a few months after a committee came up with the rule that a no-hitter had to be at least nine innings -- Young shrugged.

"I don't feel I pitched that well," he said. "But they didn't get any hits. And the game's over."

2. Edwin Jackson, Diamondbacks vs. Rays, June 25, 2010
9 IP, 0 R, 8 BB, 6 K's, 1 HBP, 149 pitches
Final score: D-backs 1, Rays 0

The headline in the Arizona Republic the next day was "NO-HIT WONDER," which, well, it was that. It's a wonder that Jackson made it out of the first three innings, to be honest. He walked seven those first three innings, including the bases loaded with nobody out in the third.

How did Jackson get out of that? He then coaxed a short fly ball that didn't score a run.

And then something remarkable happened. Melvin Upton Jr. and Hank Blalock both grounded out. That in itself is not remarkable but what is remarkable is that they each did it on the first pitch of the at-bat. We'll get back to that in a moment.

Jackson threw 70 pitches those first three innings. Seventy! What do you think the odds were that a guy who had seven walks and had thrown 70 pitches in three innings would end up throwing a no-hitter? They have to be astronomical. It's almost impossible to conceive.

But Jackson became a different pitcher after the third. He retired 13 of the next 14 batters (with only a hit batter in the process) and he worked around an error in the eighth and a walk in the ninth to finish off one of the craziest no-hitters in baseball history.

But let's get back to Upton and Blalock for a second. Seriously, the guy has walked seven in three innings. His pitch count is out of control. The bases are loaded. How could you possibly bail him out by swinging at the first pitch of each at-bat?

Video: ARI@TB: Jackson hurls the second D-backs no-hitter

3. A.J. Burnett, Marlins vs. Padres, May 12, 2001
9 IP, 0 R, 9 BB, 7 K's, 1 HBP, 3 SB
Final score: Marlins 3, Padres 0

This is the most walks in a nine-inning no-hitter. Jim Maloney, who did not make this list, walked 10 in his no-hitter in 1965, but he pitched 10 innings -- it's hard to put a 10-inning no-hitter on the worst list.

Burnett admitted after the game that his command was not sharp at all. He got into trouble almost every inning with his wildness and inability to keep runners on. In the second, Burnett put runners on first and second with nobody out, but he got a double play to get out of the mess. In the third, he had two walks, a wild pitch and allowed a stolen base so there were runners on second and third with one out. Burnett got a key strikeout of Ryan Klesko and then got Dave Magadan to fly out.

Fourth inning, Burnett walked one and hit a batter but got out of the inning with a couple of strikeouts. Eighth inning, he again walked two in the inning and allowed a stolen base before escaping. It was a 129-pitch tightrope act (only 65 were strikes), but he got stronger in the ninth and got a 1-2-3 inning to finish the job.

"I felt good all night," Burnett told reporters. "And the closer it got, the more confident I was."

Video: FLA@SD: A.J. Burnett throws a no-hitter in San Diego

4. Dock Ellis, Pirates vs. Padres, June 12, 1970
9 IP, 0 R, 8 BB, 6 K's, 1 HBP
Final score: Pirates 2, Padres 0

This is the famous (or infamous) LSD game. Ellis had dropped acid earlier in the day and still went out and no-hit San Diego.

As Ellis' version of the story goes, he woke up in Los Angeles at noon. He was to start a 6 p.m. game in San Diego, the first in a twilight doubleheader, but he didn't know that. Ellis thought that he was pitching the next day. So it seemed a good time to take acid. A little while later, the girl he was with told him that, no, actually, he was pitching that evening.

She somehow got Ellis to the airport, he somehow flew to San Diego and somehow got to the ballpark. It is unclear -- even to Ellis in the ensuing years -- how any of that happened.

Ellis would say that he was high and gone the entire game; he couldn't feel the baseball or even see the catcher. He remembered almost nothing from the game except for a few trippy things like: "I started having a crazy idea in the fourth inning that Richard Nixon was the home-plate umpire."

Ellis couldn't throw strikes, but the Padres couldn't get a hit. The no-hitter was saved by second baseman Bill Mazeroski, who made a spectacular diving catch on a Ramon Webster line drive. The rest of it was a blur with lots of walks, and Ellis finished it off with a strikeout of Ed Spiezio to clinch the LSD no-no.

5. David Palmer, Expos vs. Cardinals, April 21, 1984
Unofficial: 5 IP, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K's (perfect game)
Final score: Expos 4, Cardinals 0

There have been five five-inning complete-game no-hitters thrown, and Palmer joined Rube Vickers and Dean Chance as the only pitchers to throw five-inning perfect games. I chose this one because of the sort of sad controversy that followed it.

This was only Palmer's second game back after a horror-show run of injuries. The game was in St. Louis and it was the second in a doubleheader. The rain started falling hard in the sixth, and the umpires stopped the game with two Expos on (including now Cleveland manager Terry Francona) and nobody out. They delayed for 77 minutes before finally calling it.

The way Palmer understood it, he had just entered the Major League history books.

"It's a five-inning perfect game, but it still goes down as a perfect game," Palmer told reporters afterward. "I'll take it."

It was a cool story -- Palmer had been snakebit his entire big league career. He had pitched very well when he was very young and he looked like a potential star. Then Palmer started having elbow problems that did not stop. He missed all of the 1981 and '83 seasons. He had worked so hard to get back and now, finally, something good was happening.

"I'm hoping all the bad luck is behind me," Palmer said.

Well, OK. Palmer got to enjoy the perfect game for about a week. That's when baseball people started wondering, "How can you call that a perfect game?"

Then the Cardinals started talking about how Palmer was throwing a "mystery pitch" during the game -- "I don't know if he was throwing a spitball or what," manager Whitey Herzog told reporters.

Then on Sept. 30 of that year, Mike Witt threw an actual perfect game, the nine-inning variety, and at that point people mostly stopped thinking of Palmer's feat as an actual perfect game.

Just seven years later, a committee determined that a pitcher has to throw at least nine innings for it to be considered a no-hitter or perfect game. And with that Dave Palmer's perfect game was thrown into the asterisk field.

6. Ed Lafitte, Brooklyn Tip-Tops vs. Kansas City Packers, Sept. 19, 1914
9 IP, 2 R (0 ER), 7 BB, 1 K
Final score: Tip-Tops 6, Packers 2

I'm including this one largely because it's so quirky. Lafitte was pitching in the Federal League -- it was the first of five Federal League no-hitters. Lafitte walked seven. His Tip-Tops committed two errors.

In the words of the Brooklyn Eagle, "The achievement was somewhat tarnished by the fact that the visitors scored two runs against him but there was no question about the absence of a base hit of any description."

There's something else that's fun about this -- it was the first game of a doubleheader. And there was apparently real consideration for Lafitte to pitch the second game, at least until he gave up a hit. This would have given him a chance to do something nobody had ever done or, surely, would ever do again: Pitch two no-hitters on the same day.

Brooklyn manager Bill Bradley decided against it.

7. Ken Holtzman, Cubs vs. Braves, Aug. 19, 1969
9 IP, 0 R, 3 BB, 0 K's
Final score: Cubs 3, Braves 0

Holtzman had come close to a no-hitter twice before ... and he said that he had much better stuff those other two times. Well, what he actually said was that on the day he no-hit the Braves he didn't have his curveball or his changeup or his control. That's quite a way to throw a no-hitter.

What's striking about the no-hitter is that Holtzman did not strike out a single batter in the game. It's the only time since 1923 that a pitcher has thrown a no-hitter without a strikeout.

"I had one pitch, the fastball, and I didn't think I was too fast," Holtzman explained after the game.

The no-hitter was saved when Holtzman did what no pitcher should ever do -- he threw a middle-middle fastball to Hank Aaron in the seventh inning. Aaron didn't miss (how many times in his career do you think Aaron missed a middle-middle fastball?) but the wind was howling in that day. Aaron's ball died in that wind.

"It should have been out of here -- and would have been -- except for the wind," Holtzman said.

Video: ATL@CHC: Holtzman gets Aaron to complete no-hitter

8. Johnny Vander Meer, Reds vs. Dodgers, June 15, 1938
9 IP, 0 R, 8 BB, 7 K's
Final score: Reds 6, Dodgers 0

Nobody cared how Vander Meer got this no-hitter, because it was his second in a row, a feat unmatched in baseball history. But he really had to fight to get this one. Perhaps it was the pressure. Vander Meer walked a hitter in the second and third, but he was generally dominant until the seventh, when he walked two batters and needed to get Leo Durocher to ground out to end the inning.

The ninth inning was a carnival. With one out, Vander Meer walked Babe Phelps, Cookie Lavagetto and Dolph Camilli to load the bases. That's when Reds manager Bill McKechnie came to the mound with the crowd shrieking, "DON'T TAKE HIM OUT." McKechnie had no intention of taking him out; instead he told Vander Meer, "Don't worry. Just relax. You'll get this."

And with that, Vander Meer found his control, got Ernie Koy to ground into a forceout at home, and he finished it off by getting Durocher again; this time he hit a lazy fly ball to center for the historic no-no.

Pete Rose loves when people ask him, "Do you think your hit record is the most unbreakable mark in baseball history?" He says, "No. It's Vander Meer's back-to-back no-hitters. Because to break it you would have to throw three in a row."

9. Chris Heston, Giants vs. Mets, June 9, 2015
9 IP, 0 R, 0 BB, 11 K's, 3 HBP
Final score: Giants 5, Mets 0

Heston was a rookie and he was brilliant that day against Noah Syndergaard and the Mets ... except for the hit-batter thing. He hit three batters, the only time a pitcher has done that in a no-hitter the in the last 100 years. Heston actually hit back-to-back Mets in the fourth inning, and it looked like the wheels might be coming off. But he promptly got Michael Cuddyer to ground into a double play, and that saved the day and a little piece of history.

"I'm not sure what just happened," Heston said after the game.

Video: SF@NYM: Heston tosses no-hitter, strikes out 11

10. Andy Hawkins, Yankees vs. White Sox, July 1, 1990
Unofficial: 8 IP, 4 R (0 ER), 5 BB, 3 K's, 1 SB
Final score: White Sox 4, Yankees 0

OK, a couple of points. One, we have included some in here that are not "official" no-hitters because the pitcher did not go nine innings. It's more fun to include them.

Two, Hawkins does not really belong on this list. He was more a victim of circumstance than anything else. Through seven innings, Hawkins was cruising. He retired the first 14 batters that he faced. Then, yes, Hawkins had some control problems -- two walks in the fifth and a walk in the seventh -- but he still looked good.

Eighth inning, Hawkins got the first two batters on infield popouts. Then Sammy Sosa, in his first full season in the big leagues, hit a ground ball to third. Mike Blowers booted it. And the agony began. Sosa stole second. Hawkins walked Ozzie Guillen, which was not an easy thing to do. Guillen walked just 239 times in more than 7,000 plate appearances; he walked once per 30 plate appearances, by far the lowest ratio for any player with that long of a big league career.

But Hawkins walked Guillen, then he walked Lance Johnson to load the bases (Johnson wasn't easy to walk either). Robin Ventura hit a fly ball to rookie left fielder Jim Leyritz. Well, Leyritz wasn't really a left fielder. He was a catcher and a third baseman who Yankees manager Stump Merrill felt comfortable playing everywhere, even during a no-hitter. Leyritz dropped the ball and three runs scored.

Video: NYY@CWS: Hawkins throws a no-hitter and loses

"The ball was hit right at me," Leyritz said, "and I made a wrong move."

Then, the finishing touch: Ivan Calderon hit a fly ball to right, where Jesse Barfield played. It was a windy and sunny day. Barfield didn't stand a chance.

"It was brutal out there," Barfield said. "I knew I was in trouble when the ball was hit."

Barfield lost the ball in the sun and dropped it. Because it hit the glove, it was ruled an error (one of the quirks of errors). That's four runs -- but the no-hitter was intact. Hawkins retired Dan Pasqua to make history; the most runs allowed in a no-hitter.

Joe Posnanski is a columnist for MLB.com.

Andrew Miller to the DL with strained hamstring

Indians confident southpaw will be ready to return when eligible
MLB.com @MLBastian

CLEVELAND -- Andrew Miller did not want to go on the disabled list and the Indians did not want to make that move with their relief ace, either. Putting the left-hander on the shelf still wound up being the consensus decision on Thursday after the sides discussed the situation in detail.

Prior to Thursday's game against the Mariners, Miller was moved to the 10-day DL with a left hamstring strain that is "more frustrating than concerning" in the words of the pitcher. Miller is hoping to be back on a mound soon and expressed optimism about his chances of being activated when eligible.

View Full Game Coverage

CLEVELAND -- Andrew Miller did not want to go on the disabled list and the Indians did not want to make that move with their relief ace, either. Putting the left-hander on the shelf still wound up being the consensus decision on Thursday after the sides discussed the situation in detail.

Prior to Thursday's game against the Mariners, Miller was moved to the 10-day DL with a left hamstring strain that is "more frustrating than concerning" in the words of the pitcher. Miller is hoping to be back on a mound soon and expressed optimism about his chances of being activated when eligible.

View Full Game Coverage

"With the DL being 10 days now, it just makes sense," Miller said. "You don't want to hang 24 guys out to dry for, call it, seven or eight days if you don't have to. It's the right thing to do, even if it's not the most desirable thing for me personally."

The issue flared in the seventh inning of the Indians' 4-1 win over the Cubs on Wednesday, when Miller fired a four-seamer to Anthony Rizzo and immediately grabbed at the back of his left leg. Rather than try to stay in the game, Miller motioned for the medical staff and exited after only two pitches. An MRI exam on Thursday morning showed a "low grade" strain, according to manager Terry Francona.

Miller said this is familiar territory for him. Back in 2014, the left-hander had a similar pain flare in the same area in a Sept. 1 outing when he pitched for the Orioles. Following four days off, Miller was back pitching in games for Baltimore. Based on that experience, Miller believes that he will be able to get back on a mound after a brief period of rest.

"I can't look into the future, but I don't think I need 10 days," Miller said. "I think if [the DL] was the old 15 days, I would like to think we probably aren't having this conversation. I'm probably in there getting treatment, trying to figure out how I can get back on the fifth, sixth or seventh day."

Francona echoed that evaluation.

"He probably would not have been a DL [move] if it was 15," said the manager. "That's for sure."

With Miller sidelined, Cleveland purchased the contract of left-hander Jeff Beliveau from Triple-A Columbus and designated lefty Jack Leathersich for assignment to vacate a spot on the 40-man roster. The 31-year-old Beliveau, who was in camp as a non-roster invitee with the Tribe this spring, has allowed two hits, one walk and no runs with 14 strikeouts in 8 2/3 innings with Columbus so far this season.

"He's a great kid," Francona said of Beliveau, who has had stints with the Cubs, Rays and Blue Jays over the past six seasons. "He's really been pitching well. And the hope is, kind of like Tyler Olson last year, you get an opportunity and you jump on and take advantage of it, and he helps us win."

Through 11 appearances this year, Miller had not allowed a run in 10 innings, in which he piled up 17 strikeouts against four walks. In parts of the past three seasons with Cleveland -- since being acquired in a blockbuster trade with the Yankees in July 2016 -- Miller has turned in a 1.33 ERA and 1.82 Fielding Independent Pitching (FIP), along with 158 strikeouts and 27 walks in 101 2/3 innings.

While Miller is out, Francona will mix and match with his other relievers in an effort to bridge the gap to closer Cody Allen. Olson will step into the main lefty relief role, with Beliveau offering an alternative. Right-handers Nick Goody, Dan Otero and Zach McAllister will also get high-leverage opportunities while Miller is temporarily out of the picture.

"They're going to be asked to do more right now," Miller said. "But I think they're ready for it. They've done a great job."

Jordan Bastian has covered the Indians for MLB.com since 2011, and previously covered the Blue Jays from 2006-10. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and Facebook.

Cleveland Indians, Andrew Miller

Hamstring injury won't derail Beltre's season

Veteran third baseman to provide value to Rangers upon return
MLB.com @williamfleitch

On Tuesday night, 39-year-old Adrian Beltre, a surefire Hall of Famer and one of the greatest third basemen of all time, had just about as much fun on a baseball diamond as one can have. I don't mean that he hit four homers, or smashed a walk-off hit, or defeated his opponents in such an overpowering fashion that their families will carry the shame with them for generations to come. I mean that Beltre had fun the way that kids have fun. The way we all should.

In a game against the A's, in the span of one inning, Beltre:

On Tuesday night, 39-year-old Adrian Beltre, a surefire Hall of Famer and one of the greatest third basemen of all time, had just about as much fun on a baseball diamond as one can have. I don't mean that he hit four homers, or smashed a walk-off hit, or defeated his opponents in such an overpowering fashion that their families will carry the shame with them for generations to come. I mean that Beltre had fun the way that kids have fun. The way we all should.

In a game against the A's, in the span of one inning, Beltre:

• Caught a line drive but then pretended to drop the ball -- cartoonishly juggling it like a silent film pratfaller -- to sneak out a double play. It did not work. The umpire laughed like a child.

• Ran out an infield single despite a terrific play by the Athletics' Jed Lowrie deep behind second base. Beltre then applauded Lowrie and shook his head jokingly, as if to say, "There is no outpacing the blinding speed of this 39-year-old man." Lowrie and the first-base umpire laughed like children.

• Tried to sneak from first base to third after the ball got away from the pitcher after a foul ball, as if no one would notice, as if he could get away with it just because he was Beltre. Everyone in the stadium laughed like children.

You can watch the whole shenanigans, which, again, took place over the course of a single inning, right here:

Video: Must C Comical: Beltre's one-of-a-kind tomfoolery

But what might be the ultimate takeaway from Tuesday's game wasn't Beltre's amusing tomfoolery. It was what happened six innings later, after he singled to right-center. Right after Beltre hit the ball, he pulled up and grabbed his left hamstring. After the game, the jovial version was gone.

Video: OAK@TEX: Beltre on hamstring strain suffered in loss

The news didn't turn out as bad as everybody feared: The Rangers placed Beltre on the 10-day disabled list Wednesday with what was diagnosed as a Grade 1 strain, something that might not keep him out longer than two weeks. But when you're 39 years old, two weeks recovery sometimes ends up stretching past that a bit. When you combine Beltre's injury to those of teammates Rougned Odor and Elvis Andrus, it feels like Texas' infield might be cursed, and the club's playoff hopes are dwindling.

The Rangers weren't widely expected to be a contender in the American League West this year, but they weren't likely to tear down their roster either, partly out of deference to veterans like Beltre. But Texas is eight games out of first place in the AL West and 6 1/2 games out of the second AL Wild Card spot. Baseball Prospectus puts the Rangers' playoff odds at 1.2 percent, which is somehow below that of the Tigers. It's going sideways on them, and losing their franchise icon right as they play 10 games against teams with winning records is lousy timing, to say the least. Things could get tougher in a hurry.

But Beltre is somehow still the Rangers' best position player. He's batting .310, because, of course he is, and he has been his usual splendid self at third base. As Fangraphs' Travis Sawchik noted last year, Beltre has somehow been getting better as he has gotten older. L