Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon

news

MLB News

Yanks sweep Twins with Sanchez's walk-off HR

Special to MLB.com

NEW YORK -- For three days, the Yankees pounded Twins pitching. On Thursday afternoon, they took nine innings to get going.

Either way, it was another victory, as Gary Sanchez's three-run walk-off home run off Fernando Rodney sent the Yankees home as winners in a 4-3 game at Yankee Stadium. The Yankees swept the Twins in their four-game series, and they have now won six in a row.

View Full Game Coverage

NEW YORK -- For three days, the Yankees pounded Twins pitching. On Thursday afternoon, they took nine innings to get going.

Either way, it was another victory, as Gary Sanchez's three-run walk-off home run off Fernando Rodney sent the Yankees home as winners in a 4-3 game at Yankee Stadium. The Yankees swept the Twins in their four-game series, and they have now won six in a row.

View Full Game Coverage

The homer was Sanchez's first career walk-off big fly, and the pitch he hit out was clocked at 96.5 mph -- the second hardest he's homered on in his career.

The Yankees didn't have a hit until Brett Gardner singled up the middle with two out in the sixth. New York got on the scoreboard an inning later, when Giancarlo Stanton led off with a double and eventually came home on Aaron Hicks' sacrifice fly.

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

Starter Jordan Montgomery went the first five innings for the Yankees, allowing just a two-run Eduardo Escobar home run. Robbie Grossman also homered for the Twins.

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

New York Yankees, Aaron Hicks, Jordan Montgomery, 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

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.

Pumped Braves fan snags Acuna's first homer

Acuna experienced a thrill when he opened the second inning with his first career homer. He drilled 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.

Ozzie Albies extended his power surge with the two-run homer he hit off Bailey in the fifth inning. After moving into a tie for the Major League lead with eight homers, Albies notched his league-leading 19th extra-base hit with an RBI double in the ninth inning.

Braves starting pitcher Sean Newcomb showed great control as he cruised through the first four innings, allowing just one hit and issuing just one walk. But the southpaw suddenly fell out of sync as he issued consecutive four-pitch walks to Phil Gosselin and Billy Hamilton before surrendering Joey Votto's game-tying, three-run homer in the fifth inning.

Newcomb had recorded a strike with 38 of 57 pitches before issuing the first of the two consecutive walks. The only previous three-ball count he had encountered occurred in the fourth inning when he issued a four-pitch walk to Adam Duvall

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 -- Regardless of how many players get hurt, the D-backs just keep rolling right along.

Thursday was another example as they got key contributions from right fielder Jarrod Dyson and right-hander Matt Koch in an 8-2 win over the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park.

View Full Game Coverage

PHILADELPHIA -- Regardless of how many players get hurt, the D-backs just keep rolling right along.

Thursday was another example as they got key contributions from right fielder Jarrod Dyson and right-hander Matt Koch in an 8-2 win over the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park.

View Full Game Coverage

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 equals the National League mark for most consecutive series won to start a season set by the 1977 Dodgers. Only the 2001 Mariners with nine have had a better start.

Dyson, filling in for Steven Souza Jr., who has missed the whole year due to a pectoral strain, got the D-backs offense started with a two-run homer in the first. It was Dyson's second homer in three days.

The D-backs also received a three-run homer from Nick Ahmed and a two-run shot from David Peralta as part of a five-run third inning.

That was more than enough offense for Koch, who picked up the win while allowing two runs over six innings. Koch was making his second start in place of Taijuan Walker, who was lost for the season due to Tommy John surgery.

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

MLB.com @adamdberry

PITTSBURGH -- Pirates left fielder Corey Dickerson put an end to a tense pitchers' duel on Thursday afternoon at PNC Park, launching his first career walk-off home run to right field and delivering the Bucs a 1-0 victory over the Tigers.

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 to set up Dickerson's walk-off homer.

View Full Game Coverage

PITTSBURGH -- Pirates left fielder Corey Dickerson put an end to a tense pitchers' duel on Thursday afternoon at PNC Park, launching his first career walk-off home run to right field and delivering the Bucs a 1-0 victory over the Tigers.

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 to set up Dickerson's walk-off homer.

View Full Game Coverage

Nova fired eight scoreless innings and struck out five without a walk, needing only 93 pitches in his best start of the season. After a couple of shaky starts, he has rounded into form. Nova has not issued a walk over his last four outings, all quality starts, as he's lowered his ERA from 6.10 to 3.32.

But Tigers starter Michael Fulmer was just as stingy on the mound. Fulmer, who held the Pirates to one run over eight innings on April 1, struck out nine over six scoreless innings on Thursday.

The Tigers had a golden opportunity to break the scoreless tie in the ninth, loading the bases with nobody out against Pirates closer Felipe Vazquez. But Vazquez induced a grounder and a 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.

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.

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

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.

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.

"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. Last year was one of the top 25 seasons by someone 38 or older in the past 115 years, and only 23 players in baseball history have produced more fWAR than Beltre after such an advanced age.

Video: TEX@HOU: Beltre makes nice scoop to nab Gurriel

Earlier this year, Beltre passed Rod Carew for most hits by a Latin American player, and if he really is back in two weeks, he'll likely pass Ichiro Suzuki for most hits by a player born outside of the United States. The injuries are starting to pile up for Beltre after a mostly healthy career, but when he's at full strength, he's still among the best there is.

Of course, this is the problem with old players: They get hurt. The Rangers have been lamenting all their injuries this year, but check out who two of the club's top players by fWAR have been so far this year: 44-year-old Bartolo Colon and Beltre. Several of Texas' top players by fWAR are 28 or older. The Rangers a struggling, aging team, and when you combine those two things -- not to mention a smart, reactive front office -- moves may be coming.

Which makes you wonder: What will come of Beltre this year? He is, after all, a free agent at the end of 2018, with the two-year, $36 million deal he signed before the '17 season expiring. Beltre has said he wants to finish his career with the Rangers, but that he would understand a trade if the team falls out of contention, which is looking increasingly likely to happen.

On one hand, it is likely going to be a crowded Trade Deadline market; you don't have to squint hard to potentially see, say, Manny Machado and Josh Harrison available in a few months. On the other, it's Beltre. For clubs looking to make a postseason push, an impending Hall of Famer who's still as good as he has ever been is sort of handy to add to the roster. (Beltre has 10-and-5 rights, which means he can veto any trade, but at this point it seems like he could be willing to go play for a contender for a few months.)

Video: SEA@TEX: Beltre passes Brett with historic double

And this is the strike zone for Beltre, right? To have the opportunity to finally win that World Series that has eluded him his whole career? Carlos Beltran was the feel-good story with Houston last year, but he was mostly a situational contributor on that team; Beltre is still near-peak-era Beltre and would be in any October starting lineup every night. Plus: He's Beltre. Half the fun of any postseason game would be people trying to touch his head.

But it requires Beltre's hamstring healing, and the veteran star getting back where he is supposed to be. It's rare you can say this of 39-year-olds, but Beltre is even playing for a contract this year: Even in a chilly free-agent market, someone will pay for a year or two of Beltre.

Beltre has as much to play for as he has at any point in his incredible career, and he'll do it with as much joy as anyone in the sport ever has. It's sad to see him sidelined. But it might not be the worst thing for Beltre, the Rangers and fans everywhere.

Take your time, Adrian. Get that hamstring healthy. This can still be the season of Beltre. Though I suppose, these days, they sort of all are.

Will Leitch is a columnist for MLB.com.

Texas Rangers, Adrian Beltre

Kelly loses appeal, to begin 6-game suspension

Red Sox right-hander hit Yankees' Austin with pitch, leading to altercation
MLB.com @basebollie

Right-hander Joe Kelly's appeal of his six-game suspension was denied by Major League Baseball on Thursday. The suspension was upheld and will begin Thursday night when the Red Sox take on the Blue Jays in Toronto.

Kelly received the suspension for his actions in Boston's April 11 game vs. the Yankees when he hit Tyler Austin in the back with a pitch in the top of the seventh inning. The pitch appeared to be retaliation for Austin sliding into second base with high spikes into the leg of Red Sox shortstop Brock Holt in the third inning.

View Full Game Coverage

Right-hander Joe Kelly's appeal of his six-game suspension was denied by Major League Baseball on Thursday. The suspension was upheld and will begin Thursday night when the Red Sox take on the Blue Jays in Toronto.

Kelly received the suspension for his actions in Boston's April 11 game vs. the Yankees when he hit Tyler Austin in the back with a pitch in the top of the seventh inning. The pitch appeared to be retaliation for Austin sliding into second base with high spikes into the leg of Red Sox shortstop Brock Holt in the third inning.

View Full Game Coverage

Kelly and Austin exchanged several punches before both benches and bullpens rushed to the field. Each player received undisclosed fines in addition to their suspensions for their involvement in the altercation.

Kelly has a 3.09 ERA and 11 strikeouts in 11 2/3 innings for the Red Sox this season.

Oliver Macklin is a reporter for MLB.com based in Washington, D.C. Follow him on Twitter at @basebollie.

Boston Red Sox, Joe Kelly

Dyson heating up, slugs one into 2nd deck

MLB.com @SteveGilbertMLB

PHILADELPHIA -- Jarrod Dyson's bat continued to heat up Thursday as his two-run homer in the first inning helped give the D-backs a 3-0 lead against the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park.

Dyson came into the series with the Phillies hitting .160, but homered on Tuesday off Vince Velasquez and reached base two other times via walks.

View Full Game Coverage

PHILADELPHIA -- Jarrod Dyson's bat continued to heat up Thursday as his two-run homer in the first inning helped give the D-backs a 3-0 lead against the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park.

Dyson came into the series with the Phillies hitting .160, but homered on Tuesday off Vince Velasquez and reached base two other times via walks.

View Full Game Coverage

Video: ARI@PHI: Dyson belts a solo home run to right

Then Wednesday night he beat out an infield hit and eventually came around to score the D-backs' first run.

Thursday, after David Peralta led off the game with a single, Dyson hit a 1-0 fastball from Ben Lively over the wall in right to give the D-backs a 2-0 lead.

Arizona scored a run later in the inning on an RBI double by Chris Owings.

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

Arizona Diamondbacks, Jarrod Dyson

Best and worst of NL East closers thus far

Middle-inning troubles throughout division not extending to ninth
MLB.com @matthewhleach

The messy middle has been quite a challenge for National League East managers this year. Fortunately for the five skippers, the final three outs have been mostly clean.

The NL East has been beset with worrisome relief performances this year, but for the most part, the guys at the back end have been just fine. The Marlins are a bit of an exception in both cases -- shaky in the ninth, solid in setup -- but there are some trends here.

The messy middle has been quite a challenge for National League East managers this year. Fortunately for the five skippers, the final three outs have been mostly clean.

The NL East has been beset with worrisome relief performances this year, but for the most part, the guys at the back end have been just fine. The Marlins are a bit of an exception in both cases -- shaky in the ninth, solid in setup -- but there are some trends here.

Let's take a look at the ninth-inning situations around the division.

Braves
Who's the closer? Arodys Vizcaino

How is it working out? Well, it's actually kind of hard to say.

Vizcaino has pitched well. He just hasn't pitched the ninth very often. It was April 11 before Vizcaino got a save chance, and April 16 before he converted on one. He's 1-for-2, total, on the year. That might not be a bad thing, though, since Vizcaino had some trouble finding the strike zone. When he's struggled in the past, that's been his issue, and it popped up early this season.

However, over Vizcaino's past seven outings, he's only walked one -- a pretty good indication he's rounding into form. The Braves have had some bullpen issues this year, but it's mostly been about getting to the ninth, not getting through it.

Video: PHI@ATL: Vizcaino induces groundout to notch the save

How secure is he? Pretty darn secure -- if only because, who would supplant him? A.J. Minter may well be the closer of the future, but he, too, has had some trouble throwing strikes, and it's hard to envision Atlanta plugging him in the ninth any time soon.

Who's next in line? If the Braves were to make a change later in the year, it seems likely Minter would be the next man up. He closed out Wednesday night's game and did well. But if something were to happen soon, that might be less of a given. While Minter has had trouble throwing strikes, the less-heralded Shane Carle and Dan Winkler have been quite effective. Atlanta would rather not have to make that decision any time soon, because there's not a clear alternative.

Marlins
Who's the closer? Brad Ziegler

How is it working out? Not great. Ziegler is 2-for-2 in save chances, but he's been scored upon in five of 10 appearances and taken three losses. He's 38 and has never been overpowering. It's fair to say this year's performance is concerning.

Video: MIA@LAD: Ziegler gets Bellinger to ground out

How secure is he? Fairly safe for now, if only because the Marlins won't have great urgency to make a change in a rebuilding year. But at the same time, when wins are precious, you don't want to let them slip away. There's also the possibility that even if he rights the ship, Ziegler could be dealt to a contender between now and the end of July.

Who's next in line? Here's one team that has options. Miami is loaded with late-inning power relievers, including four regular members of its bullpen who are averaging more than 11 K's per nine innings. Kyle Barraclough would probably rank ahead of Drew Steckenrider and Tayron Guerrero, but all three have the stuff to close. Junichi Tazawa has experience and plenty of strikeouts, but he's also had huge problems with walks and homers. He's got a long way to go before he would be the guy.

Mets
Who's the closer? Jeurys Familia

How is it working out? Better than anyone could have anticipated. Remember when the Mets hedged their bets and indicated they might go with a closer-by-committee approach? It's always wise to be skeptical of such pronouncements, but Familia has made it moot anyway. He's dominated, with nine saves and 17 K's in 13 innings.

Video: NYM@ATL: Familia gets Bourjos out, picks up the save

How secure is he? Probably pretty safe, but a couple of recent wobbles have been a bit concerning. If it's just a bad week, and that happens, Familia is just fine. If it's the start of a longer slump, maybe a different answer. Still, if Familia is truly back to being the pitcher he was three years ago, that's an elite closer. Right now, he looks a little more like the 2016 version than '15, given a bit of a high walk rate, but even that is a guy you ride for as long as you can. Familia has 115 big league saves; they're not looking to dislodge him if he keeps getting the job done.

Who's next in line? Funny you should ask, and