A historic night for offense in MLB produced runs galore

July 19th, 2023

We knew that the 2023 rule changes would lead to some increased offense in MLB -- but who could have predicted a night like this?

July 18 was an absolutely historic night for offenses across the sport, as four separate games ended with both teams scoring at least 10 runs, tying the all-time MLB record for the most such games in a day. The other two instances of this came on July 4 and July 9 of 1894 -- a season during which the average team scored 7.38 runs per game (compared to 4.60 in 2023), and a season that was only MLB’s second one using the current mound distance of 60 feet, six inches.

As for the present day, the four games in question went as follows:

First, the Mets took down the White Sox, 11-10. New York jumped out to leads of 8-2 and 11-4, before the White Sox made things interesting by scoring six runs over the final three innings. The Mets had four home runs in the game, including a pair from Francisco Alvarez.

Next up came arguably the most exciting game of the night, if not the entire season: Arizona defeating Atlanta in a 16-13 slugfest. It was the first time both teams scored 13-plus runs through the first eight innings of a game since the Yankees and Red Sox in the 2019 London Series, and it’s the only instance in D-backs history of both Arizona and its opponent scoring at least 13 runs in a game. Atlanta’s Austin Riley and Arizona’s Christian Walker each had two homers.

Next up was another 11-10 game, this time with the Royals defeating the Tigers in an AL Central showdown. Kansas City led 11-6 entering the top of the ninth, before Detroit almost completed a thrilling comeback. The Tigers’ Spencer Torkelson hit two homers, while the Royals remarkably put up 11 runs without any player going yard.

And to cap off the historic night of offense was a Giants-Reds battle. Earlier in the day, the Giants secured a 4-2 win after resuming a game that had begun on Monday, but the nightcap would have a starkly opposite theme, as both lineups dominated early and often. Wilmer Flores hit two home runs for San Francisco, which took home an exciting 11-10 win.

Outside of these four games – none of which required extra innings -- the Dodgers, Guardians, Cubs and Twins also all scored at least 10 runs, meaning that a staggering 12 teams finished the day with run totals in the double digits. This set the MLB record within the Modern Era (since 1900), via the Elias Sports Bureau, though the all-time mark is 13 teams doing so on July 4, 1894.

Yet another notable nugget? Besides the aforementioned Riley, Walker, Alvarez, Torkelson and Flores, Cleveland’s Josh Naylor also homered twice in a 10-1 win over the Pirates. That’s the first time this season that six players each had multiple home runs in the same day (the all-time record for that is 10 players).

In what might be the understatement of the year: you don’t see that every day.