It's Christmas Eve -- or in other words, Opening Day is still a little more than three months away. But the holiday season should be merry, so here's some baseball to look back on.There are no Major League Baseball games played on Christmas, but there are plenty of holidays that
It's Christmas Eve -- or in other words, Opening Day is still a little more than three months away. But the holiday season should be merry, so here's some baseball to look back on.
There are no Major League Baseball games played on Christmas, but there are plenty of holidays that do fall during the course of the MLB season. So as you unwrap your presents, MLB.com presents some of the best holiday performances of all time.
Best of 2017: Max Scherzer throws immaculate inning
Scherzer makes this list for a rare feat: an immaculate inning. That's when a pitcher strikes out all three batters he faces in an inning on nine pitches. In the fifth inning on Mother's Day, Mad Max sent down the Phillies' Cesar Hernandez, Odubel Herrera and Aaron Altherr, 1-2-3, 1-2-3, 1-2-3.
May 9, 2010: Dallas Braden pitches perfect game
There have only been 23 perfect games pitched in the entire history of Major League Baseball. One of those belongs to Braden, who was untouchable against the Rays on Mother's Day 2010. Braden's perfect game couldn't have been more special: He lost his mother to cancer when he was a teenager and was raised by his grandmother, Peggy Lindsey, who was in attendance that Mother's Day to see him throw MLB's 19th perfect game.
2012:Joey Votto caps three-homer game with walk-off grand slam, becoming first player in history to do so.
1978: The Cubs' Dave Kingman hits three home runs, including game-winner in 15th inning.
1937: Ernie Lombardi goes 6-for-6 in nine-inning game for the Reds.
Best of 2017: Nolan Arenado caps off cycle with walk-off home run
The Rockies' superstar third baseman sure showed off a flair for the dramatic this Father's Day. Arenado stepped to the plate in the bottom of the ninth inning at Coors Field with the Rockies down a run to the Giants, who had rallied to take the lead in the top of the ninth. He also was a home run shy of the cycle. And he delivered everything in one fell swoop, turning on an inside pitch from San Francisco closer Mark Melancon and driving it over the left-field wall. It was a walk-off. It was a cycle. It was Nolan being Nolan.
June 21, 1970: Cesar Gutierrez goes 7-for-7 in 12-inning win over Indians
Only five players since the turn of the 20th century have gotten seven hits in a single MLB game, regardless of length. On Father's Day in 1970, Gutierrez, a journeyman infielder whose Major League career lasted just four seasons, became the third player to join that group. In the Tigers' 9-8, 12-inning win against the Tribe, Gutierrez knocked a hit every time he stepped to the plate, including a game-tying single in the eighth inning. He was the first modern-era player to go a perfect 7-for-7, and only Rennie Stennett (Sept. 16, 1975) has joined him since.
1967: The Astros' Don Wilson tosses 15-strikeout no-hitter.
1964: Jim Bunning pitches perfect game for Phillies, first since 1880 by an NL pitcher.
1928: Dazzy Vance strikes out 15 Cubs in three-hit shutout for the Brooklyn Robins.
Best of 2017: Carlos Beltran goes 4-for-5 with homer to cap Astros rally
Beltran made his last Memorial Day game count. He recorded four hits for the final time in his illustrious 20-year MLB career, tying his single-game high. One of those hits was a three-run homer that pushed the Astros to an 11-run eighth inning. They had entered the frame trailing the Twins 8-2. They won the game 16-8.
May 28, 1979: George Brett hits for cycle
Brett got a lot of hits in his Hall of Fame career -- 3,154 of them, to be exact, currently ranking 16th all-time. And he actually hit for the cycle twice, making him one of 24 players to do so. The first of those came on Memorial Day in 1979, in a 16-inning 5-4 win over the Orioles. Brett completed the cycle with a double in the bottom of the 14th inning… and then he broke out the heroics. Lead off the bottom of the 16th -- having already homered eight innings ago (a shot that temporarily put the Royals ahead in the eighth) -- Brett ended the game with a walk-off blast.
2012:Chris Sale strikes out 15 Rays in a White Sox win.
1977: Dennis Eckersley throws a 12-strikeout no-hitter for the Indians
1894: Bobby Lowe hits two home runs in same inning for the Braves.
4th of July
Best of 2017: Andrew Benintendi goes 5-for-5 with two home runs and six RBIs
The Red Sox were facing Yu Darvish on Independence Day in Arlington, but that didn't stop Benintendi. The 22-year-old rookie went a flawless 5-for-5 with two long balls and six RBIs. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the only other rookie to ever get at least five hits, homer twice and knock in six in a single game was the Royals' Kevin Seitzer in 1987.
July 4, 1983: Dave Righetti throws no-hitter
When Righetti took the mound on a 94-degree day in the Bronx, Yankee Stadium hadn't seen a no-hitter since Don Larsen's perfect game in the 1956 World Series. Facing the rival Red Sox, the Yankees left-hander handed Boston its first hitless game in 15 years. Righetti finished the no-hitter by fanning Wade Boggs -- who struck out only 36 times all season and led the Majors with a .361 batting average and .444 on-base percentage. Righetti struck out Boggs twice in the game. He was the only pitcher all year to do so.
1985: Keith Hernandez hits for the cycle in the Mets' 19-inning win over Braves.
1984: Jim Rice goes 5-for-6 with a walk-off grand slam in the 12th inning.
1961: Orlando Cepeda goes 5-for-5 with a home run and eight RBIs, tying Willie Mays' San Francisco Giants record.
Best of 2017: J.D. Martinez has four-homer game vs. Dodgers
J.D.'s Labor Day performance wasn't just one of the best of the year, it was a historic game. In the heart of his scorching-hot stretch with the D-backs, this was the coup de grace. Only 18 players have hit four home runs in a game in Major League history, and Martinez was lucky No. 18. Martinez homered off four different pitchers -- Rich Hill, Pedro Baez, Josh Fields and Wilmer Font -- and entered the record books in his final at-bat in the ninth inning.
Sept. 2, 1996: Mike Greenwell homers twice, drives in every run in 9-8 comeback win
Greenwell singlehandedly carried the Red Sox to a win on Labor Day 1996. Seattle jumped ahead 5-0 against Roger Clemens; Greenwell hit a two-run homer to get the Sox on the board in the fifth, then a grand slam in the seventh to give them a 6-5 lead. The Mariners retook the lead, 8-6, in the bottom of the inning on the back of an Alex Rodriguez homer; Greenwell tied it in the top of the eighth with a two-run double. The game stayed 8-8 until the top of the 10th, and then Greenwell put Boston ahead to stay with a run-scoring single. He accounted for every run.
1997: The Phillies' Curt Schilling strikes out 16 Yankees.
1976: Frank Tanana goes 10 innings and strikes out 15… but the Angels go on to lose once he comes out in 11th.
Best of 2017: Astros beat Red Sox's elite arms
Now we're on to the playoffs. And this year, there were some great team efforts on Columbus Day. The Astros beat the Red Sox to advance to the American League Championship Series, but to do it, they had to go through Sale -- pitching in relief -- and Craig Kimbrel. As they did all postseason, they beat their opponent's best. Alex Bregman hit a tying homer off Sale in the eighth inning, and Josh Reddick chopped the go-ahead hit off Kimbrel in a brilliant at bat. In the ninth, Beltran put the series away with an RBI double off Kimbrel.
Honorable mention to the Yankees youth movement, with Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez and Luis Severino keying New York's continued comeback over the Indians in the other American League Division Series.
Oct. 11, 1999: Troy O'Leary and Pedro Martinez carry Red Sox to ALCS
In a winner-take-all Game 5 of the ALDS on Columbus Day in 1999, the Red Sox got two incredible performances. O'Leary hit a go-ahead grand slam in the third inning and a tiebreaking three-run homer in the seventh -- both following intentional walks to Nomar Garciaparra. But somehow, he was overshadowed. And that was because of a legendary performance by a legendary player, Pedro Martinez. Pedro, who had left his Game 1 start due to a back injury, came out of the bullpen in Game 5 and threw six no-hit innings in relief to send the Sox to the ALCS. It was one of the defining moments of his Hall of Fame career.
2002: Kenny Lofton's walk-off single sends the Giants to World Series.
1964, '67: Bob Gibson's World Series complete-game gems: A 10-inning, 13-strikeout Game 5 win in '64 and a 10-strikeout Game 7 clincher in '67 en route to World Series MVP both years.
1960: The Yankees' Whitey Ford shuts out Pirates in Game 6 of World Series (before Bill Mazeroski's Game 7 heroics).
Best of 2017: Kenley Jansen gets the World Series to Game 7
This year, Game 6 of the World Series fell on Halloween. It was actually a fairly ordinary game for this classic of a Fall Classic, but Jansen gets the nod here. He bounced back from a tough loss in Game 5 to notch the save in Game 6, extending the World Series to a winner-take-all Game 7 at Dodger Stadium.
Oct. 31, 2001: Derek Jeter becomes Mr. November
Baseball's most famous Halloween moment, of course, came as the clock struck midnight. As the World Series entered November for the first time in history, Derek Jeter stepped to the plate against D-backs closer Byung-Hyun Kim. The Captain sent a fly ball into the short right-field porch at Yankee Stadium for a walk-off homer, and the Mr. November legend was born.
2010:Madison Bumgarner throws eight scoreless innings in Game 4 of World Series in first signature postseason performance.
2009: A-Rod hits only career World Series home run in Yankees win over Phillies.
David Adler is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York. Follow him on Twitter at @_dadler.