August is a time for the MLB to celebrate the history of their game and start fresh. They do this by honoring some of its most iconic players and moments, like Willie Mays’ 660th home run and Pete Rose’s 4,256th hit. But one day in particular that stands out is August 12th, where the New York Yankees honor their late owner George Steinbrenner with a 33-6-3(!) no-hitter.
When it came to The Quirkjians, August was in good company. As usual, the month provided plenty of home runs, including three in a game and those hit by pinch hitters, strikeouts, including ten in a row and five in a game, and walks, including many with the bases loaded. Aaron Nola and the Nola brothers, young and elderly single-game accomplishments on the same team, and a historic old against old at-bat were all highlights of the month. We had dueling catchers with surnames that began with the letter Z, but there was no time for ZZZZs.
Here are The Quirkjians for August, with statistical assistance from the Elias Sports Bureau.
Rafael Ortega blasted three home runs for the Cubs in a 6-5 defeat to the Nationals on August 1. Seby Zavala blasted three home runs in a 12-11 defeat to the Indians the day before (his first three of his career, making him the only player ever to hit his first three career home runs in one game). It was the first occasion since 1900 when a player hit three home runs on consecutive days in a game that his team lost.
The starting pitchers, as well as the pitchers of record, in the Braves-Brewers game were Charlie Morton and Brett Anderson: Morton Anderson, for all Saints fans from a long time ago.
Brewers shortstop, August 3 Willy Adames hit a home run, but his side came up short. When he hits a home run, his team improves to 18-1 (it has subsequently improved to 20-2). Brandon Phillips of the Reds was the last player whose club went undefeated in a complete season with at least 16 home runs in 2012. (17-0).
Sal Perez, the Royals’ catcher, hit his 27th home run of the season on August 4th. He had 10 walks at the time, giving him a chance to become the first player in history to hit 35 home runs while only walking 20 times in a season (he’d walk for the 20th time on Aug. 28). Only Andres Galarraga (33 homers and 19 walks in 1994) and Rougned Odor (31 homers and 19 walks in 2016) have ever hit 30 home runs and walked less than 20 times in a season.
Manny Machado, Jonathan Villar, Jose Altuve, LaMonte Wade Jr., and Akil Baddoo all struck out four times. This brought the overall number of times a batter struck out four or more times in a game to 143 for the season. In 1955, it occurred 12 times. It never happened more than 17 times in a season before 1956.
The Cardinals’ season ends on August 5th. Alex Reyes faced five hitters and struck out four. On Aug. 20, 1996, Mark Hutton became the last pitcher to face five hitters and walk or strike out all of them. With the bases loaded, Reyes walked three hitters, giving Cardinals pitchers a total of 26 walks, the highest since the Mariners had 28 in 1999. Gerrit Cole of the New York Yankees, for example, has pitched the most innings (1,416) among active pitchers without walking a batter with the bases loaded.
Javy Baez of the Mets went 0-for-5 with five strikeouts. That’s his third career five-strikeout game, matching Ray Lankford for second all-time. Sammy Sosa has four games with five strikeouts.
A one-hop ground ball hit by opposition pitcher Kyle Hendricks struck White Sox pitcher Lance Lynn in the numbers on his back on Aug. 6. The ball ricocheted right to Tim Anderson at shortstop, who threw Hendricks out at first. That play ended with a score of 33-6-3.
7th of August The Blue Jays employed only pitchers Robbie Ray and Jordan Romano in a single game for the second time in franchise history, and the first since July 28.
Matt Barnes of the Red Sox was the first pitcher since Randall Delgado on Aug. 13, 2014, to have a loss and a win in a doubleheader against the Blue Jays.
Nelson Cruz and Wander Franco of the Rays hit back-to-back home runs in the same game, marking the third occasion in big league history that a 40-year-old and a 20-year-old have hit back-to-back home runs for the same club. Jim Thome and Manny Machado (2012), Ken Griffey Sr. and Ken Griffey Jr. (1990), Chris Speier and Willie Mays (twice in 1971), and Orlando Cepeda and Hank Sauer are the others (twice in 1958).
Mauricio Llovera, a Phillies reliever, faced three hitters and gave up a home run to each. B.J. Rosenberg of the Philadelphia Phillies was the latest reliever to face three hitters, allow a home run to each, and then be removed on April 14, 2014.
The White Sox completed a three-game sweep of the Cubs on August 8. In a three-game series, the Sox became the first team in big league history to smash at least eight home runs and strike out at least 45 hitters.
10th of August The Giants have now won 72 games this season, but this is just their second walk-off victory. At the time, the Rockies had 51 wins and 10 walk-off triumphs. The 1982 Milwaukee Brewers won 95 games and only had one walk-off victory.
11th of August Corbin Burnes of the Milwaukee Brewers joined Tom Seaver in 1970 and Aaron Nola this year as the third pitcher to strike out 10 hitters in a game. Prior to 2021, only Seaver was the only pitcher to strike out nine batters in a row in a game. At this stage in the season, four pitchers had a nine-inning ERA or higher, while two had a ten-inning ERA or higher.
In a game in which he struck out 15, Burnes also struck out three times. Cole was the last pitcher to accomplish this feat in 2018. As a batter, he struck out 16 times and walked five times.
In a 20-8 defeat to the Red Sox, the Rays employed just three pitchers. The Senators were the last club to let up 20 or more runs in a game while only using three pitchers in a 20-2 defeat to the White Sox in 1956. In the ninth inning, the Rays scored seven runs to reduce the deficit to 20-8. They were the first team in baseball history to score seven runs in the ninth inning and still lose by a score of 10 runs or more.
Cody Bellinger of the Dodgers faced 38 pitches in five bat appearances, striking out three times and hitting two home runs. There were 19 foul balls among the 38 pitches. In a 13-pitch at-bat that featured nine foul balls, he hit a home run.
Luis Urias and Jace Peterson of the Brewers had five-hit games against the Cubs from consecutive spots in the batting order on Aug. 12, the first teammates to do it since Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder of the Brewers did it on Aug. 2, 2010, also against the Cubs.
T.J. McFarland and JT Brubaker were the winning and losing pitchers of the Cardinals-Pirates game, respectively.
13th of August Patrick Wisdom struck out four batters in a game for the fourth time this season. Dick Allen set the record for most 4K strikeout games in a season with seven in 1968.
14th of August Tyler Gilbert of the Diamondbacks became the fourth pitcher in big league history to throw a no-hitter in his debut start, the first since Bobo Holloman in 1953. In their combined 2,047 starts, Greg Maddux, Roger Clemens, and Pete Alexander never pitched a no-hitter.
The Dodgers had lost 11 straight extra-inning games before winning two in a row.
The Astros’ Jake Meyers hit his first two big league home runs in one game the night after the Indians’ Ernie Clement hit his first two major league home runs in one game, one of which was a grand slam. On August 1, the last player to accomplish it was… Zavala of the White Sox. It was a three-homer game for him, including a grand slam.
Kevin Newman of the Pirates became the first player in the expansion period to hit four straight doubles.
Four games were decided by a margin of ten runs or more. Since the trade deadline, when the gap between contenders and noncontenders widened even further, there have been a total of 22 such games.
15th of August We got a nutritious snack food beginning pitching duel with Sonny Gray versus Aaron Nola in the Reds-Phillies game: Gray-Nola.
In a defeat to the Yankees, White Sox second baseman Cesar Hernandez committed three mistakes and grounded into two double plays. Todd Zeile of the Cardinals was the last player to accomplish it on July 21, 1991.
The Orioles were defeated 9-2 on August 16. Their run differential of minus-77 in the preceding 12 games is the greatest in any 12-game period by any club since 1900.
17th of August The Dodgers won 4-3 over the Pirates. It was the Dodgers’ 50th game without trailing this season, the most in MLB. With 17, the Diamondbacks had the fewest. The Braves have 65 such games in 2019. The 1906 Cubs hold the major league record with 85 wins.
18th of August Mitch White of the Dodgers threw 713 scoreless innings in relief to complete and win a nine-inning game. Kent Emanuel of the Astros accomplished it in April with 82/3 scoreless innings, but the last time a reliever pitched more than seven innings, completed, and won a nine-inning game was Greg Cadaret of the Yankees in 1990.
The Orioles dropped their 15th game in a row on August 19. All of the defeats were by multiple runs, breaking a tie with the 1911 Boston Rustlers for the longest losing streak by multiple runs since 1900.
20th of August Zavala and Mike Zunino were the starting catchers in the White Sox-Rays game. It was just the second occasion since 1900 when all three starting catchers in a game had last names that began with the letter Z. On June 4, 1965, the Senators’ catcher, Don Zimmer, faced the Twins’ catcher, Jerry Zimmerman, in a game.
Aaron Nola, a pitcher for the Philadelphia Phillies, faced his elder brother, Padres catcher Austin Nola, for the first time in a big league game on August 21. It was the first time since Norm and Tom Sherry in 1963 when brothers — one a pitcher, the other a catcher — squared off in a big league game. In the second inning, Nola struck out Nola, got him to fly out in the fifth, then walked him in the seventh.
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Albert Pujols (41), the game’s oldest active player, hit a home run against Rich Hill (41), the game’s second-oldest active player. On July 26, 2007, 41-year-old Craig Biggio hit a home run off 44-year-old David Wells, the last occasion a 40-year-old hit a home run off a 40-year-old.
22nd of August Donovan Solano of the Giants hit a two-run pinch-hit homer in the eighth inning, marking the first time the Giants had had go-ahead pinch-hit homers on consecutive days since 1987. It was the Giants’ 20th pinch-hit home run of the season, tying their major league record. The Cardinals set the previous record in 2016 with a 17-game winning streak.
The Braves established a club record by winning their 13th consecutive road game. The Cubs have now lost 13 consecutive home games, tying a club record.
The Red Sox completed a 1-2-5-7 double play on August 23: Pitcher Nate Eovaldi fielded a bunt and tossed it to catcher Kevin Plawecki, who threw it to third baseman Rafael Devers, who tagged out the runner (Nick Solak). Then Devers dashed across the field to first base, where the batter/runner (Yonny Hernandez) was idling between first and second base for no apparent reason. Devers returned him to second base, where Kyle Schwarber was stationed. For the first time in at least 60 years, Schwarber tagged Hernandez out for a 1-2-5-7 double play.
24th of August Despite leading the big leagues in home runs, Mike Yastrzemski hit his 20th home run as a member of the Giants this year, making them the last National League club to have a 20-home run hitter. The Tigers are the only club in baseball without a player who has hit 20 home runs.
In a 16-inning 5-3 win against the Padres on August 25, Dodger pitchers issued eight intentional walks. Since the stat’s inception in 1955, this is the most deliberate walks in a single game. For the whole season, the 2019 Astros and 2020 Twins (60-game season) had no intentional walks.
In a win against the Reds, Brewers pitchers struck out 16 batters while walking none. It was the Brewers’ fourth game with at least 16 strikeouts and no walks this season, more than any other club in MLB history. From 2000 through 2009, all clubs combined played five 16-strikeout, no-walk games.
26th of August Another no-hitter from Dodgers pitcher Max Scherzer, but not the one you’d hope for. Scherzer was 0-for-3 against the Padres, extending his season total to 0-for-45. Karl Drews (0-46 in 1949), Ron Herbal (0-47 in 1964), Bill Wright (0-61 in 1950), and Bob Buhl are the only pitchers in big league history to have a season with more at-bats with no hits (0-62 in 1962).
Glenn Otto, a pitcher for the Texas Rangers, made his big league debut on August 27. Since pitcher Fernando Salas in 2019, he is the first big leaguer with a palindromic last name.
In a 17-13 victory against the Cubs, White Sox reliever Reynaldo Lopez threw five shutout innings without surrendering a hit. He joined Esteban Yan on April 13, 1998, and Roger Bowman on May 27, 1953, as the third reliever in history to pitch five shutout, hitless innings while allowing his team to score 13 runs.
Connor is a member of the Rockies. Joe had to face Shane Greene of the Dodgers: Joe Greene. A pitch struck him in the face. It would have been Mean Joe Greene if it had been done on purpose, which it wasn’t.
28th of August The Royals’ Perez hit his 37th home run of the season, matching Carlton Fisk for the most home runs by a main catcher in an American League season. Perez got there this season with 20 walks. Dante Bichette in 1995 had the fewest walks in a 40-homer season.
Hendricks’ ERA rose to 4.47 on August 29, although he was tied for the league lead in wins with 14 at the time. Brad Penny (2006: 16, 4.33), Rick Helling (1998: 20, 4.41), Jumbo Elliott (1931: 19, 4.27) and Ray Kremer are the four pitchers who led their league in wins yet had an ERA above 4.25. (1930: 20, 5.02).