I haven't done any significant research on the matter, but is it just me, or have there been a TON of near no-hitters and perfect games this year? Yesterday, we had a pair of one-hitters from interesting sources. Jason Hammel, one of the best comeback stories of the year, had a no-hitter through 6 2/3 innings against the Braves before Jason Heyward broke things up, collecting the only hit the Braves would get for the evening in a 5-0 loss. Meanwhile on the other coast, Ervin Santana was perfect for 6 2/3 against the Diamondbacks before Justin Upton broke things up with a single, one of two baserunners that Arizona would get over their 2-0 defeat. The amount of stellar pitching performances lately is absolutely jarring, but I guess it's not really a bad thing at all.
Game of the Night: Blue Jays 6, Phillies 5 (10 innings). The Phillies led this one 5-2 going into the eighth, and it looked like Cliff Lee would finally pick up his first win of the year. Then, something happened. Edwin Encarnacion singled into left center to put men on the corners, but Jimmy Rollins threw the ball up the right field line in an attempt to stop Encarnacion from taking second. Two runs scored, and it was 5-4. A JP Arencibia double off of Chad Qualls scored Kelly Johnson, who singled after the goofy Encarnacion play . Qualls finished the inning, and the game would go into extras, with Joe Savery on the mound in the tenth for a depleted Phillies pen. Yunel Escobar walked, went to second on a balk by Savery, and moved up to third on a Mike McCoy groundout. With two outs, Rajai Davis stepped in, and walked it off with a ground rule double (ruled a single since Davis was dogpiled after touching first) to give the Phillies yet another difficult loss this season. Toronto looks for the sweep today, and will send Brett Cecil to the mound to make his season debut against Kyle Kendrick.
Pitching Lines of the Night: I mentioned Hammel and Santana in the intro, but let me elaborate on their full lines. Hammel threw a complete game shutout, giving up just the one hit and two walks, striking out eight Braves hitters in the process. Santana went the full nine while walking one, allowing one hit, and striking out five. Doug Fister went six scoreless innings for the Tigers in his return from the DL, allowing three hits and one walk while striking out six in the Tigers 4-1 win over the Rockies.
Hitting Lines of the Night: Matt Holliday helped the Cardinals put a ten-spot on the board in their 10-7 win over the Royals, going 4/5 with two runs, five RBI, two doubles, and a homer. NL MVP Ryan Braun helped his Brewers to a 6-2 win over the Twins, going 3/4 with a walk, a double, and a pair of solo homers. Pedro Alvarez of the Pirates awoke from a season-long coma in Pittsburgh's 9-2 win over Cleveland, going 2/4 with a walk, three RBI, and a pair of homers. His teammate Casey McGahee went 2/4 with a walk, two runs, four RBI, and a homer.
Spotlight Series: The Yankees picked up their second straight win in DC, beating the Nationals 5-3 in 14 innings. Ian Desmond tied the game at three in the eighth for Washington with a solo homer off of Cory Wade before the bullpens took over. After Wade left the game, the Yankees pen went 6 1/3 scoreless innings, allowing just three hits. The Nationals bullpen went eight innings in relief of Jordan Zimmermann, and the first seven of those were hitless and scoreless…until Brad Lidge came in for the 14th, and allowed four baserunners and two runs. It's worth noting that Bryce Harper went 0/7 with five strikeouts. No player from either team had more than two hits, and there were just five extra base hits combined in the game. Today's finale will pit Ivan Nova against Edwin Jackson.
Other Games: Homer Bailey pitched great, and the Reds beat the Mets 4-1. The Red Sox edged the Cubs 4-3. A late pinch hit homer by Jonny Gomes propelled the A's to a 6-4 win over the Padres. The White Sox nicked the Dodgers 5-4. The Rangers beat up the Astros 8-3, and Justin Grimm got his first career win. The Marlins beat the Rays 4-3 in 15, despite the Rays managing to only allow one earned run all game. The Mariners beat the Giants 7-4, and Tim Lincecum has lost six decisions in a row.
Today's Games: Johnny Cueto goes for the Reds in New York today. Adam Wainwright starts for the Cardinals against the Royals. Josh Johnson will start for the Marlins against Alex Cobb of the Rays. Zack Greinke starts for the Brewers in Minnesota. Colby Lewis starts for the Rangers against Dallas Kuechel of the Astros, making his major league debut. Ian Kennedy goes for Arizona against Garrett Richards of the Angels. The best matchup of the day will happen in Seattle though, where Madison Bumgarner takes on Felix Hernandez.
Enjoy your day of baseball everyone, and to all the dads out there (including my own), happy Father's Day.