This Day In Baseball May 31
Debuts, Milestones, No Hitters, Rule Changes, Events, Birthdays, Deaths, and more on This Day In Baseball.
Events for May 31
5/31/1914 – In the seventh inning of the second game of a doubleheader in Cincinnati, Tommy Clarke pinch hit for Reds pitcher King Lear in the ninth spot in the order and hit a run-scoring single to center. Maury Uhler ran for Clarke and Johnny Rawlings hit for the leadoff hitter, right fielder Herbie Moran. Uhler stayed in the game in right field and the new pitcher, Phil Douglas, assumed the leadoff spot. As the ninth inning started, the ninth position in the batting order was due up . However, the Reds forgot the double switch and thought that the pitcher was next so Fritz Von Kolnitz was sent in to pinch hit for Douglas. A pinch hitter can not be out of order because he was officially batting for Uhler not Douglas. After Von Kolnitz grounded out, Douglas should have been the next batter in the leadoff position. However, Uhler came to the plate out of order and walked. Then the number two hitter, Buck Herzog, singled Uhler to third. He was also out of order but the Pirates never caught on either. The Reds scored two runs in that inning that could have been prevented. They were important as they tied the game at 5 runs apiece and at the end of the inning, the game was called due to darkness.
There is an unassisted triple play for the second consecutive day in the major leagues. During the 9th inning of a game at Tiger Stadium, Detroit first baseman Johnny Neuncompletes the rare play by catching a Homer Summa line drive, tagging Charlie Jamieson between first and second, and then touching second before Glenn Myatt can return. Detroit beats the Indians, 1 – 0.
In Game 1 of a Memorial Day doubleheader, Carl Hubbell’s consecutive-game winning streak, compiled over two seasons, ends at 24 when the Dodgers, led by Babe Phelps’ 5-for-6 performance, defeat the Giants at the Polo Grounds, 10-3. ‘King Carl’ is honored between games when the southpaw is presented with the National League’s 1936 MVP Award by Babe Ruth.
A bunt single by Dick Groat and a pair of tape measure two-baggers from Roberto Clemente and Dick Stuart provide all the support Pittsburgh starter Joe Gibbon needs in his complete game victory over the Milwaukee Braves. The Bucs batter the Braves, 9 – 1, and 9 doubles to none. Future Hall of Famer Hank Aaron keeps the Braves from being shut out with a home run, which carries, according to Pirate beat writer Les Biederman, “over the left-field fence on a low line as though shot out of a rifle.” Biederman adds that Pittsburgh’s opening-round moon shots target a couple of familiar Forbes Field landmarks: Clemente’s two-bagger is hit to the warning track at the 436-foot sign, while Stuart’s two-run double goes to the light tower in right center.
At Shea Stadium, the New York Mets and the San Francisco Giants play the longest doubleheader in major league history – 9 hours, 52 minutes – with the help of a 23-inning game in the nightcap that is won by the visiting Giants, 8 – 6, on run-scoring hits by Del Crandall and Felipe Alou against Galen Cisco. The game takes 7:23 to play. In the opener, Juan Marichal pitches a complete game and Orlando Cepeda goes 3 for 4 with two runs and one RBI for a Giants 5 – 3 victory.
Roberto Clemente’s fifth career home run off Sandy Koufax is a game-tying, bases-empty blast of epic proportions; following immediately upon the heels of a collective Piratesmeltdown transforming a three-run lead into a one-run deficit, “Koufax was bombed for one of the longest home runs in Forbes Field annals,” writes Dodgers beat writer Frank Finch. “Señor Clemente touched off a moon shot that struck high on a light tower in center field, some 450 feet from the plate. Had it missed the tower, it certainly would have sailed at least 500 feet. It was No. 5 for the ex-Dodger chattel, and tied the score at 4 – 4.”
The Mets execute an unusual two-man 6-6-3 triple play in the top of the 14th frame of the team’s 23-inning marathon 8-6 loss to the Giants when shortstop Roy McMillan snares Orlando Cepeda’s line drive headed for center field for the first out, tags second base to double off Jesus Alou for the second out, and then throws to first baseman Ed Kranepool to catch Willie Mays off first base for the final out. The play is the team’s second triple-killing in the franchise’s brief history, having pulled one off against Los Angeles in 1962, the team’s inaugural season.
Don Drysdale’s shutout streak stays intact when home plate umpire Harry Wendelstedt rules that Dick Dietz, who is hit by a pitch with the bases loaded in the ninth inning, did not make an attempt to get out of the way of the right-hander’s delivery. The Giants catcher finishes the at-bat by popping up, and the next two batters also make outs to give ‘Big D” his fifth straight shutout, tying a major league established by White Sox hurler Doc White in 1904.
For the fifth time in his career, Cesar Tovar gets his team’s lone hit in a game when he breaks up Catfish Hunter’s bid for a no-hitter with a sixth-inning single in the Rangers’ 6-0 loss to the Yankees. The Texas DH also accomplished the feat against Barry Moore (1967 Senators), Dave McNally (1969 Orioles), Mike Cuellar (1969 Orioles), and Dick Bosman (1970 Senators).
Pat Underwood, in his major league debut, blanks the Blue Jays for 8 1/3 innings, earning the victory when the Tigers beat Toronto, 1-0, thanks to Jerry Morales’ eighth inning solo home run. The 22 year-old rookie’s mound opponent is his older brother Tom, now winless in seven decisions, who goes the distance in the Exhibition Stadium contest.
Ken Landreaux’s 31-game hitting streak comes to an end when he goes hitless in four at-bats in Minnesota’s 11-1 loss to Baltimore at Metropolitan Stadium. The 33 year-old outfielder’s accomplishment, the longest span in the American League since Dom DiMaggio’s 34 for the Red Sox in 1949, establishes the record for the most consecutive games with a hit in Twins history.
American League President Lee MacPhail suspends Yankees owner George Steinbrenner for one week, citing “repeated problems” with the outspoken owner’s public criticism of umpires. Steinbrenner, who was fined $50,000 by Commissioner Bowie Kuhn during spring training for berating some National League umpires, cannot attend games or be in his Yankee Stadium office during the suspension.
5/31/1994: Eduardo Perez of the Angels hit a two-run home run to cap off a four-run first inning against the Indians in Cleveland. Julian Tavarez started the game for the Tribe before the game was called off with two out in the bottom of the first inning. The start of the game had been delayed by rain for 40 minutes and the game was halted by a delay of 1 hour and 42 minutes before being canceled.
After consulting a dugout TV monitor, Frank Pulli becomes the first umpire to use instant replay to make a call, changing Cliff Floyd’s fifth inning home run to a ground-rule double in the Marlins’ 5-2 loss to the Cardinals. After the Pro Player Stadium contest, the National League officials make it clear the use of technology should not have been used to reverse the call.
Carlos Beltran hits a grand slam and adds a solo home run in the 11th inning to pace the Royals to a 10 – 7 victory over Texas. His solo shot is the first of three consecutive home runs in the 11th, as Mike Sweeney and Joe Randa follow suit. The Royals become just the second major league team to hit at least three consecutive home runs in extra innings. Back on May 2, 1964, also in the 11th inning, the Minnesota Twins hit four consecutive home runs, by Tony Oliva, Bob Allison, Jimmie Hall and Harmon Killebrew. Getting back to tonight, Kansas City’s one remaining home run comes with the bases empty, courtesy of Neifi Perez, while Texas gets a pair of two-run blasts from Alex Rodriguez.
Sister Susanna Helms wins $10,000 from U.S. Bank and WLW when Barry Larkin and Sean Casey hit back-to-back home runs in Cincinnati’s 9-7 victory over the Marlins at Pro Player Stadium. The nun, who won the money after her name was picked on the Reds radio broadcast to be eligible for the promotion if the team hit back-to-back home runs in the fifth inning, will donate the cash to the Sisters of Saint Francis in Oldenberg, Indiana to help the order meet expenses.
Buddy Bell, who formerly managed the Tigers (1996-98) and the Rockies (2000-2002), becomes the first Kansas City manager in 19 years with previous experience to be hired as the team’s skipper. With the worst record in baseball, the Royals will respond by sweeping a three-game series with the Yankees.
Roger Clemens agrees to terms on a one-year deal with the Houston Astros to come back for a 23rd season, or at least the remaining four months of the current season. The seven-time Cy Young Award winner ends his seven-month retirement by accepting a deal that will pay him approximately $12.8 million – the pro-rated value of his $22,000,022 seasonal contract – to pitch for the Astros for the balance of the current season.
Jose Castillo hits a home run in his fifth straight game as Pittsburgh beats Milwaukee for the third consecutive time, 6 – 1, at PNC Park. Sean Casey and Jason Bay hit back-to-back homers while Freddy Sanchez goes 3 for 4 with three runs. Pittsburgh has outscored Milwaukee 32 – 5 through the first three games of this four-game series.
Carlos Pena becomes the first player to hit a ball into the “A” ring, the highest catwalk at Tropicana Field. The Rays first baseman’s 190-foot pop fly, considered in play, is caught off the rebound by Jose Mijares, but the Twins’ left-hander has to roll onto his stomach to hold onto the ball for the out.
Alex Rodriguez may not be his usual superhuman self this season, but it’s still a bad idea to issue an intentional walk to face him with the bases loaded. The Indians find this out the hard way, as A-Rod connects for a grand slam in the 7th inning, turning a 2 – 1 Yankees lead into an 11 – 2 rout. The slam is the 20th of his career, placing him third on the all-time list, behind Lou Gehrig (23) and Manny Ramirez (21).
San Diego score their most runs at home since moving to PETCO Park in 2004, routing New York, 18 – 6. The last two runs are scored against Oliver Perez, who has pitched so poorly that manager Jerry Manuel has relegated him to the deepest reaches of the bullpen. Jerry Hairston hits a grand slam for the Padres, who remain two games ahead in the NL West.
The Tigers designate pitcher Dontrelle Willis for assignment. He seemed to have turned a corner in his comeback bid when he made the Tigers’ starting rotation out of spring training, but has only won one game all season. This may not yet be the end of the line for the gregarious lefthander, though, as both the Diamondbacks and Marlins have shown interest in acquiring his services. On June 1st, Willis will be traded to Arizona for P Billy Buckner.
The Orioles’ Jeremy Guthrie is cruising along to a win over the Mariners when Justin Smoak blasts a three-run home run in the bottom of the 8th to turn a 2 – 0 lead for the O’s into a 3 – 2 loss. With two outs, Ichiro Suzukihad reached on an error by Guthrie and Brendan Ryan on an infield single prior to the blast; none of the runs are earned. Seattle has won 11 of its last 14 games to get back in the middle of the race in the AL West.
The Astros pound out 6 runs on 5 hits in the 9th inning to keep Jordan Lyles from losing his major league debut against the Cubs. Trailing 3 – 1 against hard-throwing Carlos Marmol at Wrigley Field, Houston starts the inning with a single by Brett Wallace; Chris Johnson, Matt Downs and Michael Bourn also get hits, and after a walk, Hunter Pence puts the game out of reach with a three-run homer. Lyles, the youngest player in the majors, keeps the Cubs scoreless through 7 before coughing up a pair of runs – one of them unearned – to start the 8th. Reliever Fernando Rodriguez gets credit for his first career win.
Marietta College routs Chapman University, 18 – 5, to win the 2011 Division III College World Series. It is their fifth Division III title, breaking a tie with Eastern Connecticut State for the most. Austin Blaski gets his second win of the Series to win Most Outstanding Player of the tournament honors.
With a 1st-inning three-run homer off Bud Norris of the Astros, Colorado’s Carlos Gonzalez sets a franchise record with his 4th consecutive long ball. He had hit homers in his last three at-bats in the Rockies’ 13 – 5 win over Houston the previous day. The shaken Astros walk him intentionally the next time he comes to the plate in the 2nd inning. Colorado goes on to to win, 11 – 5, completing a four-game sweep.
At Coors Field, Carlos Gonzalez sets a franchise record and becomes the 22nd major league to hit a home run in his fourth straight at-bat. The Rockies outfielder’s first frame three-home run off Houston pitcher Bud Norris comes on the heels of CarGo’s three round-trippers in the fifth, sixth, and eighth innings of yesterday’s contest.
Martin Maldonado ends a 17-inning marathon with a solo walk-off homer off Vidal Nuno to give the Brewers a 7 – 6 win over the Diamondbacks. Maldonado goes 4-for-6 with 3 runs and 2 RBIs while catching all 17 innings. Matt Garza throws five scoreless innings in his first relief appearance since 2010 to earn the win. At 5 hours and 49 minutes, it is the longest game by time in the history of Miller Park.
The Red Sox continue to pound the ball as Mookie Betts hits three homers and drives in five runs in a 6 – 2 win over the Orioles. Xander Bogaerts extends his hitting streak to 24 games with a 7th-inning single. The Red Sox start off with a blast as Betts and Dustin Pedroia go deep back-to-back against Kevin Gausman to open the game.
The Astros continue their torrid pace with a 17 – 5 beatdown of the Twins at Target Field, their seventh straight win. They hit a season-high six homers, including a pair by George Springer, and now have 38 wins, five more than any other major league team. Their lead in the AL West is already 11 games.
2011 – Jordan Lyles, the 20-year-old top prospect, makes his big league debut an impressive one. He blanks the Cubs for seven innings but his own throwing error puts him behind, 3-1, after eight. The Astros respond with six runs in the top of the ninth for a 7-3 stunner. Brett Wallace and Hunter Pence have three hits each, including a homer. Fernando Rodriguez gets his first big league win, not Lyles.
1975 – Houston erupts for twelve runs in the eighth inning, setting a club mark, during a 15-3 bombing of Philadelphia. Wayne Twitchell, a former high Astros draft pick, had allowed two hits in seven innings before the collapse. Pinch-hitter Cliff Johnson belts a double and a home run for three RBIs during the frame but the league later rules that the homer cannot officially be a pinch hit since he batted earlier in the inning
1962 – Weldon Appelt proposes to Harris County Commissioners a stadium plan using arches that he says could be built faster and cheaper than the proposed domed stadium. Elsewhere, the Colts stun the Cubs with five runs in the ninth for a 10-6 shocker. Carl Warwick’s two-run single precedes a three-run shot from Jim Pendleton in the uprising.