Monday, April 16: After another masterful performance by Greg Maddux (8 innings, 0 BB, 6 K, one unearned run), John Rocker enters with a 3-1 lead and, after two singles, a wild pitch, a passed ball, and a walk, it’s 3-3, Rocker’s second blown save of the year. He gets credit for the “win,” though, when Rico Brogna’s line drive single to right off of Dan Miceli (following two walks) scores B.J. Surhoff. Braves 4, Marlins 3.
Tuesday, April 17: Barry Bonds hits his 500th home run to give the Giants the win late over the Dodgers. Tony Gwynn goes 3-for-5 in the Padres’ loss at home to Colorado, falling a homer short of the cycle, but somehow doesn’t manage to score or drive in a single run. This is the 297th game of Gwynn’s career in which he collects three hits or more, and the last one he’d ever have. It’s the fourth-most of all time (then and now), behind Rose, Musial and Carew. The triple he hits in this game is also his last; he fights injuries and is used mostly as a pinch hitter from here on out, so this might be the last we hear of Tony.
Wednesday, April 18: The Rays enter the 8th inning leading the Red Sox 1-0, Albie Lopez cruising along. But Lopez walks the first two batters in the 8th, he’s replaced by Tanyon Sturtze, and everything goes horribly wrong. By the end of the inning, the Sox have scored nine runs (one off Lopez, six off Sturtze, and two off Ken Hill), including a two-run homer from Darren Lewis and a three-run job by Brian Daubach, and go on to win 9-1. Hill, 35, a productive starting pitcher in the early nineties, is released by the Devil Rays the following day, and never pitches in the majors again.
Thursday, April 19: Roger Clemens gives up five Blue Jay runs in the third inning, but he (who pitched through the sixth), Todd Williams, Mike Stanton, Mariano Rivera, Brian Boehringer, Randy Choate and Ramiro Mendoza combine to pitch fourteen consecutive scoreless innings after that. The Yankees win 6-5 when a Paul O’Neill ground-ball single plates Chuck Knoblauch in the top of the 17th inning. Elsewhere, Denny Neagle throws six shutout innings and contributes a double and a run scored in the 4-0 Colorado win over San Diego, and his Rockies career is off to a roaring start (2-0, 3.27). That huge contract he signed last December is looking great!
Friday, April 20: Carlos Delgado belts three home runs to help Toronto beat the Royals 12-4. It’s already his second three-homer game of the year, and he now has ten homers total, leading the majors. Kevin Brown pitches another brilliant game for the Dodgers, with six and a third innings of one-run ball to help beat the Padres (his most recent team) 3-1, and his ERA now sits at 0.93.
Saturday, April 21: The Tigers and Indians enter the 11th tied at 3, but then the Tigers (on a walk, sacrifice bunt, and a single by Jose Macias) go up by one. In the bottom of the 11th, with pinch runner Jolbert Cabrera on second, Jim Thome (who started on the bench, reasonably, against lefty Matt Perisho, but had entered as a pinch-hitter in the ninth) clubs a two-run homer, his second of the season and 235th of his career, to give Cleveland the walk-off win. Mike Mussina has a rough go of it in New York, yielding six runs over four innings in the Yankees’ 8-3 loss to Boston; following his brilliant debut, he’s gone 0-2 with a 6.00 ERA in 18 innings over three starts.
Sunday, April 22: Texas beats the living daylights out of star Tim Hudson and the A’s, winning 11-2. Ivan Rodriguez and Rafael Palmeiro each hit their fifth home runs in the win. A 26 year old career Rangers farmhand named R.A. Dickey makes his major league debut, tossing a perfect final inning to close out the win for Rick Helling.