MLB Notebook: Cain one away from history
On April 20, 1938, Bob Feller was 19 years and 168 days old and making his season debut for the Indians, who were 0-1 for the year. In that game, Feller walked six, struck out six and allowed just one base hit -- a single by St. Louis Browns catcher Billy Sullivan.
When the affair was completed, the Indians had a 9-0 win and Feller had the first of his record 12 one-hitters. The last of those 12 came 17 years later, on May 1, 1955, in the first game of a doubleheader against the Red Sox.
Feller, then 36 years and 179 days old, again saw his bid for a no-hitter thwarted by a single from the opposing team's catcher -- this time Sammy White. Feller had to be content with his 12th one-hitter, and what turned out to be the 44th and final shutout of his breathtaking career.
The Giants' Matt Cain threw a one-hit shutout with 11 strikeouts and no walks, and he picked up the win as San Francisco defeated Pittsburgh, 5-0, in its home opener Friday.
Cain now has three one-hit shutouts in his career. Among active pitchers, he is tied with Mark Buehrle, Anibal Sanchez and Tim Hudson for the most shutouts on one or zero hits.
Cain's trio of shutouts on one or fewer hits also ties him with a Carl Hubbell and Phil Douglass for the second most for the franchise in the live-ball era. Juan Marichal has the most, with four.
Cain's performance produced a game score (an equation used to measure a pitcher's dominance) of 96. The 96 score is the highest in the Majors this season, the highest since Chris Capuano's two-hit shutout with 13 strikeouts produced a 96 on Aug. 26, 2011, and the highest for a Giants pitcher since Jonathan Sanchez's no-hitter on July 10, 2009, produced a 98.
Cain, whose previous high game score was 94 on May 28, 2010, is the 15th Giants pitcher since 1920 to have multiple starts with a game score of at least 90. Marichal and Hubbell each had eight, Gaylord Perry had seven, Jason Schmidt had five, Toothpick Sam Jones, Ed Halicki and Johnny Antonelli each had three, and Cain is tied at two with Ray Sadecki, Roy Parmelee, John Montefusco, Larry Jansen, Atlee Hammaker, Shawn Estes and Bobby Bolin.
Alex Rodriguez hit his 630th home run to tie Ken Griffey Jr. for fifth all-time. Rodriguez hit this milestone homer at the age of 36 years and 261 days.
The ages of all six players when they hit their 630th homer:
Alex Rodriguez: 36 years, 261 days on April 13, 2012
Babe Ruth: 37 years, 127 days on June 12, 1932
Hank Aaron: 37 years, 201 days on Aug. 25, 1971
Barry Bonds: 38 years, 322 days on June 11, 2003
Ken Griffey, Jr.: 39 years, 316 days on Oct. 3, 2009
Willie Mays: 39 years, 336 days on April 7, 1971
In their 101st home opener at Fenway Park, the Red Sox defeated the Rays, 12-2. With the victory, Boston extended its winning streak in home openers to eight straight games -- the longest in franchise history.
The 12 runs in their home opener are the most for Boston since beating the Mariners, 14-3, in 2007.
Josh Beckett made his fifth start in a Fenway Park season opener, and with eight innings of five-hit, one-run ball, ran his record in those starts to 4-0 with a 2.41 ERA.
Starlin Castro went 3-for-4 with two runs scored as the Cubs spoiled the Cardinals' home opener by defeating St. Louis, 9-5.
In his 291-game career, Castro owns 31 games with at least three hits, and 100 games with at least two. Castro's total of 31 three-hit games through his first 291 contests is tied with Jigger Statz and Woody English for the second most for any Cubs player who has begun his career since 1918. Frank Demaree had the most, with 36.
Castro's total of 100 multihit games through his first 291 contests is tied with Dee Fondy for the fourth most for any Cubs player who began his career in 1918 or after. Billy Herman had 112 multihit games, Statz had 106 and Ray Grimes had 105.
Three Mets pitchers -- R.A. Dickey, Bobby Parnell and Frank Francisco -- combined for 11 strikeouts in New York's 5-2 win over the Phillies.
The Mets' pitching staff has recorded at least 10 strikeouts in each of New York's past five games. That streak is tied for the second longest in club history, matching the five-game run by the 1970 team from Sept. 8-11. The '90 team recorded at least 10 K's in six straight games, from April 15-20.
Those six straight games for the Mets in 1990 also tied for the longest streak by any team in the live-ball era. The 2006 Cubs (Sept. 18-24) and '08 Cubs (July 26-31) also had six-game runs.
After allowing a leadoff single in the top of the first, Dodgers pitcher Aaron Harang struck out the next nine batters he faced to set a franchise record and fall one shy of tying Tom Seaver's record (set on April 22, 1970) of 10 consecutive strikeouts.
Eight of the nine strikeouts during the streak were of the swinging variety.
Harang broke Johnny Podres' franchise record for consecutive K's, which had been set when the left-hander fanned eight straight Phillies on July 2, 1962.
Harang finished with 13 K's to tie a career high, and Dodgers pitchers had a total of 18 -- the team's most in a nine-inning game since also fanning 18 on June 4, 1990.
Harang's 13 punchouts came in a start that ended after 6 1/3 innings. He was the 31st pitcher since 1918 to strike out at least 13 while going fewer than seven innings. All 31 occurrences have taken place since 1965.
Roger Schlueter is senior researcher for MLB Productions. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.