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April 21, 2019: Historically Competitive Day in Baseball

For most MLB fans, the month of April has been nightmarish in 2020 with no baseball. The pause has given those fans the chance to relive some great historic games and moments. Generally, nothing beats a good World Series Game Seven, especially if it ends in extra innings like 2016 between the Cubs and the Indians. Or if it’s a pitching masterpiece like the one delivered by Josh Beckett in 2003 Game Six for the Marlins. However, if you want to watch competitive and close games, look no further than the 2019 season.

The past two campaigns have brought enough records when it comes to dramatic finishes. The 2018 season broke the record for most walk-off homeruns. However, the following season definitely didn’t disappoint either.

The date is April 21st, 2019. The new season in Major League Baseball is still young and teams such as the Tampa Bay Rays and the Cleveland Indians are still considered “hot”. What better to do on a spring weekend than get a glance of a baseball Sunday. A full 15-game slate – little did anyone know that in the end, it would make its way to the history books.

The Implications

The American League is wild. The Seattle Mariners, believe it or not, have the best record not only in their league but in all of baseball at 16-8. The Astros are a game behind in the AL West, while the Twins and the Indians are tied for the lead in the Central. The Rays have lost three in a row but that’s still enough to have the strongest 10-game streak at 6-4. The Yankees, meanwhile, suffer from injury woes, as per usual, with Aaron Judge landing on the ten-day Injured List on Saturday after a 9-2 win over the Royals in the Bronx.

The Phillies are still holding on strong in the NL East with a one-game lead over the Braves with a record of 12-8. Pittsburgh has five straight victories and has taken the lead in the NL Central while the Padres have lost six in a row and have an even 11-11 record at the third place out West.

Scoreboard

  • Seattle Mariners 6, Los Angeles Angles 8
  • Minnesota Twins 4, Baltimore Orioles 3
  • Arizona Diamondbacks 1, Chicago Cubs 2
  • Atlanta Braves 11, Cleveland Indians 5 (ESPN Sunday Night Baseball)
  • Philadelphia Phillies 1, Colorado Rockies 4
  • Chicago White Sox 3, Detriot Tigers 4
  • Washington Nationals 4, Miami Marlins 0
  • Los Angeles Dodgers 6, Milwaukee Brewers 5
  • Kansas City Royals 6, New York Yankees 7 (10 innings)
  • Toronto Blue Jays 5, Oakland Athletics 4
  • San Francisco Giants 3, Pittsburgh Pirates 2
  • Cincinnati Reds 3, San Diego Padres 4
  • New York Mets 4, St. Louis Cardinals 6
  • Boston Red Sox 3, Tampa Bay Rays 4 (11 innings)
  • Houston Astros 10, Texas Rangers 11

The Record

The combined run differential of all games on April 21st, 2019 was 28. Only five days in history with 15 or more games have been more competitive. To go even further, it came just two runs off the record of 26, which came on September 14, 2007. The day also features a total of ten one-run games and two extra-inning match-ups. Only Braves-Indians and Nats-Marlins had a run differential north of three runs.

The Highlights

Bellinger Silences Miller Park

The Dodgers were now two games ahead of Arizona thanks to their star outfielder and future National League MVP. After Joc Pederson homered in his first at-bat of the game, Bellinger recorded RBI singles in the first and the second innings. LA was leading 5-2 in the bottom of the eighth after six strong innings by Clayton Kershaw. However, Jesus Aguilar hit a three-run bomb, which tied the game. The tie was short-lived as Bellinger slammed the door in the top of the ninth with a solo shot over the fences at Miller Park. The win helped the Dodgers win a season series which had been very competitive all along. This game was the icing on the cake.

Rangers Stun Astros in a Slugfest

The Astros lineup had no problems delivering without Jose Altuve. All hitter from one-through-six in the starting lineup, except for Yuli Gurriel, hit a homerun for a total of five that day. However, Colin McHugh allowed ten runs in a little more than three innings as the Rangers took a 10-1 lead into the fifth. The Astros got two back in the eighth and the ninth and were just a run. In the ninth, Altuve came in as a pinch-hitter and drew a walk, which not only drove in Bregman but loaded the bases. Houston’s efforts of an extraordinary nine-run comeback weren’t enough and Robinson Chirinos’s strikeout sealed a tough 11-10 win for the 12-8 Texas Rangers. If the Astros had completed the comeback, it would have been the biggest of the 2019 MLB season.

Red Sox and Yankees Win in Extras

David Price surrendered just two runs in five innings at Tropicana Field. Boston’s bullpen, one of the worst in the league, was on a journey to prove who’s really to blame for the Sox’ 8-13 start. Tommy Pham hit a solo homer off Marcus Walden in the eighth to get it back level. In the 11th, Christian Vazquez finally gave the Red Sox a 4-3 lead with a sacrifice fly out before Ryan Brasier locked down a save with by retiring the sides in order.

Meanwhile, at Yankee Stadium, New York gave up a huge lead in a disastrous six-run eighth inning. A three-run homer by Alex Gordon, followed by a solo shot by Hunter Dozier, tied the game at 6-6. In the 10th, Jake Diekman, the future Oakland Athletic, walked two batters before Austin Romine’s single contributed to a Yankees walk-off victory.

Kang out at the Plate to Seal a Giants Win

Buster Posey hit a three-run homerun, which was making the difference for San Francisco. The Giants had a 3-2 lead going into the bottom of the ninth at PNC Park. Will Smith, the dominant Giants closer who would go on to sign a three-year deal with the Braves in the offseason, was on the mound for the save. Smith gave first to Francisco Cervelli, then Crawford misplayed a routine groundball and got an out only at second. This was followed by a double in rightfield. Jung Ho Kang was tagged out at the home plate, preventing the Pirates from tying the game and ending it in the process.

Bote Walks It off for the Cubs

Tyler Chatwood and Robbie Ray had a great pitching duel for the first six innings. The only run either allowed was the RBI triple by Javier Baez in the sixth. Jarrod Dyson brought the parity back with a homerun in the top of the ninth against Pedro Strop. However, David Bote had something to say. He walked the game off with a single to centerfield with Archie Bradley on the mound for his fourth career walk-off.


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Teodor
Jets and Marlins writer for Overtime Heroics, as well as an NFL and MLB writer for Franchise Sports UK. From Bulgaria.
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