On May 22, 1962, nearly 19,000 days ago, Roger Maris set an American League record that has yet to be broken. The Angels intentionally walked the Yankees center fielder four times that night, in what would be a 2-1 New York win in 12 innings.
That was also the last game in which an AL team held an opponent to no more than two hits in 12 frames — until last night.
What Whitey Ford (no hits in seven innings), Jim Coates (one in two), Bud Daley (none in two), and Bob Turley (none in one) did to the Angels 52 seasons ago, Yu Darvish (one hit in eight innings), Joakim Soria (none in one), Alexi Ogando (none in one), Neal Cotts (one in one), and Jason Frasor (none in one) did to the Astros last night, carrying a situationally inept offense to a 1-0 win in 12.
As Gerry Fraley pointed out on Twitter (and Adam elaborated on), in the 15 innings Darvish has thrown this season, the opposition has yet to score.
And his teammates have yet to score, either.
But Texas has won both Darvish starts, and just as a slam dunk is still worth only two points, so is a layup that rolls down your arm, bounces off your head and your other elbow, and rattles both the backboard and the rim before settling through the twine.
A win is a win, and after two seasons in which even one more of those through 162 could have made a real difference, I’ve got absolutely no problem with the Rangers pouring out of the dugout to mob Robinson Chirinos for squaring up on a Brad Peacock 3-2, two-out four-seamer down and away, shooting it just past second base umpire Alan Porter’s left quad and second baseman Jose Altuve’s (short) outstretched glove arm, and bringing Kevin Kouzmanoff home to score the game’s lone run.
Yes, it raised the Texas record to an unremarkable 5-5, and its decisive moment involved Brad Peacock and Robinson Chirinos and Kevin Kouzmanoff, who probably ring less of a bell for the casual baseball fan than half the names in that 1962 Yankees-Angels box score.
It was a game that was equal parts brilliant and brutal from a Rangers standpoint (and that gave rise, apologetically, to four tweets that referenced Aesop), but man, a win is a win, and tonight’s game, pitting Tanner Scheppers against Jarred Cosart, ought to look nothing like last night’s.
Which is OK, regardless of the frustration quotient, as long as the column that you ultimately stick the result in turns out to be the same.