TAKING ONE FOR THE TEAM
Dodger pitcher Ramon Martinez struck out 18 Braves in a 6-0 victory on June 4, the most K's by a Los Angeles pitcher since Sandy Koufax fanned 18 in 1962. Martinez might easily have had more. He had six two-strike counts on hitters he didn't strike out. In addition, L.A. first baseman Mickey Hatcher, who's hardly a Gold Glover, made two terrific plays late in the game to turn hits into outs. "When I got to the clubhouse, that's all they were talking about," says Hatcher. "They said, 'You have to drop those balls; you've got to make errors. Can't you see he's making history?' " Hatcher even got booed by the Dodger Stadium crowd for his brilliance. "I was praying for balls not to get hit to me," he says.
...AND IN A SIMILAR VEIN
On the same day, Reds pitcher Tim Birtsas struck out four Giants in one inning. He fanned Matt Williams for what would have been the third out, but the ball got past catcher Jeff Reed, and Williams reached first. Gary Carter then went down swinging. "Has anyone ever struck out five in an inning?" asked Birtsas after the game. When told that no one had, he said, "If I had known that, I would have bounced the fourth [strikeout pitch]."
A BRIEF SHINING MOMENT
Also on that day, Padres outfielder Shawn Abner was inserted in the eighth inning of a game against the Astros. After making a nice running catch on a fly ball, he was taken out in a double switch. He was in the game for four pitches. "It was weird," says Abner. "Four pitches, I'm gone. My teammates abused me for it. But it would have been a lot worse if I hadn't made the catch."
FROM BANJO TO BAZOOKA
Montreal second baseman Junior Noboa did something on June 5 that Jose Canseco, Don Mattingly, Kirby Puckett, Bo Jackson, Eric Davis, George Bell and Ken Griffey Jr. haven't done this year: He had three extra-base hits—a double and two triples—in one game. Going into that game against the Mets, Noboa had had three extra-base hits in 193 major league at bats.
THAT'S MY BOY
With 35 friends and relatives from his hometown of Monroe, La., in the stands, Angel pitcher Chuck Finley was knocked out of his June 2 start at Texas in the third inning. "I could have sworn I saw my dad get up and leave after I got yanked," says Finley. "This is the third time I've done this to him [at Arlington Stadium]. He drove four hours for 2? innings, and he got a ticket on the way. He'll probably let me pay for that now."
On Saturday night, June 2, Seattle's Randy Johnson pitched a no-hitter against the Tigers. On Saturday night, June 9, the Mariners' Russ Swan had a no-hitter for seven innings against Detroit. After Swan's no-hitter was broken up in the eighth, Mariners owner Jeff Smulyan called the press box in Detroit to announce that [Saturday], June 16 would be Guaranteed No-Hitter Night at the Kingdome. If a no-hitter isn't thrown, fans can use their ticket stub to attend another designated game for free. The Mariners are playing the Rangers that night. Matt Young is scheduled to start against—is this perfect?—Nolan Ryan.
BY THE NUMBERS
? Bill Buckner, who was released by the Red Sox on June 5, is not expected to be re-signed by another team. If he's not, he leaves the game with 2,715 hits—six fewer than Lou Gehrig and 61 more than Ted Williams.