June 30, 2021

Ohtani, First Starting Pitcher To Ever Bat Leadoff, Shelled In First Inning;
Faces Nine Batters, Records Only Two Outs, Allows Seven Runs

Shohei Ohtani started Wednesday night's game against the Yankees as the Angels starting pitcher – and their leadoff batter. He is the first "real" pitcher to lead off a game in the modern era (since 1901).*

Ohtani began the evening by flying out to center, after which his teammates scored two runs. He took the mound in the bottom of the inning – and everything fell apart.

Ohtani did not finish the inning. He walked the first three hitters, gave up a couple of singles, recorded two outs, hit a batter, walked in a run, and was pulled after 41 pitches. The score was 2-4 when he left and all three of baserunners scored, giving him this ugly line: 0.2-2-7-4-1, 41. Ohtani's ERA jumped from 2.58 to 3.60.

The last time a visiting player started on the mound and hit for himself at any Bronx ballpark called Yankee Stadium was on October 4, 1972, when Jim Lonborg of the Brewers pitched a 1-0 shutout in the final game of the season; he went 0-for-3. The American League began using a designated hitter as a short-term experiment the following season.

*: The only other instance of a starting pitcher batting at the top of a team's lineup is Jim Jones, an outfielder who started a late-season game for the 1901 New York Giants. In three seasons, Jones played 87 games in the outfield and pitched twice (the first coming in 1897).

On September 30, 1901, he started the second game of a doubleheader in St. Louis against the Cardinals. He went 0-for-4 and allowed six runs in five innings and lost in a game that lasted only 5.5 innings. The game was originally scheduled for October 1, but was moved up one day and played after that afternoon's regularly scheduled game, most likely to accommodate train schedules. The Giants finished their schedule with a double header in Brooklyn on October 5.

Jones's major league debut actually came as a pitcher. On June 29, 1897, he took over in the third inning for the Louisville Colonels after the Chicago Colts had scored 14 runs. Jones did not stop the bleeding, allowing 22 more runs, as Louisville lost 36-7. Jones pinch-hit 10 days later and then spent the next three seasons in the minors, which included some mound time (eight games in 1898, 17 games in 1899, none in 1900) before resurfacing with the Giants as a right fielder late in the 1901 season. He batted #2 in his first 15 games before leading off in his final six games.

It is the 17th game in MLB history to end with a 20-2 score.

Ozzie Albies is the second player in Atlanta history [including when the franchise was located in Boston and Milwaukee] with 5 hits and 7 RBI in the same game. First: Joe Adcock, July 31, 1954 (W 15-7).

Albies: 5 hits in 6 plate appearances.
Mets: 4 hits in 33 plate appearances.

Players with 5 hits, 7 RBI, and 1 SB, MLB history:
Reb Russell, Pirates, August 8, 1922 at Phillies
Carl Reynolds, White Sox, July 2, 1930 at Yankees
Bob Johnson, Athletics, August 29, 1937 at White Sox
Willie Stargell, Pirates, May 22, 1968 at Cubs
Yoenis Cespedes, Mets, August 21, 2015 at Rockies
Ozzie Albies, Atlanta, June 30, 2021 vs Mets

Boston-Milwaukee-Atlanta franchise: First time scoring 20+ runs twice in the same season since 1897 (May 31 vs St. Louis Browns and June 2 vs Cleveland Spiders). The May 31st game started an 18-game winning streak. From May 19 to July 6, the team went 35-4.

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