(CBS Boston) — It’s been an exciting week of baseball, even though the calendar still says mid-April. Two weeks in is far too early to draw any real conclusions from the standings or the play that led to those wins and losses. But it’s the perfect time to look at some of the action making headlines.
MLB already has its first three-home run game this season, courtesy of Boston Red Sox’s J.D. Martinez. It also has its first no-hitter so far, thanks to San Diego Padres’ Joe Musgrove. And what would a week in baseball be without a little controversy? The Philadelphia Phillies edged out the Atlanta Braves on a call at the plate that could have easily gone the other way.
This week’s Baseball Report looks at Martinez’s three homers, Musgrove’s complete game shutout and the Phillies’ win.
J.D. Martinez On Fire
The Red Sox are on a tear, winning six straight after losing their first three. Some of the credit goes to slugger J.D. Martinez. He’s been on a torrid pace so far, stroking 17 hits, 16 RBI and five home runs en route to an early-season average that’s pushing .500. And batting as designated hitter in the third spot on Sunday against the Baltimore Orioles, Martinez mashed three home runs, as part of a four-hit, four-RBI afternoon.
His first at-bat ended in a strikeout. So did his last. But in the third, he pushed Boston’s lead to 4-0 on a solo shot down the right field line. An RBI single two innings later added another run. His second solo home run of the game came in the sixth inning, and his third, this time to center, followed in the eighth. Those three home runs made him just the fifth player in history to go long three times in a game with three different teams.
Martinez’s absurd stat line on Sunday continues his unbelievable start to the season. He’s currently batting .472, and slugging 1.083, both among the top five in the Majors. His home run and RBI totals top the League as well. Martinez And all this has happened in just eight games and 38 plate appearances. With an extra-base hit in every game so far, he has also tied a major-league record.
Boston won, 14-9, Sunday to complete the three-game sweep of Baltimore. They now sit atop the American League East at 6-3. After starting the season with three losses to the rebuilding Orioles, the Red Sox have swept the Tampa Bay Rays and Orioles. The start of their next series with the Minnesota Twins was postponed Monday following the shooting of Daunte Wright in a suburb of Minneapolis.
“Out of respect for the tragic events that occurred yesterday in Brooklyn Center, and following the additional details in this evolving situation, the Minnesota Twins have decided it is in the best interest of our fans, staff, players and community to not play today’s game,” the Twins’ statement said. “The decision was made by the Minnesota Twins after consultation with Major League Baseball, and local and state officials.”
Joe Musgrove’s No-Hitter
The San Diego Padres were considered one of the best teams in baseball to start the season. And pitching like Musgrove’s shutout outing against the Texas Rangers will help them fulfill expectations.
Musgrove threw nine innings of no-hit ball on Friday evening, leading the Padres to a 3-0 win. He also struck out 10 batters. The Padres right-hander threw 112 pitches in the game, 70 percent of which were strikes. Aside from hitting Joey Gallo with a pitch in the fourth inning, he did allow any baserunners.
Here’s the celebration that ensued after the final out:
— MLB (@MLB) April 10, 2021
This was the first no-hitter in Padres franchise history, the first of the MLB season and the first of Musgrove’s career. The Padres, founded in 1969, were the last team without a no-hitter on the books. MLB has now seen 305 of them in its history. The most recent no-hitter is also the first to happen at Globe Life Field, which the Rangers just started playing in this season.
Musgrove was acquired from the Pittsburgh Pirates in the offseason. He has now tossed 15 scoreless innings and racked up 18 strikeouts for San Diego in two appearances. In his previous appearance, Musgrove gave up three hits in six innings, to help the Padres blank the Arizona Diamondbacks, 7-0. San Diego is now 7-3, one game behind the Arizona Dodgers in the National League West.
Phillies-Braves Controversial Call
The Phillies picked up an early-season win over the Braves that could have easily gone the other way. Tied at six runs apiece in the top of the ninth, Phillies’ Didi Gregorius skied a short flyball down the leftfield line. Alec Bohm tagged and scored on the flyout. But replay seems to show that Bohm may have missed tagging the plate.
If we are going to have instant replay, we need to make sure to overturn calls when replay makes it clear that the original call was wrong.pic.twitter.com/idFJAyO0S8
— Grant Paulsen (@granthpaulsen) April 12, 2021
Braves manager Brian Snitker was ejected after instant replay upheld the initial call. Phillies manager Joe Girardi is reported to have thought that the runner’s big toe glanced the plate.
The final play at the plate was a fitting end to a game that saw six home runs and multiple lead changes. It also may have saved the Phillies from the series sweep. The Braves won the first two games, 8-1 and 5-4. Philadelphia holds the National League East lead, with Atlanta two games back.