Major League Baseball fans experienced a wild night of game action featuring a unique combination of record individual performances and thrilling finishes. Last night was the first time in Major League history that one day of games featured a no-hitter (thrown by Angels starter Jered Weaver) and three walk-off home runs (Chipper Jones in Atlanta, Jason Giambi in Colorado, and Ian Desmond in Washington, D.C.).
The exciting games drove strong viewership and fan engagement throughout the night. MLB Network’s ratings increased by +82% in the quarter hour when “MLB Tonight” aired live coverage of the Angels game from the previous quarter hour, per Nielsen figures. Additionally, Atlanta, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. registered the best ratings for a Wednesday baseball game on their respective cable regional sports networks so far this season, according to Nielsen. MLB.com At Bat, across its supported mobile phones and tablet devices, recorded 4.8 million page views during the 12:00 a.m. (EDT) hour alone, representing an increase of 140% over this season’s comparable average during that time period.
The night of games also generated excitement on Twitter and among media. Following are just a few tweets and highlights from stories that appeared during or following the games:
@ShaneVictorino: Congrats by the way to Jered Weaver on his no-hitter...props bro! -- Phillies All-Star outfielder Shane Victorino
“Baseball is awesome. Did we need to say anything else?....Man I need to catch my breath.” – David Schoenfield, ESPN.com
“If not for the last night of 2011 regular season, we'd call Wednesday the greatest night of baseball in a long, long time.” – Dayn Perry, CBSSports.com
@LilTunechi: And then Jered Weaver throws a no hitter...awesome! Another day in sports. -- Hip Hop Artist Lil Wayne
“This is the best night of baseball in 2012 so far. Three walk-offs and a no hitter.” – Greg Amsinger, MLB Network analyst
Following are some additional notes of interest from last night’s slate of games:
Atlanta’s Chipper Jones and Colorado’s Jason Giambi each hit game-ending home runs on Wednesday. It was the first day in Major League history on which two players age 40 or older hit walk-off homers.
Speaking of Atlanta, the Braves have now been involved in the two highest scoring extra-inning games in the National League over the past 27 years. Last night’s 15-13 score, with the Braves victorious over the Phillies, was the highest-scoring extra-inning game in the National League since July 4, 1985, when the Mets outlasted the Braves, 16-13, in 19 innings.
Last night was the fourth time in the Wild Card era and 15th time since 1918 that two players (Carlos Ruiz, Phillies, and Carlos Beltran, Cardinals) recorded seven runs batted in on the same day.
Washington Nationals rookie outfielder Bryce Harper went 3-for-4 with two doubles, an RBI and two runs scored in Washington’s 5-4 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks. Harper, whose leadoff double in the ninth inning helped spark the comeback, became the youngest player (19 years, 199 days) to record two doubles in a game since Andruw Jones (19 years, 152 days) on September 22, 1996. In addition, the top overall selection in the 2010 First-Year Player Draft became the youngest to tally three hits in a single game since Adrian Beltre (19 years, 126 days) had three hits on August 11, 1998.