On Sept. 27, 1998, the Blue Jays defeated the Tigers, 2-1, to finish the season at 88-74. Shawn Green hit his 35th home run that day, a solo shot in the sixth that made Green the 10th player in history with 35 homers, 35 steals and 100 RBIs in a season.
But the bigger story was the man who made the Blue Jays' two runs hold up: Roy Halladay. Making his second Major League appearance, the 21-year-old right-hander entered the ninth inning with a no-hitter intact. After Halladay retired the first 12 Tigers batters of the game, an error had removed the bid for a perfect game, but the possibility of a no-no didn't crash down until -- with two outs in the ninth -- Bobby Higginson jumped on a first pitch and homered.
Halladay finished the game -- the first of his 66 career complete games -- as the winning pitcher, making his first career victory something of a marvel. Nine innings, one hit, one run, eight strikeouts and zero walks: all told, a dominant enough performance to produce a game score of 89. Among all the right-handers to have won at least 200 games in the live-ball era, only one has made his first win more impressive by game score. And that would be Juan Marichal, who threw a one-hit shutout (the hit was surrendered with two outs in the eighth) with 12 strikeouts and one walk on July 19, 1960, and made his first career win be accompanied by a game score of 96.
• Halladay allowed a run in eight innings and picked up his first win of the season and 200th of his career on Sunday against the Marlins. Halladay's milestone victory came in his 406th career appearance.
• Halladay is the 109th pitcher since 1876 to reach 200 wins, and the 70th to win at least 200 games in the live-ball era. Among this smaller group of 70, Halladay's:
• 133 ERA+ ties him with Whitey Ford for the fifth best.
• .662 winning percentage is the fourth best.
• 1.87 walks/9 is the sixth lowest.
• 3.69 strikeout-to-walk ratio is the third best.
• 6.93 strikeouts per nine is the 12th highest.
• 8.68 hits/9 ties him for 40th.
• 1.173 WHIP is tied for the 13th lowest.
• Halladay is one of 13 pitchers since 1916 to have reached 200 wins through his first 406 games. The others: Marichal (222), Tom Seaver (212), Roger Clemens (208), Mike Mussina (208), Whitey Ford (206), Randy Johnson (205), Jim Palmer (204), Greg Maddux (204), Andy Pettitte (203), Carl Hubbell (202), Bob Feller (202) and Bob Gibson (201).
Peavy piling up the K's
• Jake Peavy finished with 11 strikeouts and zero walks, allowing just one run in seven innings to pick up his second win against the Indians on Sunday, giving him 32 career games with at least 10 K's. Those 32 tie Peavy with Don Drysdale and Tim Lincecum for the 35th most since 1916. The game marked the second time in his tenure with the White Sox that Peavy fanned at least 11 and walked none. He joins Juan Pizarro as the only White Sox pitchers since 1916 to have more than one such game.
Boston's best armsRed Sox pitchers from 1964 to 2013 to open a season with three-plus games of seven-plus innings and one or fewer runs:
|Tim Wakefield||1995||4||33 1/3||0.54||18:7||4-0|
Buchholz three times as good
• Boston's Clay Buchholz lost his bid for a no-hitter on Sunday against the Rays when he allowed a leadoff single to Kelly Johnson in the eighth, but he settled for a win with eight innings of two-hit, no-run ball. In improving to 3-0 on the season, he fanned 11. Buchholz's third start of the season maintained his brilliance in the early going, as he has gone at least seven innings and allowed no more than a run in any of his three starts. Buchholz is the fifth Red Sox pitcher in the past 50 seasons to open his year with a three-game (or longer) streak with these definitions.
• Justin Upton hit his seventh home run, his brother B.J. doubled twice, Paul Maholm allowed four hits in 7 2/3 scoreless innings, and the Braves defeated the Nationals, 9-0, on Sunday to improve to 11-1.
• The 11 wins through 12 games matches this Braves team with two others for the best 12-game start in its franchise history. In 1884, the Boston Beaneaters opened 11-1, and 110 years later, the 1994 Braves did the same. The 1982 Braves own the National League record for winning their first 13 games of the season.
Starting things offPitchers to open a season with three consecutive starts of at least five innings and zero runs allowed:
|Woody Williams||2003||19 2/3||11||13:3||3-0|
|Paul Maholm||2013||20 1/3||11||20:5||3-0|
• Maholm improved to 3-0, and has not allowed a run yet this season. He is the sixth pitcher in the live-ball era to open the year with three consecutive starts of at least five innings and zero runs allowed.
• The Tigers' top two hitters -- Austin Jackson and Torii Hunter -- combined to go 7-for-11 with five runs scored, four RBIs, two doubles, a triple (those three hits courtesy of Hunter) and a home run (via Jackson) on Sunday against the A's.
• In 57 at-bats this season, Jackson has three extra-base hits, five walks and five strikeouts, and a .909 OPS. In his first two Major League seasons, Jackson owned a .718 OPS and had the following percentages: 26.1 strikeout percentage; 7.7 walk percentage; 6.8 extra-base hit percentage. Since the start of the 2012 season, Jackson's OPS stands at .861 and in those same three categories: 20.5 strikeout percentage; 10.6 walk percentage; 8.5 extra-base hit percentage.
• With his day at the plate, Hunter now has 32 total bases and 22 hits for the season. Since 1916, for all Tigers players through their team's first 12 games of the season, those 32 total bases are tied for the 17th most, and the 22 hits are tied for eighth most (Jackson also has 22 hits this season). Hunter leads the Majors in 2013 with eight multihit games.
Kuroda putting up zeroes
• The Yankees' Hiroki Kuroda threw a five-hit shutout and New York defeated Baltimore, 3-0, on Sunday night. Since the beginning of the 2012 season, Kuroda has seven games in which he has finished with at least seven innings and zero runs (three shutouts). Those seven tie Kuroda with Clayton Kershaw for the second most in the Majors, behind Felix Hernandez and his eight.
Roger Schlueter is senior researcher for MLB Productions. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.