Over the course of nearly 5,000 baseball games played in the major leagues each season, there are many events that can be classified as memorable. A rookie blossoming as a star. A veteran showing they’re still elite. Or memorable could simply mean a great game. Here are 10 memorable moments that stood out during the 2019 season.
March 28th: Dodgers Dingers Down D-Backs
The baseball left the park 6,776 times in 2019. Eight of those came on Opening Day at Dodger Stadium. The Los Angeles Dodgers clubbed eight homers in a 12-5 win over the Zack Greinke and the Arizona Diamondbacks. Joc Pederson kicked off the home run derby with a two-run shot in the bottom of the second. Then Kike Hernandez, Austin Barnes, and Corey Seager joined in the fun in the fourth.
May 4th: Unlikely Slam in the Friendly Confines
There weren’t many bright spots during the 2019 Chicago Cubs campaign. However, one of the most memorable moments happened on a Saturday in early May.
Chicago had fallen behind 5-1 to the eventual Central-winning St. Louis Cardinals. Nevertheless, back-to-back singles in the fourth inning gave the Cubs faithful hope. With runners at second and third after a sac bunt, the Cardinals opted to re-establish the potential double play and walk the powerful Kyle Schwarber. The bases are now loaded.
In stepped Taylor Davis, who hit .167 in 18 at-bats in 2019. The odds favor Davis hitting into an inning-ending double play and St. Louis heading to the fifth with their lead intact. Yet, Davis instead crushes a grand slam to left-center. As a result, the Cubs tied the game and would go on to win by a 6-5 score.
May 18th: Freddie Freeman Ignites Braves Run to the Playoffs
On May 17th, the Atlanta Braves were a game and a half behind in the NL East and were coming off a series against the Cardinals. They won two of three against the Cardinals to get back above .500, giving them a record of 23-21. Next up for Atlanta was the Milwaukee Brewers.
The Bravos took the opener 12-8 and led 3-2 as the following game headed to the ninth inning. With two men on and one out, Brewers outfielder Lorenzo Cain doubled off of Atlanta closer Luke Jackson to tie the game at three runs apiece.
The game would head to extra innings, and in the bottom of the 10th, the Brewers sent reigning NL Reliever of the Year Josh Hader for his second inning of work. In stepped Freddie Freeman for the Braves. On the second pitch of the at-bat, Freeman crushed a homer to deep right field to give the Braves the 4-3 win.
From that win to the end of June, Atlanta would go 25-14, take the lead in the NL East, and retain that lead until the end of the season.
July 3rd: The Dodgers Walk off the Diamondbacks, Again
The Dodgers walked off a dozen times in 2019. One of the more memorable ones occurred on the eve of Independence Day. In the bottom of the 9th, Los Angeles trailed Arizona by a 4-3 score. With a runner on second and nobody out, rookie Matt Beaty hit the game-tying single off of closer Greg Holland.
The game went to extras, where Joe Kelly threw a flawless top of the 10th. As a result, Dodger outfielder Cody Bellinger got an opportunity to show why he’s one of the favorites for NL MVP. He hit a walk-off bomb to center, giving LA their second walk-off win in as many days. Oddly enough, both were by a 5-4 final score.
Also, the back-to-back walk-offs in their sweep of the Diamondbacks gave the Dodgers consecutive wins in their final at-bat for the second time in 2019. All season, Los Angeles had three series where they walked-off their opponent on consecutive days.
July 12th: This One’s for Tyler
On July 12th, the team returned to LA for the first time since Skaggs’ tragic death to open up a series with the Seattle Mariners. Taylor Cole took the mound for Los Angeles and, like his teammates around him, donned Skaggs’ 45 on the back of his jersey.
Cole retired the first six Mariners in order. Then Felix Pena came out of the bullpen. Pena would pitch the final seven innings of the ballgame, walking just one and striking out six Mariners. He induced a ground ball from Mallex Smith to complete the no-hitter.
On the other side, the Angels bats showed up as well. They scored 13 runs in the eventual victory. After the win, the Angels placed their jerseys around the 45 that was etched in the Angel Stadium mound. It was to honor Skaggs, they did it for him.
August 10th: Reds Rookie Ties Record
There were many times in 2019 where rookies took center stage. One of these moments was August 10th in Cincinnati. Cincinnati Reds rookie Aristides Aquino was starting in right field for the Reds against the Cubs.
In the second inning, Aquino took Kyle Hendricks deep for a solo home run. Three more Reds would reach base that inning. As a result, Aquino came up to bat in the third frame. Just like the first at-bat, Aquino homered again.
Cubs reliever Dillon Maples would be on the bump for the fourth inning when the rookie next stepped to the plate. Nevertheless, the result was the same. Aquino homered again.
As a result, his performance allowed him to tie the record for most homers by a rookie in their first 10 MLB games.
August 17th: Brewers Win Marathon NL Wild Card Preview
One of the longest games this season featured two teams that would later play each other in the National League Wild Card Game. The Brewers were in the nation’s capital to play the Washington Nationals second of a three-game set in the nation’s capital.
In the third inning, Milwaukee charged ahead to a 5-0 lead. The outburst was powered by rookie Keston Hiura, who doubled in two runs. Nevertheless, Washington rallied to tie things up with a pair of multi-run homers in the third and fourth inning.
Not surprisingly, the home runs weren’t done. A solo shot from Ryan Braun and a two-run shot from Trent Grisham put the Brew Crew up 8-5 heading to the bottom of the sixth. It was in that frame that a double from Victor Robles and a three-run bomb from Trea Turner put the Nationals up for the first time, giving them a 9-8 lead.
An inning later, Howie Kendrick left the yard to give Washington an 11-8 advantage. However, Milwaukee wasn’t finished. In their final scheduled at-bat, the Brewers clubbed three home runs. Christian Yelich and Ryan Braun both hit solo homers, while Mike Moustakas hit a two-run shot. The effort gave Milwaukee a 12-11 lead.
Nevertheless, the Nationals would tie things up in the bottom of the ninth with an RBI single from Victor Robles. The slugfest would continue in extras, as each team traded a run in the 13th inning. It was not until Eric Thames‘ two-run blast in the 14th that the Brewers took the lead for good. A game that took five hours and 40 minutes to complete saw Milwaukee come out on top 15-13.
September 1st: Verlander Turns Back the Clock
Houston Astros ace Justin Verlander is no stranger to no-hitters. Heading into his 2019, he had two. His first came in 2007 against the Brewers at Comerica Park. His second came against the Toronto Blue Jays north of the border. On September 1st, he faced those same Blue Jays. Again, the game was played in Canada.
In the first inning, Verlander would face his only traffic of the day. He issued a one-out walk to Cavan Biggio. The Houston right-hander would go on to pitch as close to a perfect game as one could pitch. He retired the next 26 batters in order, striking out 14 Blue Jays. For comparison, in Verlander’s first no-hitter against Toronto, he again allowed a walk, but only struck out four batters.
However, it wasn’t until the ninth inning, via a two-run shot from Abraham Toro, that the Astros were able to capture the lead. A pair of groundouts and a strikeout completed the third no-hitter for Verlander.
September 17th-18th: Yastrzemski Returns to Fenway
When the San Francisco Giants came to Boston to face the Boston Red Sox, it meant that for the first time in thirty-six years, a Yastrzemski would patrol the outfield at Fenway Park. Mike Yastrzemski, the grandson of longtime Red Sox outfielder Carl Yastrzemski, was called up to San Francisco in late-May. His bat was a key contributor in getting the Giants back into the playoff picture. As a result, the late-September between the Giants and Red Sox contained a couple of memorable Yastrzemski moments.
First, on September 17th, Mike hit a home run off of Nate Eovaldi in just his second at-bat at Fenway Park. The following night, Carl shared a hug with Mike before throwing out the ceremonial first pitch to his grandson.
In summary, the younger Yastrzemski went 4-13, with a homer and two RBI during the series.
September 27th: Michael Lorenzen Does It All
When it comes to pitchers who can swing the bat, Reds hurler Michael Lorenzen is one of the best. In 132 career at-bats, Lorenzen is hitting .235 with seven homers and knocking in 24 runs. During the 2019 season, Lorenzen hit .208 with a homer and knocking in six runs.
As a result, the Reds righty earned himself a spot in the outfield, making 29 appearances. One of those games was September 27th against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Lorenzen started in centerfield and played the first six innings in the outfield.
In the seventh, he came on in relief and worked around a two-out hit batsman to keep the contest tied at four runs apiece. During the top of the eight, his spot came up in the batting order and he delivered, poking a ground ball up the middle to score a run and put the Reds up 5-4.
Despite Lorenzen’s efforts, the Reds would lose on a walk-off two-run shot in the bottom of the ninth.
Those were just 10 of the many memorable moments from the 2019 regular season. Nevertheless, a just as memorable postseason is all baseball fans can place their hopes on.