MLB's Most Unforgettable Moments of April

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MLB's Most Unforgettable Moments of April
Jamie Squire/Getty Images
Some of April's most memorable moments happened on the season's very first day.

Well, that was quick.

One month of the 2013 Major League Baseball season is already in the books.

So what are the moments we'll remember from April? You can probably think of a few yourself, but let's see if we can collect the most memorable in one place—right here.

Where to start? With Opening Day, of course.

 

OPENING DAY

Kershaw Does It All

It was fun to watch arguably baseball's best pitcher at his very best on the very first day of the new season. In the Dodgers' opening game on April 1, ace left-hander Clayton Kershaw beat the AL West rival Giants by himself—literally.

Not only did Kershaw toss a four-hit shutout, he also hit his first career home run to break a scoreless tie in the bottom of the eighth inning, making him the first pitcher to throw a shutout and homer on Opening Day since Bob Lemon did so for the Indians on April 14, 1953.

It's hard to do any better than that.

 

Harper Hits a Pair

While Kershaw's effort was the highlight of baseball's Opening Day, Bryce Harper's was a pretty close second.

The 20-year-old reigning NL Rookie of the Year blasted a pair of four-baggers—on his first two plate appearances of the year—to account for both runs in the Nationals' win.

 

PITCHING

Almost Perfect

Yu Darvish entered 2013 as one of the top candidates to win the AL Cy Young Award, and he got started right away.

In his very first outing of the year, the Rangers' right-hander absolutely dominated the Astros, piling up 14 strikeouts and mowing them down in order with an array of fastballs, curves and sliders that were unhittable. When it came time to get out No. 27, though, this happened:

And so Marwin Gonzalez will be the answer to a trivia question for eternity, while Darvish will have to settle for one of the best—and most heartbreaking—near-perfect games of all time.

 

Don't You Forget About Me—Er, Us

While Darvish's almost-perfect play remains 2013's best pitching performance, we also witnessed the Tigers' Anibal Sanchez whiffing a franchise-record 17 against the Braves on April 26 and Clay Buchholz of the Red Sox carrying a no-hitter through seven frames on April 14.

There was also the epic Felix Hernandez-Max Scherzer showdown on April 17 in which both the Mariners' ace and the Tigers' right-hander racked up a dozen K's each along the way to an extra-inning contest that finished with 40 total strikeouts.

Afterwards, Scherzer had this to say about the duel, per MLB.com's Jason Beck:

I knew going in Felix was going to bring his game. He always seems to find a way to pitch his best games against the best lineups, so I just knew going in tonight I was going to have to bring my 'A' game if we were going to have a shot to win.

 

HITTING

Upton Times Two

Justin Upton destroyed the baseball throughout the first month, compiling an MLB-best 12 homers.

His 11th long ball on April 23 was particularly historic. Not only did the home run help the Braves sweep a doubleheader at Coors Field, but it also set a franchise record for most homers in April and also followed a homer by brother B.J. Upton.

It looked like this:

The B.J.-Justin combo marked just the second time ever that brothers hit consecutive homers in an MLB game—which last happened 75 years ago. The only other duo to do so? Hall of Famers Lloyd and Paul Waner, who went back-to-back for the Pirates on Sept. 15, 1938.

"It's always cool when you can see him have success before you and then you go and do the same thing," little bro Justin told MLB.com's Owen Perkins.

 

Middlebrooks Times Three

Three other noteworthy homers came on April 7, and all of them came off the bat of the Red Sox's Will Middlebrooks.

 

That's My Boy!

While Middlebrooks had reached the seats in a big league game before, Braves rookie Evan Gattis—who has one of the most unique career paths around—hit his first career home run in the second at-bat of his first-ever MLB game on April 3, all while his father was being interviewed on air.

 

WALK-OFFS

Just in Time

Had the Athletics-Angels extra-inning game on April 29 gone much longer, it would have been eligible for the most memorable moments of May, not April.

As the game dragged on and on (...and on), everyone pretty much just wanted it to be over. Consider this tweet by Los Angeles Times Angels beat reporter Mike DiGiovanna from 1:28 a.m. PT:

Then came this beaut from A's reliever Sean Doolittle:

When the end finally came—in the bottom of the 19th inning—the A's won what proved to be the longest game in both teams' histories going by the clock (six hours and 32 minutes) when Brandon Moss smashed a two-run walk-off homer.

"That was a crazy game," said Moss, who celebrated by pieing himself in the face while on air. "And I'm glad it's over."

 

Going Out in Grand Style

April also gave us a couple of 10th-inning walk-off grand slams, adding a little bit of extra flair to the end-game ceremonies for the Orioles (who defeated the Rays on April 18) and the Mets (who beat the Dodgers on April 24), courtesy of Matt Wieters and Jordany Valdespin, respectively.

 

FIELDING/BASERUNNING

A Revered Catch

On April 15, MLB's Jackie Robinson Day, Phillies center fielder Ben Revere made the catch of the young season so far, ranging well into the right-center field gap to track down a drive by Todd Frazier of the Reds. At that point, Revere leaped and snared the ball at the very highest point of his dive.

He then quickly got up and threw the ball back into the infield to double up Jay Bruce, who took off running as any player would have, given the location and trajectory of the ball off the bat.

Here's a look at the play in full:

 

That's Not a Phone Number

Three outs on one play doesn't happen all that often in baseball, but on April 12, the Yankees turned the trick.

Their triple play against the Orioles marked the first of its kind in MLB history, with the seven-digit rundown (4-6-5-6-5-3-4) looking like something that should be typed into a phone before pushing "send."

As third baseman Kevin Youkilis, who was a part of the play, told MLB.com's Paul Casella"It's one of those things where it's a job and it's a grind at times, but when stuff like that happens, you feel like you're back playing Little League again."

 

Who Said You Can't Steal First Base?

Speaking of confusing, we can't even begin to explain what was going on inside the head of Brewers shortstop Jean Segura during his blunderiffic journey on the bases on April 19. Don't try to make sense of it, just watch and enjoy:

 

EMOTIONS

Back to Baseball in Boston

When tragedy struck on Patriots Day, baseball obviously took a backseat in Boston, but when the Red Sox resumed, they had this to say:

The Sox's win in the April 20 return to Fenway Park was a small dose of get-well-soon for a city expecting to bounce back.

 

A History Leads to Violence

As much bad blood as there had been leading up to the April 11 matchup between Dodgers right-hander Zack Greinke and Padres outfielder Carlos Quentin—both of whom previously spent several seasons in the AL Central—no one expected it would spill over and lead to a melee.

When the dust settled, Greinke had suffered a broken left collarbone that still has him sidelined, while Quentin was suspended for eight games.

 

WEATHER

Snow Days

April can be a tricky month when it comes to weather—especially for baseball, which gets postponed when it rains. While rainouts are fairly frequent, it's not often that we get a snowout, which is what happened when the Mets traveled to Denver to take on the Rockies from April 15-18.

Because of the amount of snow on the field, the Monday contest turned into a doubleheader on Tuesday, which the Rockies swept. Game-time temperatures that day? Try mid-to-high 30s.

But that wasn't all. Wednesday's outing was also pushed back due to the cold, white, frozen stuff, and when the teams took the field Thursday to play the third game of what was supposed to be a four-game series, the thermometer read 28 degrees—tying the lowest in franchise history at home.

The Rockies won all three games and wound up finishing the month in first place in the NL West, making them the biggest surprise of April, much to the delight of their fans—including the guy in the video to the right and his buddy Frosty.

Okay May, your turn.

 

All video footage courtesy of MLB's official YouTube channel.

What was your favorite April moment? Did we leave one out? Let's hear it below or let me know on Twitter: @JayCat11

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