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On The Diamond: All On The Line Wager

Sixty games might feel like too many for Pittsburgh Pirates fans this season. The Pirates lost 11 times in their first 14 games, crushing their already-tiny postseason odds, and things somehow got worse Saturday afternoon against the Tigers (GameTracker).

Pirates lefty Derek Holland opened Saturday’s game by allowing four home runs to the first five batters he faced. It took 11 pitches. The game started homer (Niko Goodrum), single (Jonathan Schoop), homer (Miguel Cabrera), homer (C.J. Cron), homer (Jeimer Candelario).  

According to’s Sarah Langs, Saturday is the first time the Tigers hit four home runs in the first inning since July 29, 1974. Al Kaline, Bill Freehan, Mickey Stanley, and Ed Brinkman took Cleveland’s Fritz Peterson and Steve Kline deep in the first inning that day. Langs adds Saturday is the first time ever the Pirates allowed four homers in the first inning.

Holland allowed a home run to JaCoby Jones later in the game and was inches away from becoming the tenth pitcher in history to allow six home runs in a game when Schoop banged a double off the top of the right field wall. Holland is the first pitcher to allow five homers in a game since his current teammate Steven Brault allowed five in only 2 2/3 innings against the Cubs last September.

Here, for posterity, are how Holland’s first 11 pitches went Saturday afternoon:

  1. Ball
  2. Home run
  3. Foul
  4. Single
  5. Strike looking
  6. Foul
  7. Home run
  8. Strike looking
  9. Strike looking
  10. Home run
  11. Home run

Rough. The Tigers were power-starved last season despite the juiced ball, hitting only 149 home runs, the fewest in the American League and better than only the Marlins (146). The since-released Brandon Dixon led Detroit with 15 home runs in 2019.

Holland, 33, allowed six runs but only one home run in 11 1/3 innings in his first two starts this season. He surrendered 20 home runs in only 84 1/3 innings with the Giants and Cubs last year, or 2.13 homers per nine innings. Saturday’s game is the first time he allowed four homers in a game in his 12-year career.


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