The San Francisco Giants won World Series titles in 2010 and 2012 before missing out on the postseason a year ago. On Wednesday they returned in a big way with an 8-0 road win against the Pittsburgh Pirates for the National League wild card. The Pirates were playing in back-to-back postseasons after a 21-year playoff drought, but this time they barely put up a fight.
Madison Bumgarner was dominant on the mound, pitching a complete game with 10 strikeouts. Brandon Crawford took the home crowd out of the game early when he hit a grand slam in the top of the fourth. The Giants outhit the Pirates 11-4 and looked every bit ready for baseball in October.
It’s hard enough for players to hit for the cycle at least once in their Major League Baseball careers, never mind becoming just one of three big-leaguers ever to do so in both the American and National leagues. What makes the only cycle of the 2014 season so interesting is the familiarity involving a couple players and a pair of games.
While with the Brewers on May 22, 2009, Parra gave up three of the hits Cuddyer would need for his first cycle (while with the Minnesota Twins) before going on to finish it off at the Metrodome with a triple off of Jorge Julio, who had played for the Rockies two years earlier.
The Colorado Rockies were on the wrong end of a historic night Wednesday. Clayton Kershaw struck out a career-high 15 batters for the Los Angeles Dodgers to record the first no-hitter of his career in an 8-0 win.
Kershaw, who didn’t allow a walk but missed out on a perfect game on a throwing error in the seventh by Hanley Ramirez, celebrated the second no-hitter thrown by a Dodger this season with teammates as they rushed the field afterwards. Josh Beckett no-hit the Philadelphia Phillies on May 25 in a game that also ended in an 8-0 Los Angeles win. Beckett struck out six in that game.
It’s the sixth no-hitter thrown in the National League over the past two years. Three no-hitters were tossed in the NL in 2012, which is the last time the American League had a no-hitter when four were thrown in the AL that season.