Thursday, April 23, 2009

A leadoff homer that stands? Not that uncommon

Home runs by the first batter in the first inning are not all that unusual.

Heck, Gerald Williams homered for the then-Devil Rays on the first pitch of the 2000 season.

But a leadoff home run that stands in a 1-0 win?

Rare. But not as rare as you might think.

It has happened 22 times in baseball history, the most recent Thursday in Seattle when Ichiro Suzuki took James Shields deep for the lone run in the Mariners 1-0 victory against the Rays.

That info comes from David Vincent of the Society of American Baseball Research.

Stats Inc. did a little digging and found Ichiro's dinger was the first of its kind since Alfonso Soriano went yard against the Pirates in a 1-0 win May 9, 2007. Before that, it was Kaz Matsui of the Mets who beat the Diamondbacks May 12, 2004.

It's actually happened once before in Mariners history. Greg Briley beat the Twins with one swing July 19, 1992.

As former Rays manager and current Cubs skipper Lou Piniella would say, "How about that?"

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