1 of 16Win McNamee/Getty Images, Rob Carr/Getty Images
Bryce Harper's great start
Bryce Harper got the 2013 season off on the right foot, literally, using his signature front-foot swing to blast a solo home run off the Marlins' Ricky Nolasco on the second pitch he saw this season in the bottom of the first inning on Opening Day. Harper homered off Nolasco again in the third inning to become the first player to hit two home runs on Opening Day since 2011 and the first to homer in his first two at-bats on Opening Day since Garrett Jones in 2010.
2 of 16Bob Levey/Getty Images
Yu Darvish is almost perfect
It took three months for the 2013 season to produce its first no-hitter, but many pitchers came close. There were five one-hitters in the season's first two months. Not among those was one of the season's most dominating performances, Yu Darvish's outing against the Astros on April 2, in the Rangers' second game of the season. Darvish retired the first 26 Houston hitters he faced that night, striking out 14 of them, before shortstop Marwin Gonzalez poked a single through Darvish's legs to break up the perfect game and end Darvish's night. The Rangers righty became the 11th man ever to lose a perfect game with one out to go. The Astros picked up a second hit after Darvish departed and lost 7-0.
3 of 16Rob Carr/Getty Images
A sign of things to come
Chris Davis entered the All-Star break with 37 home runs, on a pace for 62. That may have been unexpected, but it didn't sneak up on anybody. Davis tied a record by hitting four home runs in the Orioles' first four games of the season, the last a tie-breaking grand slam in the bottom of the eighth inning off the Twins' Tyler Robertson on April 5. That slam gave Davis 16 RBIs in those first four games, which set a record.
4 of 16Lenny Ignelz, Mark J. Terrill/AP; Stephen Dunn/Getty Images
The fightin' Dodgers
The 2013 season has seen a number of brawls, two of note involving Dodgers pitcher Zack Greinke. In the first fight, on April 11, Greinke hit the Padres' Carlos Quentin with a pitch, then suffered a broken collarbone when Quentin charged the mound and slammed into the pitcher. Greinke returned in mid-May and on June 11 he was at the center of another brawl, when he was himself hit by the Diamondbacks' Ian Kennedy, leading to a melee that led to six players being suspended.
5 of 16Mark Cunningham/MLB Photos via Getty Images
Tigers pitcher Anibal Sanchez set a franchise record against the Braves on 26, striking out 17 over eight innings in a 10-0 win. Sanchez , who had signed a five-year, $80 million contract with Detroit in the offseason, became just the fourth pitcher to strike out that many batters in a game in the past decade.
6 of 16Nick Laham/Getty Images
Matt Harvey puts on a show
Mets sophomore Matt Harvey quickly established himself as one of the best pitchers in baseball in April, but his crowning achievement came in his first start in May, when he allowed just one member of the White Sox to reach base in nine innings while striking out 12. Chicago's lone baserunner was Alex Rios, who beat out an infield single to shortstop by less than a full step. Remarkably, Harvey didn't get a shutout, complete game or even a win for his efforts, as the Mets didn't score until the bottom of the 10th.
7 of 16Jason Miller/Getty Images
Blown call fiasco
Umpires have come under scrutiny for a number of blown calls this year, most especially on back-to-back nights in early May. On the 8th, Oakland's Adam Rosales hit what appeared to be a game-tying home run in the ninth inning in Cleveland but it was ruled a double both initially on the field and then upheld even after the umpires looked at instant replay. The A's lost three batters later.
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Umpires blow it . . . again
The next night in Houston, the Astros were allowed to make an illegal pitching change that sent Angels manager Mike Scioscia into a rage. Neither call was overturned but MLB admitted both calls were incorrect, and the umpiring crew from the latter game was fined while crew chief Fieldin Culbreth was suspended for two games.
9 of 16Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
Pagan's inside-the park walk-off
Walk-off home runs are rare enough but a walk-off inside-the-park home run hadn't happened in nine years -- until the Giants' Angel Pagan did it on May 25 in San Francisco. Even more impressively, Pagan's game-winner against the Rockies came in the 10th inning of a game the Giants trailed 5-4 and scored both the tying and winning runs.
10 of 16Mike McGinnis/Getty Images, Duane Burleson/Getty Images
Six-pack for Segura and Rios
No player in the majors got six hits in a game in 2010, 2011 or 2012 but it happened twice in the first half of the 2013 season. On May 28, Milwaukee's Jean Segura went 6-for-7 -- all singles -- in a 14-inning loss to the Twins on May 28. On July 9, the White Sox' Alex Rios went 6-for-6 (five singles and a triple) in a win over the Tigers.
11 of 16Brian Kersey/Getty Images, Jonathan Newton/The Washington Post/Getty Images
Three homers, two men, one day
By the All-Star break, four players -- Miguel Cabrera, Will Middlebrooks, Dioner Navarro and Ryan Zimmerman -- had each hit three home runs in a game, but Navarro and Zimmerman pulled the trick on the same day. Navarro hit his trio to help the Cubs beat the White Sox at Wrigley Field while Zimmerman's blasts weren't enough to help the Nationals, who lost to the Orioles. It was just the second time since 2006 that two players each hit three homers on the same day.
12 of 16Harry How/Getty Images
Yasiel Puig's dazzling debut
Few players have entered the MLB with as much force as the Dodgers' Yasiel Puig. In his debut on June 3, Puig went 2-for-4 and ended the game by first catching a ball near the warning track and then throwing out a Padres runner trying to retreat to first base for a double play. Puig then had three hits in his second game and a grand slam in his fourth game, en route to the most hits by a player in his first month since Joe DiMaggio in 1936.
13 of 16Andy Marlin/AM Photography/Getty Images
Extra inning madness
June 8, 2013 was just the second day in major league history in which two games went 18 innings and the first in which one of those games went longer (the Mets and Marlins played 20). That highlighted a first half in which extra-inning games were occurring at a record pace. June was the first month since May 1973 in which there were three games of at least 18 innings, and there have been four games of that length this season among 150 total extra-inning games. That projects to 258 extra-inning games over the entire season. The record is 237, set in 2011.
14 of 16Al Behrman/AP
Homer Bailey's no-hitter, take two
There had been five no-hitters in the 2012 season by the time the calendar flipped to July 2, but when the sun rose on that date this year, the last no-hitter in the major leagues was the one Homer Bailey had thrown against the Pirates the previous September. Bailey ended that drought himself that night, allowing just one seventh-inning walk to the Giants while striking out nine in Cincinnati. With that, Bailey became the first man since Nolan Ryan in 1975 to have thrown the major leagues' last two no-hitters and just the 26th pitcher in the modern era to have thrown more than one no-hitter.
15 of 16Denis Poroy/Getty Images
Tim Lincecum's no-hitter
The opposing pitcher in Bailey's no-hitter was Lincecum, whose 2012 struggles continued into the 2013 season. That made it all the more intriguing when Lincecum took a no-hitter into the late innings of the Giants' July 13 game against the Padres. Using a devastating mix of offspeed pitches to obtain a career-best 29 swings and misses, Lincecum used up a lot of pitches early, but just kept going until he got Yonder Alonso to fly out to left on his 148th pitch, the most thrown by any pitcher since Edwin Jackson's no-hitter in 2010. Lincecum's no-hitter was the first of his career and the first in the history of pitching-friendly Petco Park.
16 of 16Chuck Solomon/SI
Mo's last All-Star Game
In his 13th and final All-Star Game, baseball's all-time saves leader, Mariano Rivera, took his cue from Metallica's "Enter Sandman" and jogged on to a conspicuously empty field in the 8th inning. His American League teammates had delayed taking the field so the 43-year-old Rivera, who is retiring at year's end, could enjoy a prolonged and deserved standing ovation from 45,186 fans and nearly six-dozen of his playing peers at Citi Field. Although he didn't close the game, Rivera did pitch a perfect 8th inning and took home MVP honors after the AL's 3-0 win.
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