Home runs leading off baseball games aren't all that rare an occurrence in Major League Baseball. However, the one hit by Gerardo Parra on Saturday night is rare for a couple different reasons that just so happened to come together on the same night.
1. It came on the very first pitch of the game from Tom Koehler.
Again, in and of itself, not all that unusual, but wait for part two.
2. It held up as the only run scored in the entire baseball game.
That means the Arizona Diamondbacks and Miami Marlins played a complete nine-inning game, and all of the offense came on the first of 236 pitches. According to Elias (via ESPN Stats), the last time a baseball game followed that exact script was all the back on Sept. 2, 1963.
The hitter that day? None other than Pete Rose, as the Cincinnati Reds knocked off the Mets 1-0 in Game 2 of a doubleheader.
That's pretty remarkable when you think about it, but if you're to believe Parra, that may have been the way hitting coach Don Baylor had it drawn up all afternoon.
[Related: Rays snap Orioles' leading-after-seven streak at 109 games]
From the Associated Press:
Parra's home run to right-center field came on the first pitch from Tom Koehler (0-2) on Saturday. It was Parra's third career leadoff home run and it came on the advice of batting coach Don Baylor.
''I talked to him before the game and he said, 'Just swing first pitch' and he was right,'' Parra said. ''He's got more experience than me.
Of course the game wasn't without other close calls offensively. In fact, the closest one came in the bottom half of the first inning when Chris Coghlan singled to right field and Derek Dietrich attempted to score from second. Gerardo Parra took care of that problem, too, recording his sixth assist of the season to end Miami's one and only true threat to break the shutout.
''The throw there, we've seen it a lot,'' manager Kirk Gibson said. ''It's unreal how good he is and how accurate and strong his arm is. It was a big play for us.''
For the record, the winning pitching back in 1963 was Jim Maloney. He went the distance to notch his 20th victory of the season.
On Saturday, the winning pitcher was Brandon McCarthy, which is also a noteworthy story. He needed only 100 pitches to complete the three-hit shutout — third of his career — and earn his first victory since suffering a skull fracture on the mound last September.
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