Esteban Yan and Mark Williamson come up big in relief

Did you know there was a game where (former Oriole) Esteban Yan pitched 5 perfect innings?  It was April 13, 1998 and Yan was pitching for the Devil Rays against the Twins.  Crazy game, featuring 3 blown saves (2 by the Twins, and one by the Debblerays) and ending with Tampa winning 13-12 behind Yan’s perfect 5.  Hat tip to Stat of the Day for the link to this game, and to the Orioles-Royals game of April 12, 1989, in which the O’s Mark Williamson also pitched 5 innings of perfect relief — but got a blown save!  How?  He came in in the bottom of the ninth, bases loaded with one out, Orioles up 4-3, and gave up the game-tying RBI GIDP to Danny Tartabull.  Then mowed down Royals far into the night.  Meanwhile, Tom Gordon, in his rookie season for the Royals, threw 6 2/3 relief innings, allowing no runs and striking out 10.  He had a great year, good for second in the AL Rookie in the Year voting.  Ken Griffey, Jr. was third.  The winner?  The Orioles’ Gregg Olson.  I’d totally forgotten he won RoY.  He won this game, too, getting Bob Boone to ground out with runners on the corners and two outs in the bottom of the 15th.

Mark Williamson played his entire career, 8 seasons, with the Orioles.  Will he be the last serious player not named Ripken to do so?

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3 thoughts on “Esteban Yan and Mark Williamson come up big in relief

  1. Dave says:

    For the run to count, that GIDP would have had to be with none out (unless it was an unusual double play), wouldn’t it?

  2. JSE says:

    You’re right — I thought it was some kind of crazy play but in fact I just read the Retrosheet wrong. The DP made outs 1 and 2, and then Pat Tabler grounded out to end the inning.

    So Williamson faced 14 batters in 5 innings of work. I wonder what’s the all time maximum for “3*#innings – batters faced” in a single appearance?

  3. Dave says:

    I’m trying to imagine how 3*#innings – batters faced could be larger than 3. If a pitcher starts an inning, then they need to face at least k batters to record k outs, so I think the defect can only come from an inning where a pitcher enters the game in relief. A defect of 2 has surely happened (enter the game with 2 on and none out, and the first batter hits into a triple play), but a defect of 3 seems far-fetched. (Enter the game with the bases loaded and none out, and pick off or catch stealing all three runners before retiring the first batter?)

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