One Pitch Victories

I didn’t even look at the boxscore after watching game 7, so I didn’t even know ’til I read How to get credited with a win while not making it out of the fifth inning, that Madison Bumgarner didn’t get credit for the W. I assumed he would, ’cause, honestly, he pitched most of the game for San Francisco and pitched brilliantly on just a couple days rest.

This makes for a silly sounding trivia question — what does Madison Bumgarner, Joaquin Benoit, and Blas Minor, have in common?

They are the only pitchers since the 1980’s to have a save of 5+ innings long.

Madison Bumgarner. 5 innings, 0 ER. October 29, 2014. I don’t think I need to say much about this, ’cause you probably just watched it a couple nights ago. Thing is, Jeremy Affeldt pitched well, but, when you’ve got a pitcher who throws a shutout for more than half the game, it seems like he was more crucial to the victory than any other pitcher, don’t ya think?

Joaquin Benoit. 7 innings, 1 ER. September 3, 2002. The Rangers starter, Aaron Myette, was replaced during the 1st batter he faced. So obviously there was an injury of some sort. His replacement, Todd Van Poppel, and he hadn’t pitched more than 3 innings in any game all year. He threw 2 innings in this game, and ended up with the pitcher victory, probably because his offense gave him a lead.

Like Bumgarner, Benoit was a starter at this point in his career. In fact, he wouldn’t get credited with another save for over 4 years. So it really looks like manager Jerry Narron was just replacing his starter, but needed somebody else to pitch while his 2nd starter took time to warm up. If only the offense had waited another couple innings to get the lead, then maybe Benoit would’ve been given the big phat W.

Blas Minor. 5 innings, 0 ER. June 19, 1993. The official scorer gave the pitcher win to Freddie Tolivar, who only threw 3 pitches to 1 batter in the 4th. Yeah, seriously. If only Minor had started the game, he’d have gotten the win ’cause he went 5 innings. Or, if only Minor had been in the game for 1 batter, he could’ve gotten it too. Holdin’ down the fort for the first 5 innings, or for 1 batter, is apparently much more win worthy than holdin’ down the fort for the last half of the game. Don’t feel too bad for Minor though, ’cause he beat the Giants on only 2 pitches a couple months earlier.

The Blas Minor situation got me thinking. How many times has this happened? How many times has a pitcher been credited with the victory when they threw only 2 pitches? I would’ve guessed maybe 5 or 10 times, but a quick search on Baseball-Reference’s Play Index, shows that from the start of 1988 (when reliable pitch count data starts), there’s been 176 cases of a pitcher tossing just 2 pitches and getting the W. In almost all of these cases (165 of them), both pitches were to the same batter. It happened 6 times in this past season alone. Which leads us to an even more obvious question —

Has anyone ever gotten credited with a pitcher win, when they only threw 1 pitch during the game? Yep. 122 times from 1988-2014.

Rk Player Date Tm Opp Rslt App,Dec Pit
1 Zach Duke 2014-09-20 MIL PIT W 1-0 8-8, W 1
2 Matt Belisle 2014-08-10 COL ARI W 5-3 9-9, W 1
3 Ryan Pressly 2014-08-02 MIN CHW W 8-6 7-7, W 1
4 Darin Downs 2014-07-22 HOU OAK W 3-2 11-11, W 1
5 Randy Choate 2014-06-14 STL WSN W 4-1 7-7, W 1
6 Daniel Webb 2014-04-15 CHW BOS W 2-1 9-9f, W 1
7 Tony Sipp 2013-06-10 ARI LAD W 5-4 8-8, W 1
8 Sergio Romo 2013-04-22 SFG ARI W 5-4 9-9f, W 1
9 Matt Guerrier 2013-04-11 LAD SDP W 3-2 7-7, W 1
10 Luke Gregerson 2013-04-09 SDP LAD W 9-3 7-7, W 1
11 Nate Jones 2012-08-25 CHW SEA W 5-4 6-6, W 1
12 Bryan Shaw 2012-05-27 ARI MIL W 4-3 6-6, W 1
13 Brad Ziegler 2012-05-17 ARI COL W 9-7 8-8, W 1
14 Joe Smith 2012-05-14 CLE MIN W 5-4 8-8, W 1
15 Jeff Gray 2012-04-11 MIN LAA W 6-5 7-7, W 1
16 David Robertson 2011-09-21 (2) NYY TBR W 4-2 8-8, W 1
17 Kyle McClellan 2011-09-13 STL PIT W 6-4 8-8, W 1
18 Tony Watson 2011-09-07 PIT HOU W 5-4 8-8, W 1
19 Pedro Beato 2011-07-08 NYM SFG W 5-2 8-8, W 1
20 Mark Lowe 2011-05-15 TEX LAA W 5-4 8-8, W 1
21 Jorge Sosa 2010-05-31 FLA MIL W 13-5 6-6, W 1
22 Bobby Seay 2009-09-14 DET TOR W 6-5 10-10f, W 1
23 David Robertson 2009-06-04 NYY TEX W 8-6 8-8, W 1
24 Jason Motte 2009-04-21 STL NYM W 6-4 8-8, W 1
25 Edward Mujica 2009-04-13 SDP NYM W 6-5 5-5, W 1
26 Brian Shouse 2008-09-05 MIL SDP W 3-2 11-11f, W 1
27 Joe Beimel 2008-08-17 LAD MIL W 7-5 9-9f, W 1
28 David Robertson 2008-07-22 NYY MIN W 8-2 6-6, W 1
29 Dennys Reyes 2008-06-24 MIN SDP W 3-1 8-8, W 1
30 Royce Ring 2008-05-04 ATL CIN W 14-7 5-5, W 1
31 Brian Shouse 2008-05-01 MIL CHC W 4-3 8-8, W 1
32 Joe Beimel 2008-05-01 LAD FLA W 5-3 8-8, W 1
33 Javier Lopez 2008-04-19 BOS TEX W 5-3 8-8, W 1
34 Brian Shouse 2008-04-17 MIL STL W 5-3 9-9, W 1
35 Jorge Sosa 2008-04-10 NYM PHI W 4-3 12-12f, W 1
36 Bill Bray 2007-08-19 CIN MIL W 7-6 7-7, W 1
37 Zach Miner 2007-08-06 DET TBD W 6-4 7-7, W 1
38 Ray King 2007-08-05 WSN STL W 6-3 8-8, W 1
39 Luis Vizcaino 2007-07-15 NYY TBD W 7-6 7-7, W 1
40 Ryan Bukvich 2007-06-30 CHW KCR W 3-1 9-9, W 1
41 Eric O’Flaherty 2007-06-08 SEA SDP W 6-5 10-10, W 1
42 Aaron Heilman 2007-05-14 NYM CHC W 5-4 9-9f, W 1
43 Chad Paronto 2007-05-06 ATL LAD W 6-4 7-7, W 1
44 Macay McBride 2007-04-04 ATL PHI W 3-2 10-10, W 1
45 Manny Corpas 2006-09-07 COL WSN W 10-5 8-8, W 1
46 Jason Grilli 2006-08-30 (2) DET NYY W 5-3 8-8, W 1
47 Jonathan Broxton 2006-08-26 LAD ARI W 4-3 8-8, W 1
48 Chad Paronto 2006-08-13 ATL MIL W 7-4 7-7, W 1
49 Jeremy Affeldt 2006-07-05 KCR MIN W 6-3 7-7, W 1
50 Neal Cotts 2006-07-01 CHW CHC W 8-6 8-8, W 1
51 Geoff Geary 2006-06-04 PHI LAD W 6-4 7-7, W 1
52 Bill Bray 2006-06-03 WSN MIL W 4-3 8-8, W 1
53 Tim Byrdak 2006-04-14 BAL LAA W 6-5 9-9f, W 1
54 Jorge De La Rosa 2006-04-13 MIL STL W 4-3 10-10, W 1
55 Dennys Reyes 2005-05-17 SDP ATL W 3-2 9-9f, W 1
56 Hector Carrasco 2005-05-15 WSN CHC W 5-4 6-6, W 1
57 Neal Cotts 2004-09-22 CHW MIN W 7-6 9-9f, W 1
58 Julian Tavarez 2004-08-25 STL CIN W 6-5 8-8, W 1
59 Gabe White 2004-08-12 CIN LAD W 6-5 8-8, W 1
60 Joe Horgan 2004-07-19 MON PIT W 6-2 6-6, W 1
61 Joe Horgan 2004-06-30 MON PHI W 6-3 7-7, W 1
62 Scott Service 2004-06-06 ARI LAD W 6-5 7-7, W 1
63 Matt Perisho 2004-05-13 FLA HOU W 3-2 8-8, W 1
64 C.J. Nitkowski 2004-05-01 (2) ATL COL W 11-7 7-7, W 1
65 Michael Tejera 2003-09-23 FLA PHI W 5-4 7-7, W 1
66 Gabe White 2003-09-09 NYY DET W 4-2 8-8, W 1
67 Ricardo Rincon 2003-09-02 OAK BAL W 2-0 11-11, W 1
68 Kyle Farnsworth 2003-07-02 CHC PHI W 1-0 8-8, W 1
69 Alan Embree 2003-04-30 BOS KCR W 5-4 9-9f, W 1
70 Kent Mercker 2002-09-13 COL LAD W 5-4 7-7, W 1
71 Rich Rodriguez 2002-09-10 TEX SEA W 3-2 8-8, W 1
72 Rich Rodriguez 2002-08-20 TEX BOS W 3-2 9-9, W 1
73 Antonio Osuna 2002-08-07 CHW ANA W 7-6 9-9f, W 1
74 Kelly Wunsch 2002-05-25 CHW DET W 6-4 5-5, W 1
75 Luis Vizcaino 2002-04-20 MIL STL W 5-3 7-7, W 1
76 Luis Vizcaino 2002-04-14 MIL SFG W 4-3 7-7, W 1
77 Robb Nen 2001-08-15 SFG FLA W 2-1 9-9f, W 1
78 Mark Guthrie 2001-05-15 OAK NYY W 3-2 12-12f, W 1
79 Pat Mahomes 2000-07-14 NYM BOS W 6-4 7-7, W 1
80 Armando Almanza 2000-06-30 FLA MON W 5-4 8-8, W 1
81 Alan Mills 2000-05-17 LAD CHC W 8-6 8-8, W 1
82 Jeff Wallace 2000-05-02 PIT STL W 10-7 7-7, W 1
83 Matt Anderson 2000-04-30 DET CHW W 4-3 12-12f, W 1
84 Mark Redman 2000-04-14 MIN BAL W 10-9 8-8, W 1
85 Pedro Borbon 1999-08-07 LAD NYM W 7-6 8-8, W 1
86 T.J. Mathews 1999-05-15 OAK MIN W 6-5 9-9f, W 1
87 Dennis Cook 1999-04-10 NYM MON W 4-3 10-10, W 1
88 Graeme Lloyd 1998-09-04 NYY CHW W 11-6 7-7, W 1
89 Jason Christiansen 1998-08-20 PIT CIN W 6-5 9-9f, W 1
90 Aaron Small 1998-07-19 ARI COL W 6-4 7-7, W 1
91 Xavier Hernandez 1998-07-11 TEX OAK W 4-2 8-8, W 1
92 Greg McMichael 1997-07-10 NYM ATL W 10-7 8-8, W 1
93 Paul Assenmacher 1997-05-28 CLE KCR W 10-3 7-7, W 1
94 Rich Rodriguez 1997-04-04 SFG NYM W 6-4 7-7, W 1
95 Dan Naulty 1997-04-01 MIN DET W 7-5 8-8, W 1
96 Steve Reed 1996-09-08 COL HOU W 5-2 8-8, W 1
97 Jeff Schmidt 1996-07-20 CAL SEA W 5-4 8-8, W 1
98 Eddie Guardado 1996-07-05 MIN KCR W 9-8 9-9f, W 1
99 Mark Guthrie 1995-07-22 MIN BOS W 8-7 8-8, W 1
100 Danny Cox 1995-06-30 TOR BAL W 6-5 9-9f, W 1
101 Steve Bedrosian 1995-06-05 ATL CHC W 7-5 7-7, W 1
102 Joe Ausanio 1995-05-04 NYY BOS W 5-3 8-8, W 1
103 Jim Dougherty 1995-05-02 HOU CHC W 5-2 6-6, W 1
104 Josias Manzanillo 1994-07-19 NYM LAD W 7-4 8-8, W 1
105 Rob Murphy 1994-06-21 STL MON W 5-4 9-9f, W 1
106 Tim Mauser 1994-06-06 SDP ATL W 4-3 8-8, W 1
107 Scott Service 1993-08-28 CIN PHI W 9-5 5-5, W 1
108 Roger McDowell 1993-05-12 LAD CHC W 9-3 7-7, W 1
109 Norm Charlton 1992-09-05 CIN NYM W 6-5 9-9f, W 1
110 Tony Fossas 1992-07-08 BOS KCR W 5-4 8-8, W 1
111 Scott Ruskin 1992-04-21 CIN LAD W 4-3 6-6, W 1
112 Mike Henneman 1990-09-25 DET SEA W 4-1 9-9f, W 1
113 Willie Blair 1990-09-14 TOR BAL W 8-7 9-9f, W 1
114 Jesse Orosco 1990-05-19 CLE SEA W 4-3 7-7, W 1
115 Norm Charlton 1990-05-11 CIN CHC W 7-5 8-8, W 1
116 Ed Nunez 1989-09-06 DET KCR W 11-5 4-4, W 1
117 Atlee Hammaker 1989-05-21 SFG NYM W 10-6 6-6, W 1
118 Willie Hernandez 1988-09-16 DET BAL W 8-7 9-9f, W 1
119 Brian Holton 1988-06-25 LAD CIN W 6-4 1-1, W 1
120 Craig Lefferts 1988-06-22 SFG SDP W 8-7 9-9f, W 1
121 Willie Hernandez 1988-06-20 DET NYY W 2-1 10-10f, W 1
122 Jose Rijo 1988-04-16 CIN HOU W 8-2 7-7, W 1
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 10/31/2014.

That is like, Bugs Bunny territory. Throw one pitch, and the game is decided! Won! Shout in the streets riot ’til you drop! Not even Cy Young could’ve pulled that off, and I’m pretty sure he wouldn’t want to.