MLB weekend winners and losers: Rookie’s perfect debut; fireworks from Ohtani, Tatis; Yankees swept at Fenway

Another weekend of Major League Baseball is in the books. We’re coming together every Sunday to award winners and losers after each weekend of MLB action this season. Here are the big winners and losers from the last few days, including Fernando Tatis Jr.’s three-homer game, more fireworks from Shohei Ohtani and a bad weekend for the Bronx Bombers.

Winner: Baseball’s most entertaining players

This weekend, Shohei Ohtani and Fernando Tatis Jr. did, well, Shohei Ohtani and Fernando Tatis Jr. things.

It started Friday, when, hours after Tatis (unfortunately) announced he wouldn’t partake in the 2021 Home Run Derby, the Padres star put on a show of his own, blasting three home runs against the Diamondbacks at Petco Park.

It was the first three-homer game of his career, and he only needed four innings to do so. He homered in the first, second and fourth innings. Here’s a look at all three blasts:

“I have always wanted to hit three or four home runs in a game since I was a kid,” Tatis said after his spectacular offensive showing. “I’m glad today I did that.” 

Tatis finished the game 4-for-5 with the three homers plus four RBI and four runs scored. Safe to say that his performance earned him the Padres’ ‘Swag Chain.’ 

Ohtani, who will (fortunately) be in next month’s Home Run Derby, clubbed his 25th homer of the season on Sunday in the Angels win over the Rays. Ohtani finished the game a single short of the cycle. He also reached the 25-dinger plateau quicker than anyone else in Angels history (yes, even Mike Trout), needing just 77 games to hit the quarter-century mark.

Getting swept makes you a loser any weekend. Getting swept by your rival for the second time in as many meetings, seeing your best pitcher get roughed up, falling 6.5 games back in the standings behind the first-place aforementioned rival and giving your fan base a lot to complain about on social media makes you the 2021 Yankees about halfway through the season.

Yes, the Yankees were swept out of Fenway Park by the Red Sox this weekend and Gerrit Cole had his worst start in a New York uniform on Sunday. You can read more about it here.

And, well, when it rains it pours.

Winner: A perfect rookie

Speaking of rain, showers on your wedding day are supposedly good luck. It does seem rather unlucky, however, to have them during your MLB debut — especially when you have an in-progress perfect game.

Pirates rookie Max Kranick debuted on Sunday against the Cardinals and did not allow a baserunner in his five flawless frames. The right-hander needed just 50 pitches to get through those innings before the game was delayed by rain and ended Kranick’s afternoon. The Cardinals broke up the perfect game in the seventh inning, but Kranick should get his chance to stick in the rotation and attempt to continue his big-league perfection after the way he pitched.

Loser: Cleveland’s rotation

Cleveland was already hurting in the rotation with reigning AL Cy Young winner Shane Bieber and Zach Plesac on the injured list. But they got more bad news last week when it was revealed that MLB wins leader Aaron Civale would be forced to miss (at least) four-to-five weeks with a finger sprain. 

That means the current rotation includes lefty Sam Hentges and righties JC Mejia, Eli Morgan, and Cal Quantrill. Quantrill, 26, is the oldest member of the rotation now and has the most experience with 25 career big-league starts. In his Friday start against the Twins, Quantrill allowed six runs on six hits and a walk with two strikeouts in 4 1/3 innings. Hentges gave up six runs on Sunday, and the club gave up eight runs in both of its losses to the Twins this weekend (Saturday’s game was postponed).

Cleveland, at 41-33, is still very much in contention, but things could go south in a hurry.

Winner: Record-setting Aaron Nola

In Game 1 of Friday’s doubleheader against the New York Mets, Philadelphia Phillies ace Aaron Nola struck out 10 consecutive batters, tying an MLB record set by the late Tom Seaver on April 22, 1970. Seaver fanned his final 10 hitters for the Mets in a 2-1 victory over the San Diego Padres at Shea Stadium.

Nola started and ended his 10 consecutive K’s with punchouts of Mets right fielder Michael Conforto. It was first baseman Pete Alonso who halted the run of strikeouts when he hit a line-drive double to right field in the fourth inning.

“Pretty cool being in a category with Tom,” Nola said after the game. “It’s a cool accomplishment, but winning’s cooler in my opinion.”

Seven of the ten strikeouts were swinging. Nola caught Dominic Smith, James McCann and Taijuan Walker looking. It was Nola’s third double-digit strikeout game this season, and the 19th of his career. The previous Phillies record for consecutive strikeouts was seven (Steve Carlton, Curt Schilling and Jerad Eickhoff).

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