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April 18, 1998: Padres beat Pirates 7-5 for the second day in a row

Chipper tied McGwire, an all-time NFL great was drafted, a terrible movie came out, and more

Cardinals v Padres

The Padres beat the Pirates this day in 1998, winning by a 7-5 final score for the second consecutive day, although this time it took ten innings. Greg Vaughn was held homerless for the first time in four games, but three teammates picked up his slack, extending the (then) club record to 13 games in a row with a home run. Andy Sheets and Carlos Hernandez each went yard for the second time, and Wally Joyner hit his third. Everyone in the starting lineup save for Steve Finley — even pitcher Andy Ashby — had at least one of their fifteen hits.

Ashby had his shakiest start of the year to date, allowing five runs in his six innings, only three of which went down as earned, thanks to errors by Sheets and Ken Caminiti. He gave up six singles, five doubles, and a walk, resulting in a scary 2.000 WHIP, and didn’t have a single clean inning. Carlos Reyes, Sterling Hitchcock, Dan Miceli, and Trevor Hoffman held the Pirates scoreless for the final four innings. Between their times on the mound, the Padres’ offense was busy tying the game and later taking the lead.

Ashby left with the Padres trailing 5-3, their offense coming from an RBI double by Wally Joyner in the fourth inning and solo homers from Sheets and Joyner in the fifth and sixth, respectively. They tied the game in the top of the eighth when Carlos Hernandez followed a Joyner single with a blast of his own. The two squads traded zeroes in the ninth, then San Diego took the lead for good in the top of the tenth thanks in large part to a good old-fashioned defensive meltdown. The Padres loaded the bases on two singles and a walk, then Quilvio Veras hit a grounder that should have ended the frame, but Greg Vaughn scored on third baseman Doug Strange’s fielding error, then pinch-runner Ed Giovanola came home right behind him when Strange exacerbated matters with a throwing error on the same play. Trevor Hoffman pitched a perfect inning for the second day in a row to preserve the win; it was his fifth save of the year.

Elsewhere in baseball:

  • Cubs starter Kerry Wood picked up his first career win in his second game. He allowed zero runs on four hits and three walks in five innings, striking out “just” seven batters.
  • The Mariners fired pitching coach Nardi Contreras, replacing him with Stan Williams, who had previously served under Seattle manager Lou Piniella as his pitching coach in Cincinnati.
  • In one of the only two transactions of the day, the Reds sent outfielder Chad Mottola to the Rangers as part of a conditional deal. He did not play for the Reds, Rangers, or any major league team in 1998. Mottola, whose only time in the bigs to date was 35 games for Cincinnati in 1996, next reached the majors in 2000 with three games with the Blue Jays; he played in five games with the Marlins in 2001, six for the Orioles in 2004, then finally ten more with the Blue Jays in 2006. That’s quite the interesting career: 59 games with four different teams in five seasons spread over an eleven-year span. He’s now the Rays’ hitting coach.
  • Cleveland signed minor league reliever Jim Brower, three days after he was released by the Rangers. Brower would make his major league debut with Cleveland the following season.
  • Dave Stieb picked up a win in a minor league start as he attempted a comeback at age 40. Stieb had last pitched in the majors in 1993, when he started four games for the White Sox. Those four were the only of his 443 career games not spent with the Blue Jays.
  • Chipper Jones hit his eighth homer, tying Mark McGwire for the MLB lead.

Box scores and standings

Dinger tracker:

Shane Andrews, Expos (3)

Jay Bell, Diamondbacks (4)

Sean Berry, Astros (3)

Rafael Bournigal, Athletics (1)

Ellis Burks, Rockies (7)

Jeff Cirillo, Brewers (2)

Brad Fullmer, Expos (1)

Karim Garcia, Diamondbacks (2)

Doug Glanville, Phillies (1)

Carlos Hernandez, Padres (2)

Trenidad Hubbard, Dodgers (2)

Chipper Jones, Braves (8)

Wally Joyner, Padres (3)

Mark Kotsay, Marlins (2)

Matt Lawton, Twins (3)

Mark Lewis, Phillies (2)

Mark McLemore, Rangers (1, 2)

Jon Nunnally, Reds (1)

Troy O’Leary, Red Sox (2)

David Ortiz, Twins (3)

Alex Rodriguez, Mariners (6)

Scott Rolen, Phillies (3)

Andy Sheets, Padres (2)

Bob Smith, Devil Rays (2)

Eddie Taubensee, Reds (1)

Ernie Young, Royals (1)

Elsewhere in the world:

  • Marshall University wide receiver Randy Moss was drafted twenty-first overall in the NFL draft by the Minnesota Vikings. Allowed to fall so far due to “character concerns”, Moss would go on to become the greatest receiver in NFL history. As Moss himself said at the time, “Coach [Dennis Green] took a lot of heat for this, but he just caught a steal.”
  • Michael Jordan, at the time widely considered the greatest basketball player of all time, scored 44 points in his final regular season game as a member of the Chicago Bulls. He sewed up his tenth scoring title, finishing just ahead of Shaquille O’Neal with 28.7 points per game.
  • No one was clamoring to buy tickets for box-office newcomer Major League: Back To The Minors, a film that has since been disavowed by nearly everyone involved. It’s bad — oh, is it ever bad — but it’s that entertaining, good kind of bad. It’s the Manos: Hands of Fate of baseball movies, and I urge you to watch it the next opportunity you get.
  • The number one song on Billboard’s Mainstream Rock chart was Blue on Black by The Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band. It’s a pretty solid song, especially for radio rock, and still holds up today.