Lindsey Foltin, Robert Pace, Shawn Ramsey, Adrian Garro, Danny Farris
June 9 -- The first of seven no-hitters
Though no pitchers were perfect in 2015, there was a fair share of no-hitters -- seven in all. On June 9, Chris Heston of the Giants threw the first no-no of the season, against the New York Mets. Washington's Max Scherzer had two, one against the Pirates on June 20, the other against the Mets on Oct. 3. The Dodgers also fell victim to two no-hitters, courtesy of the Astros' Mike Fiers (Aug. 21) and the Cubs' Jake Arrieta (Aug. 30), in a span of less than 10 days. Cole Hamels (July 25) tossed a no-hitter against the Cubs while still in Phillies red, and the Mariners' Hisashi Iwakuma (Aug. 12) became the second Japanese-born pitcher (Hideo Nomo was the first) to get a no-no.
Getty ImagesOtto Greule Jr
June 19 -- A-Rod gets hit No. 3,000 as part of a surprising comeback
After sitting out the entire 2014 season while serving a 162-game suspension for using performance-enhancing drugs, nobody knew quite what to expect from Alex Rodriguez in 2015. Not only would he turn 40 during the season, but he had been grappling with injuries over the prior few years. The Yankees third baseman not only made a successful comeback but did so in emphatic fashion, producing his most home runs (33) since 2008, most RBI (86) and and highest OPS (.842) since 2010. By the time the 21-year veteran became only the 29th player in MLB history to notch 3,000 hits in June, it was pretty clear his comeback was going to be a success.
APFrank Franklin II
June-July -- Royals fans stuff the All-Star Game ballot box
Not a fan of the MLB All-Star Game voting system? Then this highlight of the 2015 season likely made your blood boil as Royals fans took to stuffing the online ballot box. Though only three Royals (Lorenzo Cain, Salvador Perez and Alcides Escobar) ended up in the starting lineup, Kansas City had eight of the nine starting positions filled as late as June. MLB intervened, eliminating as many as 65 million online ballots over concerns of improper voting. The Royals’ All-Star roster takeover was unsuccessful, but a 6-3 AL win did help the Kansas City secure home-field advantage in its eventual World Series win.
Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
July 31 -- One heck of a trade deadline
The 2015 non-waiver trade deadline was one of the busiest in recent memory. Blockbuster deals were the rule, starting with the Reds trading ace Johnny Cueto for pitchers Brandon Finnegan, John Lamb and Cody Reed. The Blue Jays then followed with a big splash, getting shortstop Troy Tulowitzki and LaTroy Hawkins from the Rockies for Jose Reyes, Miguel Castro and two minor leaguers. Two days later, Toronto acquired ace David Price from the Tigers in exchange for Daniel Norris and two more pitching prospects. Of course, the biggest deal wound up being one that came right down to the wire. Minutes before the deadline passed, the Mets acquired outfielder Yoenis Cespedes from the Detroit Tigers. Cespedes went on to propel the Mets into playoff contention and eventually to the World Series.
Toronto Star via Getty ImagesSteve Russell
Aug. 1-Oct. 4 -- Yoenis Cespedes boosts Mets to second-half surge
Despite having the best young rotation in baseball, the Mets were mired in mediocrity during the first half of the season due to an anemic offense that ranked third-worst in MLB in runs scored. After adding Juan Uribe and Kelly Johnson as reinforcements, the Mets made a pickup just before the trade deadline that completely changed their season. In exchange for a pair of minor-leaguers, GM Sandy Alderson brought the slugger Cespedes to New York from the Detroit Tigers. The Cuban outfielder instantly resurrected the Mets' offense, hitting 17 home runs with 44 RBI and a .942 OPS in 57 games. He played the lead role in New York's first postseason appearance since 2006.
MLB Photos via Getty ImagesAlex Trautwig
Sept. 26 -- A fond farewell to the Big Three
After San Francisco Giants veteran pitcher Tim Hudson confirmed in early September that 2015 would be his last season, our eyes turned to the calendar to see what his final matchups would be. As it turned out, his penultimate outing fittingly would be in Oakland, where he got his start alongside fellow Big Three members Barry Zito and Mark Mulder. As if that weren't a storybook ending itself, the A's let Zito, who was giving it one last go at major-league pitching, start the game against Hudson. The pitching matchup itself was uninspiring, as both players were removed from the game by the third inning, but it offered the A's and baseball fans everywhere an opportunity to bid a fond farewell to one of the most dynamic starting trios of a generation.
Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY SportsEd Szczepanski
Sept. 27 --- Bryce Harper and Jonathan Papelbon go at it
Prior to the 2015 season, many expected the Nationals to run away with the NL East and continue on to the World Series. Things didn't go as planned. Washington won 83 games, failed to make the playoffs and capped the season by firing 2014 NL Manager of the Year Matt Williams. The team saved its lowest point of the year for the season's final week. Harper (the eventual NL MVP) popped out and didn't run hard out of the box, causing the veteran closer Papelbon (acquired at the trade deadline and active in this game) to chirp at his teammate from the dugout. Things escalated quickly, with Papelbon grabbing Harper by the neck and pushing him into a wall. Williams sent Papelbon back out to the mound to keep the game tied, but the closer allowed five runs and the Nats lost 12-5.
Getty ImagesGreg Fiume
Oct. 14 -- Jose Bautista's bat flip heard round Canada
In a decisive Game 5 against the Rangers, Blue Jays slugger Bautista unleashed a home run and bat flip for the ages during one of the wildest innings of all time. The Rangers took the lead in the top half of the seventh inning on a ball thrown back to the pitcher that hit Shin-Soo Choo, causing Jays manager John Gibbons to play the rest of the game under protest and the fans to throw trash on the field. The Jays then tied the game in the bottom half after some uncharacteristic errors by Elvis Andrus, bringing Bautista to the plate with two men on base. After Bautista crossed the plate, pitcher Sam Dyson took exception to the bat flip, saying some words to Edwin Encarnacion. The benches cleared, and trash littered the field again, but the Jays went on to win 6-3 and move on to the ALCS.
Nov. 1 -- Royals crowned World Series champs
The Royals worked all season to get one step further than they did in 2014. And on Nov. 1, they did it. Heading into Game 5, Kansas City had a 3-1 series lead over the New York Mets. Royals starter Edinson Volquez returned to the team after losing his father just days prior and pitched a gem for KC. Matt Harvey threw eight scoreless innings for the Mets and pushed to pitch the ninth but faltered. Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer scored the game-tying run on a Salvador Perez grounder, sending the game to extra innings. Perez came through again in the 12th with a leadoff single, which sparked a five-run inning for KC, allowing the Royals to lock up their first World Series championship in 30 years. Perez was unanimously named the Series' MVP, finishing with a .364/.391/.455 slash line with two doubles, three runs and two RBI.
Dec. 1, 4 -- David Price, Zack Greinke get paid
Free-agent pitchers David Price and Zack Greinke were expected to be the biggest prizes of the offseason, but it took a few weeks for them to set the market. Finally, Price ended up with the biggest deal -- seven years, $217 million -- from Boston, which is making an annual tradition out of spending big on free agents. Three days later, Greinke got less money but a higher annual salary with a six-year, $206.5 million contract from the Diamondbacks. Not bad for two guys in their early 30s.