Jesus Saves again in 2007
I started this blog to write about things that catch my attention in the world of baseball, not to proselytize, but sometimes I get to do both.
1) On June 22, 1974, in the second game of a Saturday doubleheader at Veterans Stadium, the last place Mets were making some noise against the first place Phillies in the top of the sixth inning. Leading 8-3, Philadelphia manager Danny Ozark went to the bullpen for 29-year-old pitcher making his fifth major league appearance after his starter issued a one-out walk. The six-foot-two, 175-pound rookie from Puerto Rico surrendered a free pass and a single to let the Mets within 8-4, but held them to just an unearned tally over the last eleven outs. As a result, Jesus Hernaiz earned his first and only major league save.
2) More than a quarter-century later, a 25-year-old Dominican, Jesus Pena, became the second man with his given name to earn a major league save on July 7, 2000. The six-foot, 170-pound White Sox southpaw faced only one batter to do it, striking out Brant Brown of the Cubs for the final out of a Friday afternoon interleague contest at Wrigley Field. Like Hernaiz, it would be the only save of Pena’s brief big league career.
3 & 4) Three years later, another 25-year-old Dominican became the third Jesus to save a major league contest, and he also did it in Chicago. Six-foot-two, 170-pound Devil Rays right-hander Jesus Colome entered with a 9-6 lead and the tying run at the plate at Comiskey Park, but whiffed three White Sox in two perfect innings to secure the victory for Tampa Bay. Four days later in Toronto, he pitched a three up, three down bottom of the ninth to become the first big league Jesus with more than one save.
5, 6 & 7) Colome racked up three more saves in 2004. The first came in his second appearance of the season, when he escaped a bases loaded jam in the seventh inning against the San Francisco Giants. Two weeks later in Arizona, Colome saved a 2-1 win for Tampa Bay by getting fellow Dominican Danny Bautista to ground into an inning-ending double play with runners at the corners in the eighth. In the ninth, he retired the Diamondbacks in order. With Oakland in Tampa two months later, Colome earned his third save of the season by nailing down another 2-1 affair. He got hit hard in 2005 though, and made only one appearance with the Rays in 2006 before getting released.
8) However, Colome found work in 2007 with the Washington Nationals, and proved to fans in the nation’s capital that Jesus still saves on May 14. Starter Jay Bergmann outdueled John Smoltz on a Monday afternoon, taking a no-hitter into the top of the eighth before surrendering a home run that pulled the Braves within 2-1. When Bergmann gave up a leadoff single in the ninth, Nats manager Manny Acta brought in Colome to make sure the big right-hander’s ten-strikeout outing didn’t go to waste. Colome made this one interesting but, in the end, he struck out Andruw Jones to earn the save.
compiled by MALCOLM ALLEN
DID YOU KNOW – Nearly every career statistical record for major league players named Jesus belongs to one of two Dominicans. Jesus Alou, an outfielder who played for fifteen seasons, holds every offensive record, while the pitching marks are controlled by left-hander Jesus Sanchez, who had a seven-year career as a starter and reliever.