"Sunday Funday" took on a whole new meaning for pitchers. Thanks to the creative minds of two of the most respected managers in baseball, Bruce Bochy and Joe Maddon, pitchers mocked the rest of baseball.
In the afternoon in San Francisco, Matt Cain had a no-hitter through five innings, but he never got to take it into the sixth against the Nationals. With the Giants leading 1-0 in the bottom of the fifth, and Cain clocked at 93 pitches and four walks, Bochy pinch-hit for the three-time All-Star. He sent up the active leader in home runs ... for a pitcher (13): Madison Bumgarner.
Bumgarner proceeded to smash a double to right field. And the madness did not end there. Bochy dipped into his bench for a third starting pitcher, Jeff Samardzija, as a pinch runner for Bumgarner. Samardzija, who played wide receiver for Notre Dame, scored on an error.
George Kontos, a relief pitcher, came in for the sixth inning and the Giants used position players as pinch hitters and pinch runners the rest of the way. It is also necessary to note Cain is fifth in home runs for active pitchers with seven.
Pitcherception: Pitcher Jeff Samardzija pinch ran for pitcher Madison Bumgarner who pinch hit for pitcher Matt Cain. pic.twitter.com/8dSRy6dDOt
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) July 31, 2016
In Chicago, on Sunday Night Baseball, Brian Matusz, making a spot start for the Cubs, gave up two runs in each of the first three innings, which allowed Maddon to roll the dice. He pinch-hit a starting pitcher, Jason Hammel, for Matusz, in the bottom of the third. Hammel grounded out to third base.
The true antics started in the top of the sixth, with the Mariners leading 6-2. Joe Nathan gave up a walk and a double to start the inning, so Maddon went to lefty Travis Wood. Wood walked a batter, struck out two and got a pop-up to escape a bases-loaded, no-outs jam.
The Cubs let Wood hit in the bottom of the inning -- he flew out to left -- but he was done pitching. Instead, Wood went out to left field in the top of the seventh, pulling Chris Coghlan from the game. With one and a runner on first, Franklin Gutierrez blasted a line drive deep to left, and Wood put this on his highlight reel.
A pitcher in left field, that won’t work ou----- pic.twitter.com/5oxoDMZmAG
— MLB (@MLB) August 1, 2016
Wait, so why was Wood still in the game anyway? As long as a pitcher is not taken out of the game, he can come back onto the mound, which he did with two outs in the top of the eighth. Mariners shortstop Shawn O'Malley was then caught stealing to end the inning. Javier Baez pinch-hit for Wood in the bottom of the frame.
The Cubs scored three runs in the ninth inning to send the game to extra innings. In the bottom of the 12th, Jason Heyward led off with a double and moved to third on a sac fly. Maddon opted to pinch-hit Jon Lester, a starting pitcher, for Hector Rondón. With two strikes, Lester laid down a sac bunt for a walk-off win.
— MLB (@MLB) August 1, 2016
What a night for the pitcher in all of us. Don't tell these guys they can't hit ... or field ... or run.
Follow Jeffrey Eisenband on Twitter @JeffEisenband.