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Tigers' Shane Greene made history for the wrong reason

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Shane Greene became the answer to this trivia question: Name the one pitcher to give up 5 home runs in fewer than 2 innings of work?

Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

You could say Shane Greene struggled against the Angels Saturday night. He would probably agree. Greene failed to get out of the second inning, allowing seven runs and getting only five outs. However, it was the way in which he gave up those runs that is remarkable.

According to Baseball Reference, Greene became the first player in Major League Baseball to surrender five home runs while working fewer than two innings. Seriously, this was a first. Greene coughed up home runs in the first inning to Mike Trout and Kole Calhoun. In the second he gave up bombs to Matt Joyce, Carlos Perez and Albert Pujols. Tigers skipper Brad Ausmus then put Greene out of his misery by removing him from the ballgame.

Back on August 1, 2001, Rob Bell of the Texas Rangers gave up five home runs to the New York Yankees in only two innings of work. Somewhere, Rob Bell is breathing a little easier tonight as he is no longer a historical footnote.

Greene's performance is noteworthy just for the home runs. It's really quite uncommon for a pitcher to give up five homers in a given game. Once you give up the third or fourth homer, your manager will usually come with the hook.  Not tonight.

Only two Tigers since 1914 gave up five homers in a game in four or fewer innings:

  • Jeff Weaver on July 24, 1999. Willie Blair and CJ Nitkowski also gave up homers, making that seven for one ballgame.
  • Nate Robertson on August 20, 2008. Ugh.
The only other Tigers pitcher since 1914 to give up five homers in one game was Don Mossi way back in 1961 and he actually got the win in that game as the Tigers cruised to a 15-7 win over the Indians.

Not trying to pick on Shane Greene, he's had his moments this season, but that performance was historically brutal.