Monday, April 7, 2008

Laird Doubles Up on Angels; Sheets is Complete

Sunday's Players of the Day American League The Texas Rangers spanked the LA Angels, 10-4 in Anaheim on Sunday to take two of three on the road against the reigning AL West Champs. One big reason was catcher Gerald Laird who went 4-for-5, scored three three and launched two shots into the seats, driving in a total of 6 runs on the day. Laird started things going for the Rangers when he singled and scored their first run. In the top of the 4th, with Texas leading, 2-1, he took Angels' starter Jon Garland deep with a three-run homer to blow the game open. Laird singled home Hank Blalock in the 7th and blasted another two run shot in the ninth for good measure. The effort boosted his batting average from .091 to .312. Notable: Frank Thomas hit his 11th career grand slam in the fifth inning off starter Josh Beckett as the Toronto Blue Jays completed their 3-game sweep of the Boston Red Sox. National League In the current climate of specialization in major league baseball, certain pitching stats have gone from being notable to downright rare. One such stat is the complete game, and the even rarer complete game shutout. Milwaukee Brewers' ace hurler Ben Sheets gave everyone - but especially the San Francisco Giants - a taste of old school pitching, working the entire nine innings, in a 7-0 whitewash of the slumping Giants. Sheets, facing the Giants' Barry Zito, allowed just 5 hits, while striking out 8, throwing 109 pitches, of which a remarkable 78 were strikes. Sheets struck out the side in the first inning, signaling that he had quality stuff. He didn't walk any and didn't allow a baserunner past second. Thanks to a double-play that ended the 6th, Sheets got the final 11 outs in order. After hurling a 2-hit, scoreless 6 2/3 innings in Milwaukee's season opener at Chicago, he received no decision. Sunday's complete game extended his scoreless streak to 15 2/3 innings.

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