Saturday, June 13, 2009

Hochevar Stuns Reds; Lincecum Wins with Arm and Bat

Players of the Day for Friday, June 12, 2009 American League No, that wasn't Zack Greinke tossing a three-hit, complete game for the KC Royals, it was second-year starter Luke Hochevar downing the Cincinnati Reds, 4-1. Hochevar (2-2) struck out three and walked just one in his most dominant start of the season. Of the three hits allowed, two were off the bat of Jonny Gomes, seemingly the only Red player who had Hochevar figured out. Gomes doubled to lead off the 3rd inning, but was left stranded and homered in the fifth for the Reds' only run. Brandon Phillips had the only other Reds' hit. Hochevar needed only 80 pitches (57 strikes) for the win, getting 15 batters on ground outs and 9 on fly balls. National League Tim Lincecum is a do-it-yourself kind of guy. Not only did the Giants' ace shut out cross-town rival Oakland, 3-0, on seven hits, he drove in the game's first run with a single in the fifth inning. Lincecum (6-1) sparkled, throwing 76 of his 110 pitches for strikes, fanning 8 and allowing just one extra base hit - a double by Jack Cust - for his first complete game and first shutout of 2009. Having won 6 straight decisions, Lincecum is a large part of the reason why the Giants are contending in the NL West, now just 7 games behind the Dodgers and one game behind the Cardinals in the wild card chase. In just his third season, Lincecum is off to a tremendous start with a career record of 31-11. He was named to the NL All-Star team last season and was the 2008 NL Cy Young award winner with an 18-5 record, 2.62 ERA and 265 strikeouts, which was tops in the league. NOTES: Interleague play began its second iteration on Friday, with some regional rivalries on display, but none bigger than the subway series at Yankee Stadium between the Yanks and Mets. In a wild game, the finish was even wilder, as Francicso Rodriguez, attempting to nail down the save, had Derek Jeter on second and issued an intentional ball four to Mark Teixeira, putting Alex Rodriguez at the plate with two out in the bottom of the ninth. K-Rod seemingly got the better of A-Rod, inducing a towering pop-up toward short right field, but, to the amazement of just about everyone, the ball kept drifting, twisting toward the foul line, as Luis Castillo struggled to get under it and eventually drop it. Jeter and Teixeira, running all the way, scored the tying and winning runs for the strangest 9-8 win of this season and maybe of all time. In Toronto, a less-traditional rivalry had the Marlins in town to face Roy Halladay and his gaudy 10-1 record. The AL's best starter wasn't doing all that well, having allowed five hits and an earned run through three, but warming up to start the 4th, he felt a twinge in his groin and was forced to leave the game. The Marlins didn't exactly seize the moment, falling behind 2-1 and not scoring again until the 7th inning. After tying the game, Cody Ross delivered with a grand slam that put the game out of sight for a 7-3 Marlins win. Raining zeros in Texas? The Rangers' staff hasn't allowed a run in two consecutive games. Kevin Millwood tossed 7 2/3 innings of shutout ball in a 1-0 win Thursday night against Toronto, and Vicente Padilla and two relievers combined for an 8-hit shutout of the Dodgers on Friday, winning, 6-0.

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