Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Meche, Hernandez Toss Zeros; Reds' Nix Kicks Braves

Players of the Day for Tuesday, June 16, 2009 American League Two outstanding pitching performances - by KC's Gil Meche (left) and Seattle's Felix Hernandez (right) - created a tie for POTD honors for Tuesday. In Kansas City's 5-0 wipeout of Arizona, Meche extended his scoreless streak to 16 innings with a 4-hit, complete game shutout, walking one while striking out 6. Meche, in his previous start, blanked Cleveland on 4 hits over seven innings. Tuesday's outing was an improvement on that, even though the righty threw 132 pitches (82 strikes) as he improved to 4-5 on the season. It was Meche's 3rd career shutout and 6th complete game over 9 seasons. At 7-2, Felix Hernandez has been flying under the radar in Seattle, compiling some impressive stats that compare favorably to any starter in the AL. In his complete-game 5-0 shutout at San Diego, Hernandez allowed just two hits - both singles - while walking 4 and fanning 6. It was Hernandez's second straight win and his third consecutive decision without a loss. Over his past 5 starts - 37 2/3 innings - Hernandez has allowed a paltry 3 earned runs while striking out 34 batters. His seasonal stats are outstanding: 1.22 WHIP, 2.77 ERA. National League In the NL Central, the Cincinnati Reds continue to press the issue, remaining in third place, 3 games behind Milwaukee with a 7-2 romp over Atlanta. In Tuesday's win, slugging left fielder Laynce Nix provided a lift, going 3-for-5 with a pair of doubles and a single, driving in three runs. Nix got the Reds on the board early, with a run-scoring ground out in the first and an RBI double in the 3rd, and late, with another run-producing double in the 8th inning which completed the Reds' scoring. NOTES: Tampa Bay ended Colorado's 11-game winning streak, busting up the Rockies 12-4 in Colorado. The loss dropped the Rockies two games under .500, leaving only San Francisco and the Dodgers as the only teams in the division with winning records. By winning, the Rays kept pace in the AL East, where each of the top four contenders - Red Sox, Yankees, Rays and Blue Jays - won their interleague contests. Other than the runaway Dodgers in the NL West, the divisional races are tight everywhere. In the AL, the lead in each division is a slender 2 games. In the NL, Philly leads the Mets by 3 games, while the Brewers hold a 1 game edge over the Cardinals in the Central.

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