Sunday, April 11, 2010
Sabathia Flirts with No-Hitter; Rookie Heyward Blasts for Braves
Players of the Day for Saturday, April 10, 2010 American League The Yankees and Rays have each won the AL East over the past two years - the Rays in '08, the Yanks in '09 - so the rivalry produces some interesting games, but Saturday's 10-0 whitewash by the Yankees was no contest as C.C. Sabathia flirted with a no-hitter into the 8th inning. Sabathia, who walked 2 and struck out 5, set down the first 12 Rays in order before walking Evan Longoria to open the 5th. Longoria stole second and eventually advanced to third with two outs, but Sabathia struck out Pat Burrell to end the inning. It wasn't until there were two outs in the 8th that Sabathia finally gave up a hit, a line single to left by former teammate Kelly Shoppach. The burly lefty - perennially among the league leaders in innings pitched - was lifted for a reliever because of a high pitch count, it being only his second start of the season. In picking up his first win of the year, Sabathia threw 111 pitches, 69 of them for strikes.
On of the most-highly touted rookies to hit the big leagues this season is Atlanta right fielder Jason Heyward, who hit a three-run homer in his first at-bat and went 2-for-5 in his first game with the Braves. Since then, Heyward has had to adjust to reality, going just 1-for-12 over his next three games. Until Saturday, that is.
Facing the 4-0 Giants, Heyward and the Braves fell behind, 1-0, but tied it on Heyward's solo homer in the sixth. The rookie also singled home a run in the 7th and singled and scored in the 9th as Atlanta beat the Giants, 7-2.
His 3-for-3 performance, 2 runs and 2 RBI upped his batting average from an anemic .176 before the game, to a respectable .300 after it. This early in the season, Heyward is carrying rookie of the year credentials with 2 homers and 6 RBI.