Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Zito, Young Each Toss 6 Shutout Innings; Crawford Single Plates Pair in 9th

Players of the Day for Tuesday, April 6, 2010 American League
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Carl Crawford only had one hit in his four at-bats, but it was a 9th inning scratch single that drove home teammates Sean Rodriguez and Kelly Shoppach with the tying and game-winning runs in Tampa Bay's 4-3 home opening win over the Baltimore Orioles. Crawford's timely hit came off Baltimore closer Mike Gonzalez, who entered the game with a run run lead, but left it after getting only one out in the 9th and allowing a pair of Rays to cross the plate. Blown saves are nothing new for Gonzalez, who blew 7 of 17 opportunities last season. On Tuesday night, he opened the 9th by fanning Pat Burrell, but then allowed a single to Rodriguez and a double by Shoppach. After intentionally walking Jason Bartlett, Crawford delivered the decisive blow.
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National League Two pitching performances were so strong that there was no way to separate them; thus, San Francisco's Barry Zito (left) and San Diego's Chris Young (right) share Player of the Day honers in the NL. In the Giants' 3-0 win over Houston, the only Astro batter Barry Zito couldn't retire was second baseman Jeff Keppinger (2 doubles, walk). Other than him, Zito shut down Houston on one hit and no walks over six innings. All told, Zito allowed 3 hits and a walk, while striking out five. Zito is a key to the Giants' success this season, already having moved into the #2 slot after Tim Lincecum got them their first win of the season on Monday. The 2-0 Giants are the only NL West team without a loss.
In San Diego's 6-3 win over Arizona, starter Chris Young worked a very impressive 6 full innings, allowing just one hit (to Justin Upton in the 4th) and 3 walks with 5 Ks. After an error in the first inning, Young set down 9 in a row before Upton's single, but never let a runner past second base. Young, who was a stud for the Padres from 2005-2007, with a 32-20 record, sustained injuries in each of the past two seasons and returned a combined sub-par record of 11-12. Back at full strength, Young is expected to pick up much of the slack left by the departed Jake Peavy. Thus far, he's off to a fine beginning.

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