Saturday, June 26, 2010

Edwin Jackson Throws 149-Pitch No-Hitter; Peavy On Fire as ChiSox Win 10th Straight

Players of the Day for Friday, June 25, 2010 National League It being the year of the pitcher, just about anyone who steps to the mound seems capable of extraordinary feats, so when Edwin Jackson walked seven betters but didn't allow a hit over the first three innings, the stage was set. Jackson couldn't spot his fastball for strikes, but he was getting the slider over, and the pitch saved him. Working out of jams in each of the first three innings, including a bases-loaded, no out situation in the 3rd, Jackson seemed more likely to take an early shower than pitch the 4th no-hitter of the season. Inducing a pop fly and a couple of ground balls in the 3rd inning got Jackson though, with Ben Zobrist - who led off the inning with - what else? - a walk, forced out at the plate for the second out. After that, Jackson settled in. Including the final three outs of the 3rd, he set down 20 of the next 21 batters in order, his only miscue, the plunking of B.J. Upton in the 6th. Jackson cruised into the 9th, but there was more drama to come. After getting the first two outs, he walked Willy Aybar - his 8th walk of the game - before getting Jason Bartlett to ground out for the final out and the 1-0 win, the only run of the game coming on Adam laRoche's 2nd-inning solo homer. Jackson threw an amazing 149 pitches, with only 79 going for strikes. He fanned 6, got 8 on fly balls and 11 on ground outs. It was the second no-hitter this season against the Rays, who were victimized by the Dallas Braden's perfect game on May 9. The unusual no-hitter was an odd highlight for the hapless Diamondbacks, who are dead last in the NL West, 14 1/2 games out and 10 1/2 behind 4th place Colorado Rockies. American League A couple of weeks ago, nobody would have thought it possible, but the White Sox are back in the thick of the AL Central race after winning their 10th straight, a 6-0 win over the Cubs. Jake Peavy sparkled once again, allowing just three hits over seven shutout innings. Peavy walked two and struck out nine, matching his season high. Peavy led the National League in strikeouts in 2005 and 2007, when he was with the Padres. The win was the third straight for Peavy, now 7-5. He hasn't allowed an earned run in 20 straight innings, the last team to score on him being the Cubs, who touched him up for two runs back on June 11 in the second inning of a 10-5 White Sox win. Peavy shut them out for 5 more innings in that game, then tossed a 3-hit complete game shutout against Washington in his next start, June 19. While the White Sox have been screaming hot, the two teams ahead of them in the division standings, the Twins and Tigers, have been so-so. First-place Minnesota has lost four straight and lead the Tigers by just 1/2 game. Detroit has gone 6-4 to close the gap. The White Sox are just 1 1/2 behind the Twins, with teams getting back to normal after this weekend, when interleague play ends. The schedule has been favorable for the Sox and will continue to be so in the near future. They can tie Texas for the longest win streak in the majors with a win over the Cubs on Saturday. Texas' 11-game streak came to an abrupt end in a 7-4 loss to Houston Friday night. The Cubs and White Sox wrap up their series on Sunday, then the Sox close out the month of June with three straight at Kansas City while the Twins and Tigers knock heads in Minnesota. June has been turnaround month for the White Sox, with a 16-6 tally thus far. They have lost just once since June 9, winning 14 of their last 15.

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