Friday, June 11, 2010

Jon Niese Tosses 1-Hitter at Padres; Josh Hamilton Heating Up

Players of the Day for Thursday, June 10, 2010 American League With the Angels and A's breathing down their backs, the Texas Rangers can't afford any rest as the leaders in the AL West, so it's probably as good a time as ever for Josh Hamilton to heat up at the plate. Hamilton has hit safely in 19 of his last 21 games, raising his batting average from .268 to .307. He's currently on a 7-game hitting streak, in which he's hammered four homers and driven in 13 runs. In Thursday's 12-3 win over Seattle, the Rangers' outfielder got going early with his 13th home run of the year, a 2-run blast, in the opening inning. Hamilton singled and scored in the 6th as the Rangers put the finishing touches on their third straight rout of the Mariners (they beat them 12-2 on Wednesday and 7-1 on Tuesday). The Rangers hold a 1 1/2 game lead in the division over the Angels, with the A's lurking just another 1/2 game back. Texas embarks upon a 9-game road trip against NL teams on Friday, with three games each at Milwaukee, Florida and Houston. National League A leadoff double in the 3rd inning by Chris Denofria was the only hit the Padres could produce against Mets' starter Jon Niese, who picked up his third win of the season against two losses with an outstanding 1-hitter which moved the Mets into a tie for second place in the NL East with the Phillies, 2 1/2 games behind the Braves. It was the 10th start of the season for the rookie Niese, who had been scuffling along until Thursday's thriller. Even with that win under his belt, Niese is still carrying a 3.61 ERA and a WHIP of 1.43. Without surrendering a walk, Niese came close to pitching another perfect game, which seems to be all the rage in what many baseball analysts are calling the "year of the pitcher." The Mets got on the board early, with a run in the second and two more in the third off San Diego's Jon Garland, and that was all Niese needed, going the distance for his first career complete game and shutout for the 3-0 win. Tossing 76 of 108 pitches for strikes, Niese was in command throughout, retiring the first six batters he faced and the last 21 in order, fanning 6 in the process.

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