Monday, August 9, 2010

Brandon Morrow Fans 17 in 1-Hit Effort; Votto Clubs 28th to Lead Reds Sweep of Cubs

Players of the Day for Sunday, August 8, 2010 American League This season, the Toronto Blue Jays have been noted as the team most likely to bludgeon another into submission via the long ball, but yesterday, starting pitcher Brandon Morrow showed Blue Jay fans that there are other ways to win ball games, specifically, by throwing a no-hitter for 9 2/3 innings, striking out 17 batters and generally overpowering the opposing batters at the point of attack. Morrow was brilliant, improving his record to 9-6, but may come up a little arm-weary in his next outing, as he threw 136 pitches to record what ended up being the first shutout and complete game of his four-year major league career, though most of the first three were spent primarily as a reliever. The Jays scored a single run in the bottom of the first inning and Morrow made it stand up, fanning each of the Toronto starters at least once, most twice, and Carl Crawford three times in the 1-0 win which completed a three-game sweep of the second place Rays. With the Yankees beating Boston, 7-2, the loss dropped Tampa Bay 2 1/2 games behind the Yankees, with Boston seven back and the Jays 10 1/2 behind the front runners. Morrow's 17 Ks were the most by a pitcher this season and the most by a Blue Jays pitcher since Roger Clemons set the club record by fanning 18 Kansas City Royals on August 25, 1998. Evan Longoria broke up Morrow's no-hit biiiiiid with a ground ball up the middle which infielder Aaron Hill knocked down but could not make a play on. Unfazed, Morrow - after a short visit from Jays' manager Cito Gaston - proceeded to finish the game by striking out Dan Johnson. National League The Cincinnati Reds are just clobbering the ball. Finishing up a three-game sweep of the struggling Cubs with Sunday's 11-3 battering, the Reds have opened up a two-game lead on St. Louis in the NL Central and may prove difficult to catch down the stretch. In Sunday's game, Joey Votto was once again at the heart of the offensive attack, going 2-for-4, with a double and his 28th home run of the season, leaving him two behind NL leader Adam Dunn and tied with Albert Pujols. Votto's 4 RBI gave him 75 on the year, putting him in 4th position in that department. Pujols leads the league with 82, followed by injured Ryan Howard's 81 and the Mets' David Wright, who has 77. The Reds have won four straight and will have the opportunity to defend their division lead or expand it when they host the Cardinals in a three-game series beginning Monday night.

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