Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Liriano Throws First AL No-Hitter of Season; Rookie Descalso Leads Cards Past Marlins

Players of the Day for Tuesday, May 3, 2011

American League

Struggling along with the worst record in baseball, the Minnesota Twins got a much-needed lift when Francisco Liriano shut down the White Sox with the first no-hitter in the American League this season.
Francisco Liriano

An unlikely candidate for the pinnacle of pitching perfection, Liriano entered the game with a 1-4 record and an embarrassing ERA of 9.13. Worse yet, he opened the game by walking Juan Pierre, one of three free passes issued to the Chicago leadoff hitter.

After getting out of the inning on a double play, Liriano issued three more walks into the 4th inning, but then settled in, putting down 11 straight batters from the 4th through the 8th inning. He walked six total, including Pierre again with one out in the 9th, and struck out only two, but he White Sox could not solve him.

The Twins were having their own problems at the plate, scoring just one run off Edwin Jackson, who threw for eight innings, allowing just six hits. The only run of the game came on Jason Kubel's 4th inning home run.

With the 1-0 victory, Minnesota changed places with Chicago, dropping the White Sox into last place in the AL Central by 1/2 game.

National League

Daniel Descalso
The St. Louis Cardinals managed to cool off the Florida Marlins, for one game, at least, but the win came courtesy of a sparsely-used utility infielder who had the good fortune of hitting his first major league home run at an opportune time.

Daniel Descalso had already reached base on an error and scored, singled and walked in three previous plate appearances, but came to bat with two outs and runners on first and second in the bottom of the 7th inning and the Cardinals down 5-4.

Clay Hensley was summoned from the bullpen and Descalso greeted him with a three-run blast to right field that put the Cardinals ahead for good. The St. Louis bullpen finished up the job with two innings of hitless ball and the Cards won, 7-5.

A rookie, Descalso played in 11 games last season with the Cardinals and has been more active this season, getting into 26 games. He's batting .237 with 9 RBI and now, one memorable home run.

STREAKING: 29 straight is the number of games that Andre Ethier has hit safely, extending the longest hitting streak in the majors Tuesday night with an RBI single in four at-bats in a 4-1 loss to the Cubs.

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