Sunday, September 4, 2011

Brandon McCarthy Shuts Out Mariners on Three Hits; Pirates Win On Grand Slam by Derrick Lee

Players of the Day for Saturday, September 3, 2011

American League

Brandon McCarthy
While the teams vying for post-season play were busy beating each other's brains out, one of the best pitching performances of the season was taking place in Oakland, where starter Brandon McCarthy pitched his fourth complete game and first shutout of the season in Oakland's 3-0 victory over the Seattle Mariners.

McCarthy, who went on the disabled list back on May 18 with a 1-4 record, has come back in the second half to win seven of ten decisions. He was re-activated on the 4th of July, losing to the Mariners, 2-1, but earned wins in his next four decisions.

This was McCarthy's third start of the season against Seattle, and this time he left nothing to chance, setting down the first 11 batters in order, finishing with a 3-hit shutout, walking none while whiffing 10. The win avenged an April 21 loss to the Mariners, where he was out-dueled by M's starter Felix Hernandez in a 1-0 loss.

McCarthy (8-7) threw 114 pitches - 78 for strikes - lowering his ERA to a respectable 3.41.

National League

The season's second half hasn't been particularly pleasant for the Pittsburgh Pirates, but for the Cubs, Saturday's 7-5 loss was a reminder of just how bad their who year has been.

Derrek Lee
Leading 5-3 heading into the 9th, the Cubs called on closer Carlos Marmol to finish things up, but Marmol proceeded to make a mess of his opportunity, getting two outs but allowing a single and two walks to load the bases for former Cub, Derrek Lee, who drove one over the ivy in left field for a game-winning grand slam.

The shot was sweet for Lee, who also singled twice in five at-bats, because it was his first game back from the DL, which was caused by being hit on the wrist by Marmol back on August 3rd. Lee drove in the Pirates' first run of the game with a single in the 1st inning. He had five RBI for the game.

The Pirates acquired Lee from the Orioles at the end of July, when they were still in the hunt in the NL Central division, but they sorely missed his bat after Lee played just five games with them.

For Marmol, it was his 9th blown save of the season, tops in the majors.

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