Saturday, April 14, 2012

Matt Cain One Hit from Perfection in Win over Pirates; Bartolo Colon Goes Seven Scoreless for A's

Players of the Day for Friday, April 13, 2012

American League

38-year-old Bartolo Colon used to be one of baseball's most dominant pitchers. In what appears to be his second coming, he's not quite as overwhelming, but he is winning.

Bartolo Colon
Colon, who made only 19 starts in 2008 and 2009 (seven with Boston and 12 with the White Sox) and missed all of 2012, spent last season on the mound for the Yankees, where he went 8-10 in 26 starts. Having switched coasts in the off-season, Colon has gone 2-1 in three starts with the A's, getting seven solid innings of shutout work in against the Mariners in Friday's 4-0 victory at Seattle.

Colon allowed just three hits - all singles - and a walk, while striking out five, finishing strong by retiring the last ten batters he faced before being lifted after his seven-inning stint.

A pair of relievers - Ryan Cook and Grant Balfour - worked the 8th and 9th to preserve the shutout. The win got the A's to .500 (4-4) and into second place in the AL West, two games behind the Texas Rangers.

National League

San Francisco started the season 1-4, but has won two straight after Matt Cain tossed a one-hit shutout over the visiting Pittsburgh Pirates in a 5-0 Bay area win.
Cain: 1-Hitter

Cain took a perfect game into the sixth inning, but was foiled by James MacDonald's two-out single. Unfazed, Cain struck out the next batter to end the inning and proceeded to get the final nine outs in order after starting the game by putting down the first 17 batters he faced for the complete game shutout.

Without surrendering a walk and striking out 11, Cain earned his first win of the season after allowing six hits and five earned runs in a no-decision loss at Arizona this past Sunday.

Notes: The Giants and everyone else in the division are chasing the Dodgers, who are off to a flying start for their new owners, at 7-1 and in first place in the NL West. Winning their fourth straight - a 9-8 win over San Diego - was record-setting for starter Aaron Harang, who started the game by allowing a leadoff single to Cameron Maybin, but then proceeded to fan the next nine batters he faced, setting a Dodger franchise record for consecutive strikeouts. The previous record of eight had been held by Johnny Podres. Harang lasted 6 1/3 innings, struck out 13, walked two and allowed four runs, but did not receive the decision even though he left with the lead. After the Padres tied the fame with two runs in the ninth, Andre Ethier's bases-loaded walk in the bottom of the inning forced home Mark ellis with the winning score.

One doesn't often see four-way ties for first place in any of baseball's six divisions, but the AL East is currently a four-team deadlock between the Yankees, Rays, Orioles and Blue Jays, all sporting 4-3 records. Left out of the mix is Boston, trailing everybody by two games, with a 2-5 mark.

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