Thursday, June 7, 2012

Brandon Morrow Tosses Two-Hitter at White Sox as AL East Race Tightens; Zach Greinke Fans 12 in 8-0 Brewer Win

Players of the Day for Wednesday, June 6, 2012

American League

Morrow: 2-hit shutout
The Toronto Blue Jays are in fourth place in the AL East, but they are only two games back of Baltimore, after Jose Bautista and Rajai Davis each belted home runs in support of Brandon Morrow's two-hit shutout of the White Sox for a 4-0 victory.

Morrow (7-3), Toronto's most effective pitcher this season, threw 78 of 119 pitches for strikes, walked two (both harmlessly in the ninth) and struck out five, at one point retiring 14 straight White Sox would-be hitters.

It was Morrow's third complete game shutout of the season. In six seasons, Morrow had thrown only one prior to this year, that in 2010.

Bautista's 15th home run of the season increased the Toronto lead to 2-0 in the sixth inning, after Colby Rasmus singled home Rajai Davis with the first Blue Jay run, in the fifth. Davis' ninth inning, two-run shot provided a larger cushion, even through Morrow didn't need one.

The Jays trail Baltimore by two games in the division, with the Yankees 1/2 game out, after knocking off the Rays, 4-1, their second straight win over Tampa Bay. The O's topped Boston, 2-1, for their seventh straight win at Fenway Park. Boston, at the bottom of the standings, is four games back. At 28-28, they are the only AL East squad not over .500.

National League

Signs of life are stirring in Milwaukee after Zack Greinke shut down the Cubs on two hits over seven innings, in an 8-0 Milwaukee triumph, evening the three-game series at one apiece. The Cubs took the opener, 10-0 on Tuesday.

Greinke: W, 12 Ks
Milwaukee scored four times in the fourth, adding a single run in the fifth and capped off their scoring on Taylor Green's three-run, pinch hit homer in the bottom of the eighth.

By then, Greinke (7-2) had already turned over the ball to the bullpen, which closed out the Cubs on one hit over the eighth and ninth innings.

Greinke's stuff was lively, as he walked two, but fanned 12, throwing 109 pitches in his seven solid innings, 68 of them for strikes. Greinke's strikeout total reached 81 on the year, one behind league leader Gio Gonzlaez of Washington.

The Brewers remained in fourth place 6 1/2 behind the Central's front-running Reds, as Cincinnati took down second place Pittsburgh, 5-4 and St. Louis took care of Houston, 4-3. The stumbling Cardinals, who lost three-of four to the Mets over the weekend and Monday, are tied with the Pirates, both teams three games out.

Milwaukee, at 25-31, still needs to put together a consistent run to get over .500 and challenge the Reds in the division. They play the Cubs in the series' rubber game at 2:10 pm EDT Thursday afternoon.

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