Sunday, June 3, 2012

Brian Matusz Hurls Baltimore Back into Tie for First; R.A. Dickey Shuts Out Cardinals

Players of the Day for Saturday, June 2, 2012

American League

With all five teams over .500 and within three games of each other, no division in the AL is more competitive than the East, where Baltimore tied Tampa Bay for first place with a gutty, 2-1 win over the Rays at Tropicana Field in Tampa.

Baltimore starter Brian Matusz evened his record at 5-5, giving up just two hits over 7 1/3 innings, and got little help from Tampa Bay when the Orioles scored the eventual game winner on a wild throw by third baseman Drew Sutton that allowed Mark Reynolds to trot home from third.

Brian Matusz
Matusz, who walked three but struck out seven, worked a no-hitter through four, but allowed the Rays' only run of the game in the fifth, when Sean Rodriguez doubled to lead off the inning and scored two batters later when Sutton reached on a fielder's choice. Matusz fanned the next two batters to get out of the inning and was lifted in the eighth with two aboard on an error and a walk.

The Orioles' relief staff did its job, though. Pedro Strop advanced the runners on a wild pitch, but then got Ben Zobrist to ground into an inning-ending double play after walking B.J. Upton to load the bases.

Jim Johnson delivered a flawless ninth inning to earn his 17th save of the season, tying him with Tampa's Fernando Rodney and Cleveland's Chris Perez for the most in the American League.

National League

R.A. Dickey: 8-1
R.A. Dickey used his trademark knuckleball to baffle Cardinals' hitters in a complete game win as the Mets stopped St. Louis cold in a 9-0 win, a day after Johan Santana punched out the Cards with a no-hitter.

Dickey scattered seven hits over his nine innings, but didn't walk a single batter while whiffing nine. He also aided his own cause when he reached on a bases-loaded error in the bottom of the second. The Mets tallied three runs in the inning, more than enough for Dickey to earn his 8th win against one loss, tying him with Philly's Cole Hamels and the Cardinals' Lance Lynn for the most in the majors.

The victory - the second straight over the Cardinals in the first two games of their four-game series - left the Mets tied for second with Miami, one game behind Washington in the NL East, as the Marlins topped the Philles, 5-4, and the Nats took down Atlanta, 2-0. Stephen Strassberg shut out the Braves over seven innings, striking out nine, for his sixth win.

The win was Dickey's first complete game and first shutout of the season. He has five complete games on his career MLB record, with three shutouts.

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