Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Kris Medlen Goes Full Nine as Atlanta Stops Rockies; Joe Saunders Hurls O's to Victory over Blue Jays

Players of the Day for Monday, September 3, 2011

American League

A week ago, the Baltimore Orioles plucked Joe Saunders away from the Arizona Diamondbacks, giving up reliever Matt Lindstrom and either cash considerations or a player to be named later.

In his second start with the O's, Saunders proved his value, tossing a perfect game over the first 5 2/3 innings and eventually picking up the win, as the Orioles downed the Blue Jays, 4-0, moving to within one game of East division-leading New York.

Joe Saunders
The Yankees lost a crucial 4-3 contest to the Rays, who are also closing in, just 2 1/2 out.

Saunders was perfect from the mound until allowing a single by Toronto's Adeiny Hechavarria, followed by a walk to Rajai Davis, but managed to fan Colby Rasmus to end the inning.

Gassed after throwing 96 pitches, Saunders left the game with one out and the bases full in the seventh, but was bailed out by Luis Ayala, who calmly surrendered the next two Blue Jays to end the threat with the O's up by a 3-0 score.

Saunders finished up throwing 6 1/3 innings, allowing three hits, walking two and striking out a pair. After Ayala's work in the seventh, two O's relievers shut the Blue Jays down the final two innings without a single hit.

J.J. Hardy, who had already doubled in one run, singled home another in the 8th to complete the scoring.

The O's and Jays continue their series in Toronto Tuesday and Wednesday, while the Yanks and Rays battle in Tampa. On Thursday, the Orioles head to New York to open a four game series with the Yankees.

National League

Atlanta continues to hold the #1 wild card spot, three clear of St. Louis, after Kris Medlen improved to 7-1 with a complete game, 6-1, victory over the Rockies.
Kris Medlen

Having done most of his work out of the bullpen, Medlen earned his second complete game of the season in just seven starts, stifling Colorado on five hits, striking out 12 without a walk.

The lone Colorado run was unearned, as Carlos Conzalez scored off Paul Janish's throwing error in the seventh. Otherwise, Medlen was supreme from the mound, throwing 85 of 111 pitches for strikes.

While the Braves keep winning, so too the Nationals, who continue to lead the NL East by 6 1/2 games over Atlanta. With the best record in baseball, at 82-52, the Nats seem assured of taking the division, though the Braves also look like a solid bet to reach the post-season as a wild card.

Having captured the opener, the Braves continue their four game series in Colorado through Thursday.

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