Thursday, June 27, 2013

A.J. Griffin, R.A. Dickey Toss 2-Hitters for A's, Blue Jays; Neil Walker Homer Helps Pirates Tie Cardinals for NL Central Lead

Players of the Day for Wednesday, June 26, 2013

American League

R.A. Dickey
Toronto's R.A. Dickey and Oakland's A.J. Griffin matched each other Wednesday afternoon, each throwing two-hit shutouts for their respective wins.

A. J. Griffin
In Tampa, Dickey (7-8) used a fluttering knuckleball to baffle would-be Rays hitters, walking one and striking out six in a 3-0 whitewash, Toronto's 12th win in their last 14 outings.

Putting away the first 13 batters he faced, Dickey surrendered a one-out single to James Loney in the fifth, but snuffed him out on a force play. In the sixth, Yunel Escobar singled and was doubled up to end the inning. Desmond Jennings led of the seventh with a walk and stole second (the only Ray to advance past first base) but that was all, as Dickey set down the final nine batters in order.

Toronto avoided being swept in the three-game series with the win.

While Dickey was blanking the Rays, A. J. Griffin was doing the same to the Reds, striking out seven and walking two for a two-hit, 5-0, shutout, the first of his short career.

Walking two of the first three batters he faced, Griffin was off to a rocky start, but settled in, giving up hits in the fifth and seventh, and getting the final seven outs in order, evening his record at 6-6.

Griffin threw 73 of 108 pitches for strikes and fanned Reds' right fielder, Jay Bruce, four times.

The win kept the A's tied with Texas for first place in the AL West.

National League

Neil Walker
Pittsburgh won its sixth straight with a 4-2 win at Seattle, catching the St. Louis Cardinals for first place in the NL Central in the process.

The Bucs improved to 48-30 on the season, tying St. Louis with the best record n the majors, atop the division. Pittsburgh has not been this many games over .500 since 1992, their last winning season.

To get to where they are, the Pirates had to overthrow a king, that being "King" Felix Hernandez, the ace of the Seattle staff and the 2011 AL Cy Young Award recipient, who fanned 11 over seven inning and did not figure in the decision. Neil Walker's fourth-inning, two-run homer gave the Pirates the lead, but Seattle scored single runs in the bottom of the fourth and seventh to tie the game at 2-all. Pittsburgh rallied for a pair of runs in the ninth off Seattle relievers, the final run coming on a wild pitch by Yoervis Medina.

Walker added a single to go 2-for-4 with two RBI.

Pittsburgh took both games in Seattle, finishing off their nine-game road trip with a 7-2 mark. After a day off Thursday, they open a home stand with three games against the last place Milwaukee Brewers.

Today's Trivia: Only once has a player from the Toronto Blue Jays won the AL MVP award. Who was it and in what year did he win it? (answer tomorrow)

Yesterday's Answer: Pete Rose took home his only NL MVP Award in 1973.

No comments: