Sunday, July 28, 2013

Chris Archer Deals Two-Hit Shutout as Rays Down Yanks, 1-0; Pittsburgh's Neil Walker Keeps Pirates Close in NL Central

Players of the Day for Saturday, July 27, 2013

American League

Archer: 2-hit Shutout
On a mid-summer Saturday that produced seven games in which one team did not score a single run, the best performance of the day was turned in by Tampa Bay starter, Chris Archer, who gutted out a 1-0 victory over the Yankees with a two-hit shutout that kept the Rays in first place by a tenuous 1/2 game over the Red Sox.

Archer (6-3) won his fifth straight, and the shutout was the fourth win in his last four starts and second this season at Yankee Stadium. He last beat the Yankees on June 23, giving up one earned run over six innings in a 3-1 Rays win.

In both of his wins against the Yankees, Archer was opposed by Ivan Nova, who also pitched superbly, allowing just one earned run on six hits in seven innings.

Archer was a notch better, however, twirling his second complete game shutout in his last three outings, fanning six without issuing any walks. The North Carolina native threw just 97 pitches - 67 for strikes - to blank the Yanks.

Hitting his marks from the start, Archer set down the first ten batters he faced. Ichiro Suzuki reached on an error with one out in the fourth inning, but was erased by a Rays double play. The Yankees finally got a base hit with one down in the fifth, when Lyle Overbay singled to center. Unfazed after Brett Gardner doubled with two down in the sixth, Archer finished off his shutout by nailing the final ten batters in order.

The loss left the Yankees reeling, eight games behind the Rays in the AL East. With the series tied, 1-1, the teams will settle matters in the rubber game, Sunday at 1:05 pm EDT.

National League

Neil Walker
Much to the dismay of the St. Louis Cardinals, the Pittsburgh Pirates will not go away.

Pittsburgh crept to within 1 1/2 games of the NL Central-leading Cards with a 7-4 victory over Miami on Saturday, while Atlanta was issuing a 2-0 blanking of St. Louis.

Neil Walker spearheaded the Pirates' attack, driving in the first run of the game with a first-inning double and later scoring as the Pirates built a 3-0 lead.

After Miami made the score 3-1, Walker singled and scored as part of a two-run third inning and squelched another attempted rally by the Marlins when he doubled in another run in the sixth after Miami had cut the lead to 5-4. Pedro Alvarez drove in Andrew McCutchen with the game's final run in the eighth. Walker finished 3-for-5 with two runs and a pair of ribbies.

Pittsburgh is in a good spot even if they don't catch the Cardinals. They have an eight-game lead over Arizona in the wild card race with a 61-41 mark.

The win got the Pirates even in the three-game series, which finishes up Sunday at 1:10 pm EDT in Miami.

Today's Trivia: OK, so who had more career RBI, Ted Williams or Stan Musial? (answer tomorrow)

Yesterday's Answer: While Ted Williams was racking up six AL batting titles from 1941 to 1958, Stan Musial took the NL crown seven times from 1943 to 1957.

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