Thursday, August 8, 2013

Mets' Matt Harvey Blanks Rockies for 1st Career Shutout; Rangers Tie A's in AL West as Adrian Beltre Leads 16-Hit Attack

Players of the Day for Wednesday, August 7, 2013

American League

Beltre: 3-4, HR, 3RBI
Nearing the end of July, the Oakland A's had opened up a six-game lead on the Texas Rangers in the AL West. That's all forgotten now, as the Rangers have won nine of their last ten, and, since July 29, the A's have lost six of their last seven, leaving the two teams dead even in the division.

While Oakland can barely escape blaming themselves, they got no help from the LA Angels, now in fourth place after being whipped six straight times by the Rangers since the All Star break, including the just-completed three-game sweep in LA, culminating in the Rangers' 10-3 win in the three-game series sweep.

Having possibly the best season of his 16-year major league career, Adrian Beltre led the Rangers' 16-hit attack on five Angel hurlers with a 3-for-4 effort, including his 25th home run of the season, a sixth-inning, two-run blast that put the Rangers up by a 7-2 score, essentially putting the game out of reach.

Beltre had a pair of singles to go with his homer, drove in three runs and scored four times. He has 70 RBI, tied for ninth in the league, with a .319 batting average, fourth best in the AL. His 25 homers have him tied for sixth with Jose Bautista and Mark Trumbo, though far behind Chris Davis' 41 dingers.

After a day off Thursday, both Oakland and Texas will have the opportunity to beat up on last-place teams. Texas opens a four-game series at Houston on Friday, while the A's visit Toronto for four.

National League

Harvey: 4-hit shutout
While the Braves were completing their three-game sweep of the Washington Nationals, opening up a 13 1/2 game lead in the NL East with a 6-3 win, Matt Harvey got the Mets into sole possession of third place in the division with a four-hit shutout of the Rockies in a 5-0 victory.

Harvey (9-3) fanned six and did not walk a batter, throwing 78 of 106 pitches for strikes. From the fourth through the eighth inning, Harvey set down 11 straight Rockies, who did not get a runner to second base until there were two outs in the ninth, when Charlie Blackmon singled and took second on fielder's indifference. Harvey induced a pop-up from troy Tulowitzki to end the game, the rookie hurler's first career complete game and shutout.

The six Ks also extended Harvey's lead in the strikeout category. He has 178, 12 better than LA's Clayton Kershaw. Harvey is also among the leaders in ERA. At 2.09, he is second to Kershaw's outstanding 1.91.

The win was the Mets' second straight over the Rockies. They will go for the sweep in a day-game finale at 12:10 pm EDT at Citi Field in New York.

Today's Trivia: From 1954 to 1963, the AL MVP award went to a Yankee player eight times over the 10-year span. Who were the four Yankee players who won MVP awards in those years? (answer tomorrow)

Yesterday's Answer: In 1979, the NL MVP award was a tie between the Mets' Keith Hernandez and Pittsburgh's Willie Stargell.

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