Friday, August 21, 2015

Tampa Bay's Chris Archer, Detroit's Alfredo Simon Hurl Matching One-Hitters

Players of the Day for Thursday, August 20, 2015

American League

Alfredo Simon
Chris Archer
With Alfredo Simon's 1-Hit shutout of the Rangers, the Detroit Tigers find themselves just 3 1/2 games behind the LA Angels for the second wild card slot in the American League.

Detroit's 4-0 win came in the opener of a four-game series in Detroit and was the Tigers' third straight victory, having taken down the Cubs in a two-game set earlier in the week.

While the wins over the Cubs were largely due to an offensive explosion - of which the Tigers are supremely capable - Thursday's win was the product of Simon's dominance from the mound, in which he did not allow a base hit until Rougned Odor's double with two outs in the fifth inning. After walking Will Venable, putting runners at first and second, Simon got out of trouble by striking out Chris Gimenez, one of five strikeouts on the night.

In the sixth, Simon walked Shin-Soo-Choo, but he was erased by an inning-ending double play, after which Simon completed the game without allowing another hit.

The Tigers made up a game on the Angels, who lost to the White Sox, 8-2. Detroit continues its homestead with game two of the series with the Rangers, Friday at 7:08 pm EDT.

American League

Since there were no notable National League performances on Thursday, Tampa Bay's 1-0 win over Houston deserves notice, as Chris Archer twirled a one-hitter against the Astros.

As solid as he's been most of the season - despite the obvious lack of run support from the light-hitting Rays - Archer improved to 11-9 on the year, walking the first batter he faced, Jose Altuve (eventually thrown out at second trying to steal to end the inning), but not allowing a hit or a baserunner until Colby Rasmus singled to open the fifth inning.

Following the only hit of the game for Houston, Archer set down the next 15 Astros in order to complete his first shutout of the season.

Having a memorable season, Archer's 2.77 ERA is fifth-best in the league, and his 205 strikeouts are second only to Cleveland's Chris Sale, who has 208.

The win left the Rays 8 1/2 out in the AL East, and just three games behind the Angels in the race for the second wild card.

Tampa Bay's ten-game road trip continues Friday when they open a three-game series with the A's. Game time is 7:05 PDT.

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