Saturday, July 15, 2017

Sonny Gray's 6 Innings Of Shutout Ball Lead A's Over Indians; Gio Gonzalez, Bryce Harper Lead Nats Past Reds

Players of the Day for Friday, July 14, 2017

American League

Friday saw the the major leagues finally back in action after the extended, four-day, all-star break and the activity was much the same as prior to the mid-summer classic.

Sonny Gray: 6 scoreless
All but one of the six division leaders were winners on the day, the except being the Cleveland Indians, who were stopped cold in Oakland by A's starter, Sonny Gray who improved to 5-4 in a 5-0 whitewash.

Gray did not go the distance, throwing exactly 100 pitches over six full innings of work. The 27-year-old right-hander issued one walk in the opening inning, and only got into a little trouble in the third, when he allowed the only two hits - both singles - the Indians would get off him.

With the score already 4-0 in favor of the A's, Gray took a seat and turned the ball over to the bullpen. Ryan Madsen, Sean Dolittle, and Santiago Casilla each tossed an inning in relief, allowing just two hits over the final three innings, fanning six while not allowing any walks.

The A's stand at 40-50, well out of the runaway race in the AL West. Cleveland remained in first place in the Central, 2 1/2 to the good over Minnesota, 10-5 losers at Houston.

Game two of the three-game series is slated for 6:00 pm PT, Saturday in Oakland.

National League

Gonzalez: 8 1/3 scoreless
Leading the NL East, the Washington Nationals finished the first half of the season on a high note, winning for the fifth time in seven games with a 10-5 victory over their closest pursuer, Atlanta, on Sunday.

Apparently, the four-day all-star break didn't hurt, as the Nationals opened the second half with a 5-0 shutout at Cincinnati.

Harper: 2 HR, 3 RBI
The Reds were stymied for 8 1/3 innings by Gio Gonzalez, who had his best outing of the season, giving up four hits and a pair of walks, striking out six. Improving to 8-4, Gonzalez is having a whale of a season, despite a lack of hitting support when he's on the mound. Six times this season, he's allowed one earned run or less and either took the loss or received no decision. Gonzalez has the third-best ERA in the NL, 2.66, and a 1.19 WHIP (11th).

On Friday, he had Bryce Harper to thank, as the all-star right fielder socked a pair of home runs (21, 22) scored three times and drove in three. Harper is tied with Joey Votto and Paul Goldschmidt with 68 RBI, third in the league behind Marcell Ozuna and Nolan Arenado, each with 70.

The Nationals retained their 9 1/2 game lead over Atlanta while the Reds dropped further behind in the NL Central, in last place, 10 1/2 games behind Milwaukee.

Game two of the four-game series is Saturday, 7:10 pm ET in Cincinnati.

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