Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Gio Gonzalez Takes No-Hitter To 9th For Nationals; Jake Marisnick's 2 HR, 5 RBI Power Houston's 14-7 Win

Players of the Day for Monday, July 31, 2017

American League

Just in case Josh Reddick isn't the clear choice in center field, Houston manager A.J. Hinch has a solid substitute at the ready in Jake Marisnick, a fifth-year outfielder acquired by the Astros from the Marlins in 2014.

Marisnick: 2HR, 5 RBI
It's not that the Astros need more hitters in their already packed lineup - they lead the majors with an incredible .292 team mark, the closest to them in the AL being the Yankees, at .262 - but they appear to have one in Marisnick, who belted a pair of home runs and a double, driving in five runs as Houston hammered visiting Tampa Bay, 14-7.

Houston had already taken a 4-2 lead in the third inning when Marisnick launched his first home run, a 414 blast to left, plating three. Houston scored five runs in the inning. In the fifth, Marisnick homered again, ripping a solo shot down the left field line. In the eighth, he doubled in another run and scored for the fourth time, finishing the night with an impressive line: 3-for-4, four runs, five RBI.

Marisnick is not exactly an unknown quantity, having his best year as a pro, with a .259 batting average, 13 homers, 31 RBI in 162 at-bats.

Houston has been pounding their opponents all season long, leading the AL in hits (1073), runs (623), doubles (234), home runs (172), total bases (1847) and RBI (593). Monday's win was the 17th time they've scored 10 or more runs and the seventh time in July. They lead the LA West by an insurmountable 16 games over Seattle, the only other team in the division with a winning record (54-53). Playing at their current pace, the Astros could clinch the division as early as September 10.

Game two of the three-game series in Houston is Tuesday at 8:10 pm ET.

National League

Gonzalez: No-hitter thru 8
Washington's Gio Gonzalez took a no-hitter into the ninth inning at Miami, but surrendered a single to the leadoff hitter, Dee Gordon, and was relieved by Sean Doolittle to finish the 1-0 win for the Nationals.

Despite not giving up a hit for eight full innings, Gonzalez was far from perfect, walking batters in the first, second and seventh innings, and hitting Miguel Rojas with a pitch in the eighth. Still, no Miami baserunner advanced past first base, Gonzalez inducing a number of ground out fielder's choices to keep the Marlins on their heels. He was also assisted by one double play turned by the Nationals.

Gonzalez fanned five, throwing 67 of 106 pitches for strikes, improving his record to 9-5 on the year. Doolittle earned his fourth save in efficient manner, throwing nine pitches - eight for strikes - to four batters. He gave up one hit, but made quick work of the other three batters.

Washington's win came in the opener of a three game series in Miami, sending the Marlins back another game in the standings. Miami trails the Nationals by 14 games in the NL East.

Game two is scheduled for a 7:10 pm start on Tuesday.

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