Thursday, August 3, 2017

Twins Win, 5-2, As Ervin Santana Tosses 5th Complete Game; Vance Worley, Dee Gordon Lead Marlins Past Nats

Players of the Day for Wednesday, August 2, 2017

American League

There were not many runs scored on Wednesday, with 12 of 28 teams on MLB fields scoring two or fewer runs and six of those teams not scoring at all.

Santana's 5 CGs Leads MLB
Of all these low-scoring games, in only one did a starting pitcher go the entire distance, that being Minnesota's Ervin Santana, in the Twins' 5-2 victory at San Diego.

The complete game was Santana's fifth of the season, which is three more than any other pitcher in the league. While there are probably a couple dozen starters who could pitch a full nine innings, the nature of baseball in the age of numbers, studies, and career protection, few do. Santana is a throwback to the 60s, when complete games were the norm rather than the oddity.

In the win over the Padres, Santana allowed four hits and two runs, both of them coming off the bat of Jose Pirela, who socked a two-run homer in the fourth inning. That didn't faze Santana, who set down the first ten batters faced in order before surrendering a single prior to Pirela's homer.

After that, it was lights out for the Padres, able to muster only two hits and a walk the rest of the way. Santana finished with nine strikeouts on 110 pitches, 82 of which were strikes. At 12-7 with a 3.28 ERA, Santana is one of the leading causes for Minnesota's success this season. They've cooled off since the break (6-11), and trail Cleveland in the AL Central by six games.

Worley: 7 IP, 2 H, 0 ER
The Twins head to home Thursday for the opener of a four-game series with the Rangers. Game one starts at 8:10 pm ET.

National League

Even though the Washington Nationals lead the NL East by 12 games, the division race is far from over, according to the Miami Marlins.

Miami took the final two games of their three-game series with the visiting Nationals, winning the finale, 7-0, as Vance Worley made the most of his spot start, flinging seven innings of shutout ball on two hits for the win and leadoff hitter Dee Gordon went 3-for-4 with two singles, a triple, two stolen bases, three runs and an RBI.

Gordon: 3-4, 3 R, 2 SB
On Tuesday, the Marlins erased a 6-0 win to take the game, 7-6. Washington starter, Max Scherzer, went just one inning, but also homered in his only at-bat, belting a three-run shot. Scherzer didn't take the mound for the second inning, complaining of stiffness in his neck. He expects to make his next start and is set to see a chiropractor this week. Stephen Strasburg is already on the DL and the Nationals cannot afford to lose Scherzer as well for any extended period.

In Wednesday's series finale, Worley allowed a first-inning single to Howie Kendrick, but got out of the frame on a double play. After that, he allowed just one more hit and didn't give up any walks. No Washington batter reached second base with Worley on the mound.

Meanwhile, Gordon was running wild. He walked and scored in the first inning, singled and stole second in the third, tripled and scored in the fifth, singled in a run in the sixth, stole second and scored again.

Gordon is batting an even .300, has scored 71 runs, tied for fifth in the NL, and his 40 steals is second league-wide to Cincinnati's Billy Hamilton (44). Worley is 1-2 with a 5.31 ERA in 14 appearances, six of them starts.

The Marlins head to Atlanta for a three-game series with the Braves starting Friday. On Monday, they'll open a four-game series in Washington. The Nationals open a three-game series with the Cubs in Chicago on Friday.

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