When you think of dominant pitchers who have the ability to strike out nine batters in a row, I bet one of the last names that would pop up into your mind is Aaron Harang. Yet last night, as the Dodgers took on the Padres, Harang struck out nine Padres in a row, and a total of 12 over 6 1/3 innings in Los Angeles’s 9-8 win. Of course, Harang didn’t get credit for a win *or* a quality start last night (despite 13 strikeouts and two walks over a 19 out period). The all-time record for consecutive strikeouts is ten, held by Tom Seaver and set against the Padres. And Harang came one batter shy of that mark. You know, Aaron Harang with the 7.43 career strikeout rate. That makes sense.
Game of the Night: Orioles 7, Blue Jays 5. This game was wild. The teams combined for seven homers, and they were all of the solo variety. The Blue Jays blew 4-3 and 5-4 leads, with Baltimore taking the lead in the eighth on a two-run single by Wilson Betemit, and adding an insurance run on a Nolan Reimold homer. It’s funny though, that even wit the FIP killing homers everywhere, the starting pitchers….didn’t do that bad. Tommy Hunter allowed four earned (and five total) in six innings, walking two and striking out two. His four homers allowed will make that line look a lot worse in the morning. As for his counterpart Brandon Morrow, he allowed four earned in seven innings, walking one and striking out four. He only allowed two homers, though. Offensively, no Blue Jays player had more than one hit, but across the diamond, the Orioles featured a pair of three hit players in Adam Jones and Reimold, both of whom also homered for the team.
Pitching Line of the Night: Matt Cain threw a one hit shutout of the Pirates, and struck out 11 in the process. The only thing that stood between him and a perfect game was a single in the sixth inning….by opposing pitcher James McDonald. That one has to hurt. In New York, Hiroku Kuroda allowed more than one baserunner for the Yankees, but threw eight shutout innings, striking out six while walking two on five hits.
Hitting Line of the Night: Brian McCann had largely struggled for the Braves this season…until Friday night. The all-world catcher went 4/5 and fell just a triple short of the cycle. McCann drove in four runs, and stole a base for good measure. Yeah, I’m sure he’ll take a night like that to get back on track. Boston catcher (and former Ray) Kelly Shoppach also had a good game, going 3/4 with three runs, two RBI, a pair of doubles, and a stolen base. Catchers stealing bases….what is the world coming too?
Spotlight Series: I’m a jackass and didn’t write one up this weekend, because quite frankly, I forgot. Another one will be here next week.
Other Games: The Red Sox pounded the Rays, but lost Jacoby Ellsbury in the process. The Yankees shut out the Angels 5-0. The Cubs ruined the Cardinals raising of their 11th World Championship banner with a 9-5 victory. Cain’s efforts gave the Giants a 5-0 victory versus Pittsburgh. The White Sox used a solid start from Jake Peavy to outlast the Tigers 5-2. The Indians got seven in the first and beat the Royals 8-3. The Nationals needed 13 innings, but beat the Reds 2-1. RA Dickey outdueled Cliff Lee, and the Mets beat the Phillies 5-2. The Marlins got a 5-4 win over the Astros in the weekend opening of Marlins Park. Matt Harrison limited the Twins to one run, and the Rangers won 4-1. The Braves blew a five run lead, but still beat the Brewers 10-8. The A’s shut out the Mariners 4-0 in what seems like the 18th game between the teams this season. The Rockies battled back to beat the Diamondbacks 7-6. The Dodgers beat the Padres 9-8 after a walk-off walk.
Today’s Games: CJ Wilson and Phil Hughes is a solid matchup in New York. Yu Darvish makes his first road start of his career, and it’ll be in Minnesota. Jeremy Hellickson will rebound from getting plunked in BP the other day, and will take on Clay Buchholz in Boston. Shaun Marcum and Mike Minor is a pretty solid matchup in Atlanta. Carlos Zambrano makes his home Marlins debut against Bud Norris of the Astros.
Enjoy your day of baseball, everyone.