Justin Verlander just missed throwing his third career no-hitter last night. He took it into the ninth, and got one out, when Josh Harrison (of the .256 average and .273 OBP) smacked one back through the box up the middle for a single. You can count the number of pitchers who have more than two no hitters on one hand (or slightly more than one hand), but Verlander came tanalizingly close. Man, he’s good.
Game of the Night: Orioles 2, Nationals 1 (11 innings). A contender for the series spotlight, and this game lived up to the hype. Orioles starter Jake Arrieta went seven innings and allowed just the one run on six hits, walking one and striking out nine. HE GOT A NO DECISION. Not to be outdone, Nationals starter Edwin Jackson allowed one run over eight innings on five hits, walking one and striking out eight. HE GOT A NO DECISION. This one came down to the bullpens, and Washington’s cracked first. Nick Markakis homered off of Ryan Mattheus in the eleventh. Pedro Strop shut down the Nationals in the bottom of the inning, and that was game. Three Nationals starters had two hit games: Ian Desmond, Ryan Zimmerman, and Bryce Harper, with Harper also adding a walk to his statline. Three Orioles also had multi-hit games: Xavier Avery, Markakis, and Adam Jones. Great win for the Orioles.
Pitching Line of the Night: I already mentioned the great starts from Arrieta, Jackson, and Verlander, but didn’t tell you Verlander’s line: nine inning shutout, one hit, two walks, and 12 strikeouts. Good god. Kevin Millwood of the Mariners threw a complete game shutout at Coors Field, allowing two hits, one walk, and seven strikeouts against a pretty good Rockies lineup. Andy Pettite’s second start this year was a success, going eight shutout against the Reds, allowing four hits, one walk, and nine strikeouts. Last night was a GREAT night for pitching.
Hitting Line of the Night: JP Arencibia of the Blue Jays helped put it on the Mets, going 3/5 with three runs, six RBI, and two homers. Arencibia’s teammate Rajai Davis also had hiimself a day, going 2/4 with a pair of homers and four RBI out of the nine-spot in Toronto’s lineup. Light-hitting A’s third baseman Josh Donaldson had the offensive game of his life, going 3/4 with a double, a homer, and five RBI.
Spotlight Series: The Braves beat the Rays 5-3 in a game that Atlanta broke open in the middle innings. Atlanta scored two early runs, while the Rays countered with two of their own. Freddie Freeman doubled in a run in the fifth, and Brian McCann singled Freeman home to make it a 4-2 Braves lead. The Braves tacked another one on in the seventh on a Martin Prado solo homer. A Luke Scott RBI single in the eighth made it a 5-3 game, but Craig Kimbrel finished off the Rays in the ninth to give Atlanta the win. Braves starter Tommy Hanson wasn’t great, but effective. He went seven innings (tied for his season best), and allowed the two runs on six hits, walking two and striking out only three. Rays starter James Shields went six and allowed four runs on seven hits, walking three and striking out eight. For the Braves on offense, Martin Prado went 2/4 with three runs scored, that solo homer, and a walk. Freeman had a pair of hits and drove in two. Brian McCann also had a two hit game, while Jason Heyward singled and walked. Chipper Jones got hit in the ankle with a rough grounder in the early innings, and was eventually removed late. Luke Scott was the Rays offensive star of the day, going 3/3 with two RBI.
Other Games: SHRIMP ALERT in Los Angeles, as AJ Ellis walk-off walked on the Cardinals. The White Sox edged the Cubs 3-2 in an emotional game at Wrigley. A great start from Carlos Zambrano led the Marlins to a 3-2 win over the Indians. The Tigers dominated the Pirates 6-0. The Phillies beat the Red Sox 6-4 in a game that saw five homers hit. The Yankees shut out the Reds 4-0. The Blue Jays destroyed the Mets 14-5, hitting five homers in the process. The Rangers controlled the Astros in a 4-1 win. The Twins beat the Brewers 11-3, and Scott Diamond is 3-0. The Diamondbacks used a late rally to beat the Royals 6-4. The Mariners shut out the Rockies 4-0. Jered Weaver dominated the Padres en route to a 7-2 win. The Giants put some offense on the board against Jarrod Parker, and beat the A’s 8-6.
Today’s Games: Jake Westbrook vs Clayton Kershaw at Dodger Stadium tonight. The enigmatic Brandon Morrow starts for the Blue Jays against the Mets. Christian Friedrich gets another pathetic offense to feast on, this time, the Mariners. AJ Burnett vs Drew Smyly is a fantastic matchup in Detroit. Ryan Dempster starts for the Cubs against the White Sox. Ian Kennedy and Bruce Chen will duel in Kansas City. Jason Hammel and Ross Detweiler will go at it in the Beltway Series. Jon Lester will take on Joe Blanton in Philadelphia. Dan Haren will go for the Angels in San Diego.
Enjoy your day of baseball, everyone.