Friday game notes: Petit larceny
@Giants 3, D-backs 0 — “It breaks your heart. It is designed to break your heart.” Yusmeiro Petit’s 2-and-2 slider just missed the back door, said Phil Cuzzi, and the pinch-hitter Eric Chavez then lined a full-count fastball into right field. When it fell inches in front of Hunter Pence’s desperate lunge, Petit fell short — by one out, one strike, one sliding catch — of the 24th perfect game in major-league history.
The 28-year-old right-hander with just 12 career wins controlled his emotions, and finished his first shutout on just two more pitches, getting an easy grounder to third base. It’s the eighth complete game of one hit or less this season, and the first since teammate Tim Lincecum’s no-hitter just before the All-Star break. Petit threw 69 strikes in 95 pitches, with just one 2-and-0 count before the 9th. He’s won all three of his starts this year, with a 2.01 ERA and 30 strikeouts in 26 total innings, just 4 walks.
Petit had been down this road before, in the other uniform, and he had struck out 10 Snakes in last outing. But he had never gone more than eight innings. Tonight, he got through the 7th on just 65 pitches, and was still pouring smoke in the 8th, getting a four-pitch strikeout, an overmatched pop-up, and a weak roller by Miguel Montero, ending a tough at-bat that saw Petit’s first three-ball count. Pence homered in the last of the 8th, adding to Petit’s cushion and completing his own perfect night at the plate (3 for 3 plus a double, scored all 3 runs). In the 9th, Chris Owings whiffed on three straight swings. Gerardo Parra attacked a 2-and-0 fastball, but grounded hard straight to 2B Marco Scutaro. Chavez batted for pitcher Patrick Corbin (CG loss), and watched two balls, then two strikes, before the climax.
- Heck of a night for Hector Sanchez, too, in his 70th career start under the mask: 3 for 3, with a 2-out RBI.
- There have been at least two other no-hitters broken up in the 9th this year: Yu Darvish on April 2 (single by Marwin Gonzalez spoiled a perfect game with 2 outs; Darvish left after 111 pitches), and Anibal Sanchez on May 24 (single by Joe Mauer with one out; Sanchez struck out the other three in the 9th). Julio Teheran lost one with 2 outs in the 8th.
- It’s the 5th time this year that a pitcher went 9 innings with one baserunner or less, including Homer Bailey’s no-hitter (walk in the 7th). Jon Lester gave up a hit in the 6th and retired everyone else, and Matt Harvey did the same with an infield hit in the 7th (game went extras). And Shelby Miller gave up a leadoff single, then set down 27 straight.
@Reds 3, Dodgers 2 — Joey Votto’s 2-out, 2-run shot off a lefty put the Reds on top in the 5th, an inning that opened with a 4-pitch walk to Mike Leake. The righty worked into the 8th and matched a career best with his 12th win, allowing 3 singles and no runs after Hanley’s bomb in the 1st. Aroldis Chapman faced a gantlet of power threats in the 9th (Puig, A-Gon and Hanley), and blew smoke past each one — one foul, seven misses, three whiffs.
@Cardinals 12, Pirates 8 — The St. Louis 3rd began with the top of the order going triple, double, double, double, and that foursome kept up the rhythm all game. Matt Carpenter, Jon Jay, Carlos Beltran and Matt Holliday reached 11 times in 16 trips, 8 ribbies, 7 runs — plus two more scored by their pinch-runners when #5 Yadi finally joined the party. His 3-run shot capped a 7-run 7th, all with no outs, building a 12-1 lead. The Bucs won a small victory by scoring 7 late runs to trigger the cheese-save for Edward Mujica.
- Joe Kelly kept rolling along. Eleven men reached base in his 6 innings, but only one scored, enhancing his .156 BA with men in scoring position. Kelly Siegrist turned in his usual perfect inning, fanning McCutchen and Morneau before the rout came on.
- Carpenter tripled and doubled, reaching 64 extra-base hits — the most since 1930 by a Cardinals middle infielder. (The top spot‘s in no danger, though.) Carpenter leads the majors with 109 runs scored (no one else at 100 yet), and is 4th in NL total bases.
- Are you as exhausted as I am? When this series is done, 14 of the last 41 Cards games will have been against Pittsburgh. The Bucs came in with a 10-6 edge.
Red Sox 12, @Yankees 8 — More cowpie out of the bullpen, and the Yankees are knee-deep in trouble. New York led 8-3 at the start of the 7th, but by the 8th they were sunk. First, Boone Logan tried to clean up Phil Hughes’s latest mess — 3 hits and a walk from 5 batters in his first relief outing, handing full sacks to Logan. David Ortiz whiffed for the 2nd out, and Joe Girardi rolled the dice with Logan on Mike Napoli: One-and-two, full count, foul, foul, slam. Logan was aiming inside but left it way out, and Napoli dropped it on top of the RF wall, just beyond the belated leap of Ichiro (defensive replacement).
In the 8th, Shane Victorino tattooed Preston Claiborne’s slider deep to the seats in left with a man on, his 7th HR in 16 games. Another hit brought Joba into the fray. After passing Papi on purpose to see Napoli, two more walks forced in a run. That got the newbie Matt Dailey warming, but not fast enough — Stephen Drew made it 12-8 with a single, and their second straight bat-around inning.
- Napoli picked up where he left off Thursday, reaching in all 5 trips.
- Logan has run up 12 HRs in 94 IP the last 2 years, and 4 slams in 70 career PAs with the bases loaded — 2 in 6 chances this year. Napoli has 6 slams in 85 career chances, and 3 of 21 this year (10 for 20, 29 RBI).
Early on, there was no Bronx hangover, as New York scored 2 in the 1st and matched that in 3 of the next 4 innings. But their 5th inning ended with Eduardo Nunez thrown out at 3rd on an RBI single, and they went hitless thereafter.
- Alfonso Soriano’s 2-run homer off Felix Doubront was #30 this year, and gave him 7 HRs and 20 RBI in just 51 ABs against southpaws since donning pinstripes. He came in with NYY platoon splits of .320/.224 in BA and 1.062/.723 in OPS.
- Sori’s blast followed another walk to Jeter — 8 walks now in 65 PAs, well above his career rate, although he’s not hitting at all (11-59).
- Will Middlebrooks homered for the 3rd game in a row. He’s batting .350 since coming back from the minors (28-80).
@Orioles 4, White Sox 0 — Scott Feldman bagged his first shutout, the first by an Oriole since last June, holding the ChiSox to 5 singles and getting the last 6 outs on just 13 pitches. One man reached 2nd, and Adam Jones threw him out at the plate. Chris Davis had 3 hits and his 48th homer, and Matt Wieters backed that up with his 21st.
- Danny Valencia doesn’t play much, but with 2 for 3 and a homer, he’s 15 for 28 in 8 games from August 4 (3 HRs, 4 doubles), and 15 XBH in 96 ABs this year (.602 SLG).
@Indians 8, Mets 1 — In a meeting of once-and-future phenoms, Scott Kazmir was the man, Zack Wheeler the novice. Kazmir fanned 12 out of 22 batters without a walk, setting his season high in his first time against his original team. He struck out the side in the 6th and left after 97 pitches, just about his average in this comeback season. The Tribe accepted 8 walks, 5 in Wheeler’s 5 innings (3 runs, 2 earned), and Nick Swisher put the matter to rest with a slam in the 8th. Wins by Cleveland and Baltimore pulled both clubs within 2 games of Tampa, who lost in Seattle.
- It’s the 6th searchable game with 12 Ks from no more than 22 batters. Clayton stands alone with 13 of 22; Matt Perisho whiffed 12 of 19. Pedro’s on that list, in his Mets debut. (And they blew it; curse you, Braden Looper!)
@Phillies 2, Braves 1 — Mike Minor was one out from 7 shut-down innings (and with that bullpen, likely his 14th win). But a hit and a homer by Cody Asche gave it to Cliff Lee instead, a just reward for his 8 two-hit innings and 10 strikeouts.
- Andrelton Simmons’s 14th home run ties him for 8th-most by a Braves shortstop. Denis Menke hit 20 in ’64, in Milwaukee; the Atlanta high is 17 by Jeff Blauser,
Tigers 16, @Royals 2 — In their first game since a beat-down in Beantown, Detroit bounced back with 26 hits, one shy of their searchable high, set in K.C. in 2004. Two 5-run innings felled Big-Game James Shields, who was rocked by 14 hits in just 3.2 innings — the most allowed by anyone since last June 28, when Shields also gave 14 to the Tigers. By the 5th inning, #8 batter Omar Infante already had 4 hits, and every Tiger had a knock and a run scored. Infante set new highs with 5 hits and 6 RBI, Andy Dirks with 5 hits and 4 runs.
- In the 2004 game, Infante batted 9th and went 4-for-4 with 3 doubles.
Shields zipped past the Bigs the first time around but found trouble down under, as the 6th through 9th hitters all reached and scored in the 2nd. Miguel Cabrera capped the 5-run frame with his first RBI since August 26. (Chris Davis heard the news and immediately homered.) Six hits off Shields that inning, and 3 more to start off the 3rd with bags full — but Andy Dirks got picked off 3rd base for the 1st out, and the next two went down swinging. Oy!
- Infante’s on pace to fall short of qualifying, but his .328 average would rank 3rd in the AL.
- The last time Tigers teammates had 5+ hits in a game, Bobby Veach was involved.
- Anibal Sanchez gave 1 run in 7 IP, retaining the AL ERA lead at 2.61. Sanchez has allowed 4 total runs in 5 career starts against K.C., but he’s had two 1-0 losses in their park — the only such games in his career.
- Detroit’s other 27-hit outburst was a crafty 18-hit CG by Elam Vangilder over Ruth, Gehrig & Co.
@Marlins 7, Nationals 0 — Through 5 frames, Jose Fernandez had 2 hits at bat, none from the mound. He lost the no-hitter on an infield hit with 1 out in the 6th, then finished off 7 whiz-bang innings by striking out Jayson Werth and Ian Desmond — 9 Ks, 1 hit, and a 2.23 ERA for the year.
- Fernandez tied Kershaw and Kuroda with his 8th scoreless start of six innings-plus. His ERA was 3.78 at the end of May, but 14 of his last 17 starts lowered his ERA from what it was at the time. In his last 7 starts, 6 runs, 23 hits and 58 Ks.
- Zach Walters killed two birds (or maybe some worms) with one stone.
- Another Giancarlo cheap shot.
- Scooter Gennett’s pinch-hit 3-point basket gave him a .913 OPS and 6 HRs in 135 ABs, besting his minor-league power output for not only this year (3 HRs in 321 ABs), but last year as well (5 HRs in 533 ABs). He’s hit all 6 HRs away from Miller Park
Blue Jays 6, @Twins 5 — Minny’s late rush made it close, but a strike-’im-out, throw-’im-out ended it.
- Twins catcher Josmil Pinto went 2-for-4 with his first home run, in the 9th. He’s 9 for 14 in 4 games, including a pinch hit.
- Chris Colabello hit his 7th, plus an RBI single. Am I ever rooting for him….
Astros 3, @Athletics 2 — An error by Yoenis Cespedes cost a run which proved decisive in the end, but his real mistake was mental. With 2 outs, there was no chance at all to throw out speedy L.J. Hoes, scoring from second base on a ground single to left. But Cespedes approached in haste and tried to field the grounder on the run, then raised his gaze before securing the pellet, and the resulting massive deflection let another runner cross. As fate would have it, Cespedes got two shots at late redemption, notably with 2 outs and 2 on in the 8th, but he tapped out against Josh Fields, and so did the A’s.
Brad Peacock started for the 3rd time this year against his former team, and he finally beat them, with 9 Ks in 7 IP and the best Game Score of his career. Peacock and Vic Black are the two players to reach the majors so far from the 2006 41st round. Fields, meanwhile, was the #20 overall pick in 2008, still trying to get established at age 27. Point is, the baseball draft is a crap-shoot.
- Oakland went 9-0 vs. Houston before the Break, but have lost 4 of 7 since, all by one run.
- I forecast a Gold Glove for Sonny Gray someday. The sample is tiny, but 7 assists and 12 total chances (with no errors) in 43 innings is a pretty high rate, and he sure looks like a cat out there.
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