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July 2, 2014

What You Need to Know

The A's Get Rick-Rolled

by Chris Mosch


The Tuesday Takeaway
After walking off against Sean Doolittle and the Athletics in dramatic fashion on Monday night, the Tigers quickly disposed of the American League West leaders on Tuesday to clinch a series win. The game breezed by in just two hours and 13 minutes, as Rick Porcello tossed his second consecutive shutout and needed just 95 pitches to complete it.

Porcello was excellent during his last start against Cleveland, but the Detroit right-hander exhibited impeccable command of the strike zone on Tuesday and got the A’s to beat the ball into the ground all night long. He often found himself ahead early in the count, tallying first-pitch strikes against 24 of the 31 batters he faced, and threw 68 of his 95 pitches for strikes.

Porcello didn’t miss many bats; he generated just two swings-and-misses and failed to record a strikeout. However, he didn’t issue any walks and coaxed 18 ground balls, 17 of which the Detroit infield was able to turn into outs. The zero-strikeout, zero-walk shutout is one of the more unique gems to toss, and Porcello became the first pitcher to join the club since Jeff Ballard did it against the Brewers in 1989. The last pitcher to do it before that? Roger Clemens in 1987.

Brad Mills was solid for the A’s in his third start since being acquired from the Brewers for just $1, but it wasn’t nearly enough to keep pace with Porcello. J.D. Martinez continued his tear at the plate for the Tigers, driving a key two-bagger down the left-field line that led to the first run of the game later in the fourth inning. In his next at-bat, he crushed a first-pitch mistake from Mills for a two-run bomb that gave Detroit a 3-0 advantage.

That was all the Tigers would need with Porcello on the bump. The former first-round pick induced weak contact all night and cruised through the final four frames, needing just 35 pitches while Oakland failed to work a two-ball count after the fifth inning. Porcello became the first Detroit pitcher to toss back-to-back shutouts since Jack Morris in 1986 (who threw three straight), and the first to require fewer than 100 pitches to record a shutout since Armando Galarraga’s near-perfecto in 2010.

Quick Hits from Tuesday

The Brewers and Blue Jays kicked off Tuesday’s action with a matinee at the Rogers Centre, with the home squad sporting red uniforms in honor of Canada Day. Edwin Encarnacion set the tone for the Jays with a fantastic diving grab on the first play of the day.

That was one of the hardest-hit balls that Toronto starter Drew Hutchison would give up during his seven innings of work, as the 23-year-old hurler was perfect until Khris Davis reached on an infield single with the two outs in the fifth and finished the day allowing just two more hits. Supplying Hutchison with an early lead was Jose Bautista, who hadn’t appeared in the Blue Jays lineup since June 22 because of a left hamstring strain. The leading American League All-Star vote-getter tattooed a 3-2 changeup from Marco Estrada in his first at bat back.

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<< Previous Article
Premium Article The Prospectus Hit Lis... (07/02)
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Premium Article What You Need to Know:... (07/03)
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