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Aniballin': The general belief coming into the season was that the Atlanta Braves offense would be all or nothing. The early numbers bare that out, too, as Atlanta entered play on Friday leading MLB in home runs hit (35) with the fifth most strikeouts (185).
Basically, they're hoping for those two or three big swings every night and counting on their own staff to make it stand up. If they run into a pitcher that's locked in it's likely to be a long night at the office. Unfortunately for them, that's exactly what they encountered in Anibal Sanchez on Friday night, as the Tigers right-hander set a new franchise record for a nine-inning game with 17 strikeouts in Detroit's 10-0 victory.
Mickey Lolich previously held that mark for Detroit, striking out 16 batters on two different occasions in 1969. Sanchez managed to squeeze his into eight innings, so he actually left the game with a chance to tie the MLB record of 20 strikeouts set by Roger Clemens and equaled by Kerry Wood (Randy Johnson did it in extra innings). With the game well in hand his pitch count at 122, though, Jim Leyland's decision to pull him was a no-brainer. And Sanchez certainly didn't disagree.
''I don't think too much about strikeouts and records and things like that,'' Sanchez said. ''I prefer getting some zeros.''
As for the Braves, four of their seven losses have come via a shutout. They're also 15-0 when they homer and 0-7 when they don't, according to David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal Constitution.
One-hit wonders: Washington Nationals right-hander Jordan Zimmerman enjoyed teammate Gio Gonzalez's one-hit against the Cincinnati Reds on Thursday night so much that he decided to follow up with one of his own on Friday. Or I suppose you could say the Reds were one-hit on back-to-back days, which would be pretty significant since the last time Cincinnati has had that happen was way back on July 5-6 of the year 1900. It's also only the fourth time it's happened since 1920, with the Houston Astros being the most recent team on Sept. 14-15, 2008.
Always efficient, Zimmerman needed only 91 pitches to complete his second game of the season. He struck out four and moved to 4-1.
The Will To Win: Forgot those fancy schmancy stats, right Hawk? The Chicago White Sox didn't need BABIP on Friday, they simply slugged willed their way back from a 3-0 deficit to defeat the Rays 5-4 on Friday night behind three home runs from three very unlikely sources. Their names are Tyler Greene, Conor Gillespie and Hector Gimenez, and they all delivered solo shots in support of Jake Peavy.
North and south: The Orioles stayed hot with a 3-0 victory over the A's. Wei-Yin Chen threw eight scoreless innings to give his team seven wins in their last eight games. The A's have lost seven of eight.
Phillies 4, Mets 0: Kyle Kendrick spins a three-hit shutout.
Red Sox 7, Astros 3: Boston officially welcomes Houston to the American League with 17 hits and a 10 strikeout performance from Ryan Dempster.
Indians vs. Royals PPD. (rain): They’ll play one on Saturday and two on Sunday.
Rangers 4, Twins 3: Texas' superior pitching depth continues to shine as Justin Grimm earns a second consecutive victory. He's allowed only three earned runs in 17 innings.
Cardinals 9, Pirates 1: Carlos Beltran homered from both sides of the plate.
Rockies 6, Diamondbacks 3: With Carlos Gonzalez slumping, Troy Tulowitzki carries Colorado with bases clearing double.
Padres 2, Giants 1: San Francisco wastes a brilliant performance from Tim Lincecum. Of course they've also bailed him out a time or three.
Angels 6, Mariners 3: You have to wonder how many major league starts Aaron Harang has left in him. He was gone here before the fourth.
''It's still a nice month having eight homers. At least that's kept him probably sane.''
— That's the Associated Press version of Dale Sveum's postgame comments on Anthony Rizzo. We also have this version from Chicago Sun Times reporter Gordon Wittenmeyer.
Sveum on fact Rizzo has eight homers despite otherwise slow start: "At least that's kept him probably insane." #notatypo
— Gordon Wittenmyer (@GDubCub) April 27, 2013
Wittenmeyer seems pretty confident with his hearing, so I'll assume his account is accurate. Or maybe I'm just really hoping so.
• The Rangers remain undefeated through eight series this season after clinching a split with Minnesota.
• Josh Beckett remains winless through five starts for the first time since 2002.
• Ryan Howard has 19 RBIs in his last 11 games against the Mets.
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