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The Grand Slam: Rick Porcello's second straight shutout includes no walks or strikeouts

David Brown
Big League Stew

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Right-hander Rick Porcello of the Detroit Tigers threw his second consecutive shutout Tuesday night, a four-hitter, and it was unlike any other performance by a major league pitcher since the 1980s.

In beating the Oakland Athletics 3-0 at Comerica Park, Porcello issued no walks or strikeouts. Not since Jeff Ballard of the Orioles in 1989 had any pitcher gone the distance without a single K or BB. And Ballard's performance against the Brewers some 25 seasons ago included two hit batters. Porcello was clean there, so the unique nature of his stat line goes back even further, to Roger Clemens in 1987. Porcello wasn't even alive yet.

To make Porcello's accomplishment even neater: He completed the game with 95 pitches. Whenever a complete game is thrown with fewer pitches than 100, it's unofficially called "A Maddux," as in Greg Maddux, who had an uncommon ability to do it that way.

In his previous outing, Porcello managed six strikeouts and, although he doesn't have Justin Verlander's reputation for blowing it by opposing batters, he said he was hoping to get at least one whiff against the A's. Still, he said he's "not going to trade" his performance for anything.

''To be honest, it was pretty boring out there,'' said Torii Hunter, who didn't record an out in right field. ''But that just shows you how great he was tonight. He was throwing that sinker right down the middle, and it was dropping out of the strike zone, and they were just beating it into the ground.''

Porcello recorded 17 ground-ball outs (that's more his style) and 10 in the air. The A's got three singles and a double. He's on quite a roll overall, having thrown 25 straight scoreless innings over his past four outings.

'I don't want to jinx it,'' he joked when asked about his shutout streak. ''All I know is that I'm throwing the ball really well right now, I'm making consistent pitches when I need them, and my defense is helping me out. I'm also getting some good breaks, which every pitcher needs.''

He's even Maddux-like in how he speaks.

NO 'NO-NO' FOR TIMMY: However, right-hander Tim Lincecum of the San Francisco Giants followed up his recent no-hitter with eight "sharp" innings against the St. Louis Cardinals in a 5-0 victory at AT&T Park. He allowed four hits this time, along with two walks, and struck out six. Very Lincecum-like, at least like he used to be, before his struggles in recent seasons. And part of his line — 113 pitches, with 73 for strikes — was identical to his no-no against the Friars.

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(AP)

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''We try to go out there and duplicate when things are feeling good,'' Lincecum said. ''We tried to do that today. All my pitches were working when I threw them. They weren't super nasty - they were just located a little better than usual.''

The Cardinals have faced Lincecum, Clayton Kershaw and Josh Beckett — pitchers with no-hitters this season — over their past five games.

PRICE IS RIGHT AGAIN FOR RAYS: Grant Balfour made it interesting — which is code for giving Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon angina because of two walks in the ninth inning — but he got the save in a 2-1 victory against the New York Yankees.

Balfour's closing effort preserved another fine performance by left-hander David Price, who had his double-digit strikeout streak snapped at five starts. Price finished with nine K's and the Yankees fell to 41-41.

[Price was] trying to join Pedro Martinez, Randy Johnson and Nolan Ryan as the only pitchers to accomplish the feat six straight times.

''That would've been cool,'' Price said.

Right on, man.

PIRATES' SNEAK ATTACK STUNS D-BACKS:

 

Left-hander Wade Miley was three outs from a complete-game shutout, but he started to falter in the bottom of the ninth while protecting a two-run lead. After 111 pitches, Miley was replaced by Addison Reed, who couldn't shut the door. Starling Marte tied the score with a two-run double and Ike Davis ended Arizona's nightmare with a game-ending, broken-bat single.

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David Brown is an editor for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at rdbrown@yahoo-inc.com and follow him on Twitter!

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