Detroit Tigers pitcher Rick Porcello is having the best season of his career. The Texas Rangers are having their most disappointing season in a while. Put those things together, as MLB did on Thursday night, and what do you get?
Porcello threw his first career shutout, giving up just three hits and notching his 10th win of the season. He's the fifth pitcher in MLB to reach 10 wins and his corresponding 3.41 ERA is almost a run lower than last season. As for the Rangers: They lost their eighth straight game, dropping their record to 35-43.
"He looks extremely confident," catcher Alex Avila said. "The thing is now, he's got four pitches that he can rely on for outs, and I think he's very confident that if one or two is not working or not feeling as good, that his other stuff is good enough to get guys out as well."
He didn't need much of his other pitches Thursday. With a comfortable lead early and a Rangers lineup reeling, he used his sinker to pound outs into the ground. In those stretches, Avila would line up his glove over the plate and let the sinker move where it wanted. Most times, he knew where it was going. Even if hitters did, too, it didn't help much.
Thirteen of Porcello's 27 outs came on ground balls, including three double plays that erased half of his six baserunners. All three hits he allowed were singles, none of them particularly scorched.
By contrast, Rangers starter Nick Martinez was a hot mess. He only lasted 2 1/3 innings, giving up four runs on five walks and six hits. At least the Rangers start a series Friday with the Minnesota Twins (36-41). They've lost three in a row too.
DODGERS EKE OUT WIN AGAINST ADAM WAINWRIGHT
At one point, St. Louis Cardinals starter Adam Wainwright had us on no-hitter watch. But then, a couple innings later, he was saddled with one of the worst defeats of them all for a pitcher — a complete-game loss, where his team was defeated 1-0. Ick.
Wainwright pitched eight innings, giving up five and striking out eight against the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Dodgers didn't have a hit until the sixth inning. But they cobbled together a run — on an eighth-inning pinch-hit single by Justin Turner — then sent closer Kenley Jansen out to stop the Cardinals in the ninth. Josh Beckett wasn't as stellar as Wainwright, but he was good, pitching seven scoreless innings for the Dodgers and striking out four.
UTLEY CHASES AWAY THE EXTRA INNINGS
With the Philadelphia Phillies and Miami Marlins deadlocked at three for seven innings, Chase Utley decided it was time to go home. He blasted a 14th inning, two-run, walk-off homer, ending the game at 5-3. This one lasted close to five hours, with 13 different pitchers on the mound. It was a good time for everyone to go home.
THE ANGELS KEEP WINNING
The Angels took a 6-1 lead into the ninth inning and soon things got too close for comfort. But, an Ernesto Frieri mess aside, the Angels were happy to escape with a 6-4 victory. It gave them a six-game winning streak and a perfect homestand.
The Angels improved to 44-33, putting them 3 1/2 games behind the Oakland A's in the AL West. Hey, that's better than being six games back, like the Angels were six days ago.
For the rest of Thursday's results, check out our scoreboard.
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