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Andrew Albers sold himelf short last week.
Albers, a Minnesota Twins rookie, made his MLB debut on Thursday and it was a good one: He went 8 1/3 innings, not surrendering a run on only four hits. After the game, he said: "It's probably not going to get much better."
That's a fair assessment, honestly. Albers is a 27-year-old rookie with a 86-mph fastball. He's already had Tommy John surgery and, in 2010, was playing independent ball after being released by the San Diego Padres, who drafted him in the 10th round in 2008.
Earning a second chance, getting a call up and almost throwing a shutout in his big-league debut was sweet, but he was right. It wasn't likely to get any better. Or was it?
Albers took the mound for his second start on Monday and didn't just get close to a shutout. He got that darn shutout in the Twins' 3-0 win over the Indians. Albers gave up only two hits and added to an improbable chapter in his career.
As Yahoo! Sports baseball columnist Jeff Passan points out, Albers is the first pitcher since Tom Phoebus in 1966 to throw at least 8 1/3 shutout innings in his first two starts.
So yeah, things improved a bit for Albers.
''It's pretty unbelievable,'' Albers said. ''I didn't think it could get any better than the last start. Now here we are and it did. It got a little bit better.''
What makes Albers' success on Monday even more ironic is his opposing pitcher, Indians rookie Danny Salazar, is exactly what Albers is not — a highly-touted young arm with explosive stuff. Salazar went four innings and gave up three runs while Albers didn't overpower anybody, but cruised just the same.
''I'm not a prototypical prospect,'' Albers said. ''I'm not a guy that goes out there and lights up a radar gun or throws devastating secondary stuff. But I can pitch a little bit and so far I've been having a little bit of success.''
And now we wait until Albers' third start to see if he has anymore magic left.
D-backs 7, Orioles 6: Adam Eaton hit a walk-off homer to end quite a back-and-forth battle. It was 4-2 in the seventh before the D-backs stored three to go ahead 5-4. The Orioles tied it in the eighth on Chris Davis' 43rd homer of the year.
The D-backs went ahead again in their half of the inning on a Wil Neves home run. The O's scored again in the ninth to tie it at 6-6 before Eaton hit the first pitch of the bottom of the ninth out of the yard.
Dodgers 4, Mets 2: Dodgers win sixth in a row, which is practically tiddlywinks since they're 38-8 since June 22.
Rockies 14, Padres 2: Rockies pummel Pads, including a six-run eighth inning.
Royals 6, Marlins 2: Wade Davis wins for the first time at Kaufmann Stadium since April 10.
White Sox 6, Tigers 2: Chris Sale pitches his fourth complete game of the season. Miguel Cabrera hits homer No. 37 for Detroit in the loss.
Reds 2, Cubs 0: Mat Latos pitches eight shutout innings for the Reds, and Brandon Phillips' two-run homer provides the offense.
Phillies 5, Braves 1: Charlie Manuel gets his 1,000th career win as Cole Hamels throws a complete game and comes within one out of a shutout.
Yankees 2, Angels 1: Curtis Granderson homers, Hiroki Kuroda gets the win and Mariano .... oh, wait ... David Roberson gets the save. Day off for Mo after three consecutive blown saves.
A's 5, Blue Jays 1: Oakland gets four runs in the top of the ninth.
''Mo's never going to back out on a situation. Never. And that's where a pitching coach and a manager - you have to manage a player. Sometimes they just need a day no matter if they want to go out there a lot.''
— Yankees manager Joe Girardi about giving Mariano Rivera a night off.
A-Rod's new philosophy, "if you can evade a tag, you can evade a suspension."
• The Cubs have been shut out in three straight home games (two on Aug. 3 and 4 and then on Monday, with a road trip in between). It's the first time the Cubs have been shutout three times in a row at home since 1924. (via ESPN Stats and Info)
• The Twins' last 22 runs have all scored on home runs. (via @MLB)
• Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen has struck out 13 of the 17 batter he's faced in August. (via @DCameronFG)