The Grand Slam: Zack Wheeler pitches shutout in Andrew Heaney's debut

David Brown
Big League Stew
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The day the Miami Marlins brought top prospect Andrew Heaney to the majors also might be remembered as a turning point in the career of New York Mets right-hander Zack Wheeler.

Wheeler, who has offered the same kind of promise as Heaney ever since he was promoted 366 days earlier, tossed a three-hit shutout in his 32nd career start Thursday night in a 1-0 Mets victory. Wheeler struck out eight, walked one and needed 110 pitches for his first career complete game.

Considered the fifth-best prospect overall by Baseball Prospectus before the 2013 season, Wheeler's major league results had been OK overall. He's been spectacular at times and frustrating during others. This was something else. Via the Associated Press:

''He showed you exactly what we've been talking about all along — plus stuff. Tremendous, great effort,'' Mets manager Terry Collins said of Wheeler. ''He went after them. It was his night.''

David Wright provided the only run of the game, a solo home run off the Home Run Thingie. Heaney, a left-hander, allowed four hits and struck out three in his major league debut with his mom and dad watching in the stands at Marlins Park. It was a highly impressive pitching matchup considering the inexperience of both starters.

A top 30 prospect or so, Heaney came in with a 2.31 ERA and 198 strikeouts in 199 minor league innings since 2012. Other than Wright, no one else got into scoring position against Heaney.

Wheeler, who made his much-anticipated debut a year and a day before Heaney, complimented his mound opponent.

''I sat on the bench in between innings and just watched him, knowing that I was there not too long ago and knowing how he felt,'' Wheeler said. ''He has a good arm, and I think he's going to do well.''

YANKS WHIP OUT CURLING BROOMS FOR SWEEP OF JAYS: The New York Yankees are surging in the AL East after sweeping a three-game series against the first-place (for now) Toronto Blue Jays. Behind a strong performance by right-hander David Phelps and the bat of Carlos Beltran, the Yanks won 6-4 to pull even in the loss column and to within 1 1/2 games overall.

Phelps allowed two runs with seven strikeouts over seven innings, Beltran drove in a pair and Adam Warren got the final three outs for the save.

New York has won 16 straight at Yankee Stadium against Toronto, its longest winning streak at home against one team since the Yankees took 19 straight from the Indians from June 1960 to April 1962. The Jays have dropped 25 of 27 in New York since 2011, and haven't won there since Aug. 29, 2012.

Right-hander Drew Hutchison will have better games, allowing four runs, six hits and four walks in 4 1/3 innings. Toronto had separated itself from a weak-looking pack in the AL East, but the Jays have come back to Earth.

''Hey, if you're going to play in prime time, you've got to perform on the big stage and we didn't do it,'' manager John Gibbons said. ''We're fully capable of doing it. We just didn't do it. It'll be definitely good to move on.''

Toronto plays at New York seven more times this season.

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The Oakland Athletics moved to 17 games over .500 with a 4-2 victory against the Boston Red Sox at the Coliseum. Left-hander Scott Kazmir, who has been one of the top pitchers in the AL, has a 1.27 ERA over his past five starts. He struck out eight Red Sox over seven innings. Manager Bob Melvin has been impressed.

''It's a broken record talking about him because we're seeing basically the same game out of him,'' Melvin said. ''I had heard last year maybe this is a 100-pitch guy top, six innings maybe. He's been anything but. He's been absolutely terrific.''

Stephen Vogt drove in two runs and Dan Otero got the save with Sean Doolittle being given the day off. Boston's Jake Peavy allowed four runs — three earned — in 6 1/3 innings.



Doubles power, anyhow. The Minnesota Twins beat the Chicago White Sox 4-2 at Target Field after a two-hour rain delay before the first pitch. The biggest hit was delivered by Joe Mauer, a go-ahead double in the eighth inning.

Right-hander Yohan Pino, making his major league debut at age 30 years and 175 days, had spent more than 10 years in the minor leagues. Against the White Sox, he pitched splendidly, allowing two runs over seven innings with seven strikeouts.

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

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