A day after Greg Maddux was enshrined in the National Baseball Hall of Fame, Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Vance Worley nearly achieved a "Maddux" — the Internet-recognized feat of throwing a complete game with fewer than 100 pitches.
But this wasn't any complete game. It was a 5-0 shutout against the San Francisco Giants in which Worley gave up four hits and struck out three. He completely dominated the Giants, handing them their second shutout loss in three games.
Yes, we said Vance Worley did this. The same Vance Worley who was a big-league castoff after a 7.21 ERA in 2013.
He ended up one pitch away from the Maddux, however. Worley finished with 100 pitches exactly, one too many for Maddux status. Blame a ninth-inning triple by Hunter Pence. It wasn't a Maddux, but a great performance still, the best of Worley's career, and he certainly won't worry too much about that one pitch.
This is the high point in his return to the big leagues. After that ugly 2013 with the Minnesota Twins, Worley was traded to Pittsburgh this spring for cash or a player to be named.
He was sent to the minors first, but Worley worked his way back into the Pirates rotation and is 4-1 with a 2.54 ERA in eight games since joining the big-league team in mid June.
Greg Maddux, since you're probably wondering, threw a Maddux 13 times.
JAYS, DICKEY DOMINATE RED SOX
The recipe for the Toronto Blue Jays' rout of the Boston Red Sox on Monday night: two homers from Melky Cabrera, 14 total hits and 10 strikeouts from starting pitcher R.A. Dickey.
It wasn't even close. The Jays won 14-1, crushing the Red Sox like the windshield of an ill-placed car behind the Green Monster. Dickey had his good knuckleball going, even though he didn't exactly need it because of all those runs:
''I kind of wish they could divide them up over, like, three starts,'' he said. ''(I) almost kind of wish we'd have only scored two runs because I felt like I had that kind of knuckleball tonight and saved this outing for when I gave up five, but I'll take it.''
This was Toronto's third straight win. They're 2 1/2 games behind the Orioles for first place in the AL East.
MARLINS COME BACK, STUN NATS
The Washington Nationals took a 6-0 lead into the seventh inning against the Miami Marlins, a lead that's generally pretty safe no matter who's across the field. But the still-hanging-around Marlins scored seven runs in the final three innings to stun the first-place Nats, concluding the 7-6 comeback win on a walk-off single by Jeff Baker with two outs in the ninth.
The Marlins scored four runs in that ninth inning, and skipper Mike Redmond did not shy away from declaring this the biggest win of the Marlins' season:
''At this stage, that's got to be the biggest game of the year - right? - with where we are in the standings, and where we've got to go,'' manager Mike Redmond said. ''These guys understand that.''
The Marlins are a surprising 52-53. Playoffs don't seem particularly likely, but they're 4 1/2 games out of the second Wild Card spot and six out in the NL East. Like a six-run comeback, it's not impossible.
The Mets' 7-1 win came with Colon scattering 10 hits through 7 1/3 innings, holding the Phillies to that lone run while striking out six. Colon, 41, has been mentioned in trade talks, but not as heavily as other pitchers. Still, there's always a possibility he'll be wearing yet another uniform after Thursday's non-waiver trade deadline.
Burnett, meanwhile, lasted five innings, giving up seven runs on eight hits. It wasn't exactly a confidence-booster for any teams monitoring the 37-year-old. He's also unattractive to some teams because of a player option for 2015 that could be worth $12.75 million. But it's July. Some contenders are desperate.
For the rest of Monday's action, check out our scoreboard.
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