Friday, June 8, 2007

Schilling Nearly Perfect

Every major league pitcher dreams about doing it or having the chance to do it... some of the greats of the game such as Pedro Martinez have never done it, while some very average pitchers such as Len Barker not only threw no-hitters in their careers - they threw perfect games!

Yesterday, Curt Schilling was perfect for 4 2/3 innings against the Oakland A's at the Coliseum in Oakland. Shortstop Julio Lugo made an error on a Dan Johnson grounder with two outs in the 5th inning which ended Schilling's shot at perfection. Schilling retired the next 11 batters to reach the penultimate moment in the bottom of the 9th inning. One must remember that in addition to trying to throw a no-hitter, Schilling and the Sox were clinging to a precarious 1-0 lead thanks to David Ortiz' 11th homer of the year. ESPN was gracious enough to break in and show the final inning of the game live. Shannon Stewart, the A's veteran outfielder was all that stood between Schilling and history. A fastball three to four inches off the plate looked to be a good pitch, but Stewart was looking for it and lined the pitch towards second baseman Alex Cora. The 6-foot Cora leaped as far as he could, but the ball landed just out of his reach and into right field for a single. Schilling got Mark Ellis to foul out to second base for his third career one-hitter. It will definitely be interesting to see what "Schill" has to say today on his 38 Pitches blog.


In our nation's capital, another good pitching battle was taking place as the Pittsburgh Pirates and Washington Nationals battled to a 2-2 tie through eight innings. Dmitri Young continued to increase his chances to be the Nats representative in the All-Star game with a two run homer off of Pirate ace Ian Snell in the first. Freddy Sanchez evened the score with a two run homer of his own off of Matt Chico in the third. The game would fall into the hands of the team's respective closers. Matt Capps took over for Snell in the eighth inning, retiring the Nats in order. Chad Cordero came in to pitch in the top of the ninth for the Nats and gave up Jason Bay's 11th homer of the year for a 3-2 Pirate lead. Capps closed out the Nats in the bottom of the ninth for the win. For the Nats, the game ended a very disappointing homestand as they lost four out of six games. Things don't get any easier for them as they now go to Minnesota for a three game series. Tomorrow night, they have to face the great Johan Santana...

My Dodgers looked set to actually take a game last night in their road trip down the coast in San Diego... It was a 1-1 game through six innings until Padre ace Jake Peavy tired in the 7th, allowing three runs. Rafael Furcal's two-run double led the attack for the Blue Crew. The Dodgers tallied another run in the 8th, and went into the bottom of the 9th with a seemingly safe 5-1 lead. After that, Murphy's Law went into full effect for the Dodgers... An infield single to lead off the inning forced reliever Joe Beimel to be replaced by fill-in closer Jonathan Broxton. An error on a popup by Nomar Garciaparra, another single, and then a second infield single gave the Padres their second run of the game. Adrian Gonzalez then hit a ground-rule double to make it 5-4... Mike Cameron followed an intentional walk with another single to tie the game at 5. The Dodgers finally got an out as Kevin Kouzmanoff struck out. Broxton ran the count to 3-2 on Russell Branyan... the next pitch was just a little high and the Padres ended up winning the game on the infamous "walk off walk"... For the Dodgers, it was a humiliating end to the three game series as the loss resulted in a sweep by the Padres. The Dodgers return home tonight to face the Toronto Blue Jays. Brad Penny will attempt to get his 8th win of the year.


Time for a little golf now... the women are in the spotlight this weekend as the McDonald's LPGA Championship is taking place in Havre de Grace, Maryland. Birdie Kim, Angela Park and Kim Saiki-Maloney all shot five under par 67's to share the first round lead. Kraft Nabisco Championship winner Morgan Pressel is a shot back after a four under par 68. As for the other notables, Annika Soranstam is just three shots behind after her two under par 70, Lorena Ochoa is at one under par after a 71. For those of you that don't know, Natalie Gulbis had to withdraw from the tournament due to a back injury. Best wishes to Natalie on a speedy recovery.


Finally, thanks to EVERYONE for their comments about my pictures and my trips. I truly had an amazing time in both D.C., and Nashville and I look forward to returning to both cities again in the very near future. Speaking of DC, I purchased The Reagan Diaries while in Georgetown and hope to get a chance to read them a little over the weekend...

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