Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Verlander Throws No-No!

Prior to last night, the Detroit Tigers' Justin Verlander had already done a lot to live up to his #2 overall draft status just three years ago. In his 2006 rookie campaign, he won 17 games with a 3.63 ERA. Blessed with a 102 MPH fastball and a wealth of talent, one figured it was only a matter of time before he did something truly special. Last night indeed was the first of what probably will be many special nights for Justin Verlander. In throwing 112 pitches, Verlander walked four while striking out a career high 12 in tossing a no-hitter against the Milwaukee Brewers. Third-baseman Brandon Inge would provide all of the offense the Tigers would need, hitting his 11th homer deep to left in the third inning while singling in Craig Monroe run in the seventh. J.J. Hardy hit a fly ball to right which Magglio Ordonez gloved to complete the 4-0 Tigers win. Verlander's no-hitter was the first in Detroit since Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan did it for the Angels at Tiger Stadium in 1973.


Well, I attended my third major league game of the month last night at Dodger Stadium and happened to see something pretty special myself. Hong-Chih Kuo was going for the Dodgers, while John Maine was tossing for the New York Mets. The Mets quickly jumped out to a 1-0 lead as Carlos Delgado singled in David Wright in the second inning. In the bottom of the frame, things got really interesting. After retiring catcher Russell Martin, Maine surrended an opposite field homer to Dodger thirdbaseman Wilson Betemit to tie things at 1. On the very next pitch, Matt Kemp hit a home run VERY deep to left field - into the LOGE section 447 feet away to give the Dodgers a 2-1 lead. Unbelievably, Kuo (the pitcher) hit the very next pitch deep to right-center field for his first career homer. Back-to-back-to-back homers... how rare is that to see in person??? It brought back memories of last year when the Dodgers hit four consective homers in the bottom of the ninth of a game against the Padres in erasing a 9-5 deficit. Kuo's reaction upon hitting the homer was priceless - he flipped his bat perhaps ten feet almost as soon as he hit the ball! I couldn't ever remember seeing a pitcher toss a bat like that before, so we all got a good chuckle out of it every time they would replay the homer on the jumbotron. Of note also is that the homer by Kuo was the first ever for a Taiwanese born player. Kuo pitched a very strong seven innings, giving up five hits while walking one and striking out four. Jonathan Broxton pitched the eighth and Takeshi Saito closed things out in the ninth for his 18th save as the Dodgers won 4-1. A BIG Thanks to my friend Dave Gomberg (above right with me) for purchasing the tickets and for transport... Our party ended up being a total of fourteen people - most of whom work with Dave at the Weather service in Oxnard, CA.


The Angels played in Cincinnati yesterday, and their starter Kelvim Escobar had GREAT stuff... he struck out eight Reds batters in the first three innings!!! He struggled in the fourth inning, giving up three runs, but he continued to strike out guys, ending the frame with 10 K's. Escobar would strike out four more batters in the next two innings to finish the game with a career high 14 strikeouts! Unfortunately, that all went for naught as he left with the game tied at 3. The Reds scored runs in the bottom of the 7th and 8th innings to give them a 5-3 win over the Halos.

In another interleague game of note, the Washington Nationals took on the Baltimore Orioles in Camden Yards. The Nats roughed up their crosstown rivals and pitcher Daniel Cabrera for seven runs in four and two-thirds innings. Ryan Church, Ryan Zimmerman and Brian Schneider led the Nats attack, all homering off the Orioles starter. Micah Bowie overcame giving up a three run homer to Melvin Mora in the second inning to pitch six strong innings in picking up his third win of the year. Chad Cordero got two outs to record his eighth save of the year and the 100th of his career. At 25 years old, Cordero his the second youngest in Major league history to reach that milestone - only the great K-Rod (Francisco Rodriguez) of the Angels reached it faster. Congratulations to Chad on his accomplishment!


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