Nine to Know: Pence, Lowe, Colon, LaHair and more

  1. The Phils celebrating Hunter Pence's walkoff homer

    The Angels celebrated their 4-0 victory over the Oakland A’s by announcing about 90 minutes after the game that they had fired hitting coach Mickey Hatcher   and promoted Jim Eppard from Triple-A Salt Lake. The Angels have been shut out a club-record eight times already this season.

  2. Talking about the Angels, Albert Pujols moved back over the .200 mark for the first time since May 3 by getting three hits and two RBI in the victory over the A’s. Interestingly, all three hits were of the infield variety in Pujols’ second three hit game of the season. Pujols has four two-hit games, 17 one-hit games and 13 no-hit games.
  3. On last note (I promise) from the Oakland loss to the Angels: Bartolo Colon started for Oakland and in the words of the great baseball analyst B.B. King, “The thrill is gone.” In Colon’s first six starts in April, Colon had an ERA of 2.53 with a batting average against of .214. In his three starts in May, Colon has a 9.00 ERA and a .414 BAA.
  4. The Windy City has the two top home run hitting first basemen: Bryan LaHair, whose Cubs lost after Yadier Molina‘s RBI single with two outs in the 9th gave St. Louis a 7-6 victory, hit his 10th homer of the season in the loss. And, Paul Konerko, whose White Sox lost 10-8 after the Tigers’ Miguel CabreraRyan Raburn and Austin Jackson all homered in an eight-run 6th inning, hit his seventh homer of the season. No first baseman has hit more than the Chicago duo; Adam LaRoche and Freddie Freeman are next with six apiece.
  5. On the subject of home runs, Boston’s DH David Ortiz hit his eighth homer of the season in Boston’s 5-0 win over the Mariners. Ortiz, who has been taking turns at first base as Adrian Gonzalez has been shagging flies in right in anticipation of interleague play, passed Hall of the Very Gooder Dwight Evans to move into 56th place on the all time HR list, with 386.
  6. In the White Sox loss, catcher A.J. Pierzynski had five hits in a game for the second time in his career. The first time was when the Sox beat the Orioles 13-11 on  July 29, 2006.
  7. The Phillies had a walkoff win last night as Hunter Pence hit his second homer of the game to give his mates a 4-3 win over the Astros. Pence connected off former Philadelphia closer Brett Myers (0-1) with one out in the 10th to give the Phillies their first three-game winning streak of the season (!). Pence set up his own heroics by committing a critical 9th inning error that led to two tying 9th inning runs. This was the eighth time in Pence’s career that he had a two-homer game and the third walkoff of his career.
  8. Josh Johnson won his first game of the season as the Marlins topped the Pirates, 6-2. Johnson (1-3) had gone winless in 12 starts since his last win on April 19, 2011. Stephen Strasburg took his first loss of the season as the Padres topped Washington, 6-1. We now know the extent of what the Padres need to beat a pitcher like Strasburg. As Nats manager delicately explained postgame, Strasburg’s Hot Stuff ointment from his shoulder got into a more sensitive area. File this under: one strike and two balls.
  9. Derek Lowe shut out the very sad Minnesota Twins, 5-0. It was Lowe’s 10th career complete game, and first since he was a Dodger pitcher on Aug. 26, 2008. This was his fourth career shutout, and his first since Aug. 31, 2005, for the Dodgers at San Diego. Lowe had two shutouts in 2005 for LA and tossed his first shutout on April 27, 2002 when as a member of the Red Sox he no-hit the Devil Rays.

In his no-hitter, Lowe struck out seven. In fact, in his 364 career starts, Lowe has struck out at least one batter in 351 of those games (going 152-117). In 13 starts, he has struck out no one, going 2-8 with last night pitching his first complete game shutout with no whiffs. Last night, Lowe became the first pitcher to throw a shutout without a strikeout since Scott Erickson for Baltimore against Kansas City on April 28, 2002.

Here are the last 25 no-strikeout complete game shutouts: