I’ll assume Vin Mazzaro is more upbeat about this one than his last start, when he gave up six runs in five innings and yet still lowered his ERA from 22.74 to 17.47.
Mazzaro pitched seven scoreless innings despite failing to strike out a batter Sunday as the Royals beat the Angels 9-0 to win two out of three games in Anaheim.
The Angels hit into five double plays in the contest. Torii Hunter, Bobby Abreu, Howie Kendrick and Mark Trumbo all grounded into one, while Hank Conger had his line drive turned into another.
Blake Wood took over in relief of Mazzaro to start the eighth and fanned the first batter he faced, Andrew Romine. It was the Angels’ only strikeout of the game, making this the first shutout to feature just one strikeout since the A’s beat the Rangers 5-0 on Aug. 28, 2010.
The last shutout without a strikeout took place on May 17, 2006, when the Tigers beat the Twins 2-0. Justin Verlander went eight in that one before Todd Jones finished up.
Alex Gordon went 3-for-5 and pounded out his 20th double for the Royals. He drove in two. Billy Butler and Chris Getz both had two hits and two RBI apiece. Mike Moustakas, who hit his first big-league homer las tnight, went 1-for-4 with a walk.
Here are the Cubs and Pirates lineups for tonight’s Wild Card game in Pittsburgh:
CF Dexter Fowler
RF Kyle Schwarber
LF Kris Bryant
1B Anthony Rizzo
3B Tommy La Stella
2B Starlin Castro
C Miguel Montero
SS Addison Russell
SP Jake Arrieta
Cubs manager Joe Maddon wanted Tommy La Stella in the lineup over Jorge Soler or Chris Coghlan, so he starts at third base and Kris Bryant shifts to left field. Bryant started just four games in left field all season, compared to 136 starts at third base. Also of note: After batting Addison Russell ninth–behind the pitcher–116 times this season Maddon has him in the more traditional eighth spot tonight.
RF Gregory Polanco
3B Josh Harrison
CF Andrew McCutchen
LF Starling Marte
C Francisco Cervelli
2B Neil Walker
SS Jordy Mercer
1B Sean Rodriguez
SP Gerrit Cole
Pedro Alvarez started 119 games at first base for the Pirates and with right-hander Jake Arrieta on the mound he was the presumed starter tonight, but instead manager Clint Hurdle has benched the 27-homer slugger in favor of utility man Sean Rodriguez. Alvarez is vastly superior to Rodriguez offensively, especially versus a righty, but he’s also very shaky defensively. During the regular season Rodriguez started a grand total of one game at first base against a right-hander, so this qualifies as a hunch by Hurdle.