UPDATE: And so much for that. Danny Valencia led off the bottom of the eighth inning with a double to right field, ending Zach Stewart’s bid for a perfect game and no-hitter.
10:04 PM: Zach Stewart is now perfect through seven innings. Ben Revere flied out to shallow left-center field, Trevor Plouffe skied out to right and Joe Mauer lined one right at shortstop Alexei Ramirez for the third out.
Stewart is at 75 pitches and will get Danny Valencia, Rene Tosoni and Luke Hughes in the eighth. By the way, Valencia is batting cleanup tonight. Ouch.
9:58 PM: We have a perfect game alert on this Labor Day evening in Minnesota.
White Sox rookie right-hander Zach Stewart is perfect through six innings tonight against the Twins.
Stewart, who was acquired from the Blue Jays in July as part of the three-way Colby Rasmus trade, has struck out six batters and thrown 45 out of 65 pitches for strikes. This is his eight major league start.
The White Sox plated two runs in the top of the seventh to extend their lead to 4-0, an inning which also included a pitching change, so it will be interesting to see if the long break affects Stewart on the mound.
Stay tuned to see if the rookie right-hander can make a little history.
Blue Jays’ outfielder Anthony Alford will miss at least 4-6 weeks after undergoing surgery on his left wrist, the team announced on Saturday. Alford was placed on the 10-day disabled list earlier in the week after sustaining a left hamate fracture on a foul pitch, and could miss significant time in what looks to be a lengthy rehab process. MLB.com’s Gregor Chisholm reports that the procedure has been scheduled for next week and will be performed by Dr. Donald Sheridan in Arizona.
Alford, 22, was called up to the majors from Double-A New Hampshire last Friday. He went hitless in his first three outings, finally catching a break against the Brewers on Tuesday when he pinch-hit a leadoff double in the seventh. The injury occurred two innings later when Alford fouled off a pitch in the ninth inning, fracturing his wrist in the process.
Alford will join eight other players on the Blue Jays’ disabled list, including outfielders Steve Pearce (calf strain), Dalton Pompey (concussion) and Darrell Cecillani (partial shoulder dislocation). He’s expected to be replaced by 24-year-old outfield prospect Dwight Smith Jr.
Good luck getting a hit against the Nationals this weekend. Stephen Strasburg followed Max Scherzer‘s 13-strikeout performance on Friday with a dazzling outing of his own on Saturday afternoon. The right-hander whiffed a career-best 15 batters in seven innings, allowing just three hits and a walk in the Nats’ 3-0 win.
It took Strasburg several innings to get into a groove after pitching into (and out of) a jam in the first inning. The Padres loaded the bases with Allen Cordoba‘s leadoff single, a throwing error by Ryan Zimmerman and a four-pitch walk to Cory Spangenberg. By the third, Strasburg was cruising, striking out the side on 18 pitches and keeping the Padres off the basepaths until the sixth. He recorded his 15th and final strikeout in the seventh inning, catching Padres’ prospect Franchy Cordero swinging on a 1-2 pitch to effectively end his outing.
While 15 strikeouts set a new career record for the Nationals’ ace, he came close to reaching the mark twice before. The first time, he struck out 14 of 24 batters during his major league debut against the 2010 Pirates, though the 5-2 win did little more than keep the Nationals neck-and-neck with the Marlins at the bottom of the NL East. Five years later, he tied his 14-strikeout record against the 2015 Phillies, tossing a one-hitter in eight innings to cement his ninth victory of the season.
The only one who doesn’t seem overly enthused by the new record? Strasburg himself, who told MLB.com’s Jamal Collier and AJ Cassavell: “It’s pretty cool, but there’s another game five, six days from now. I’ll enjoy it tonight, but back to work tomorrow.”