Given some extra rest around the All-Star break, Yovani Gallardo came out firing today, striking out a career-high 14 batters while allowing one run over seven innings against the Pirates.
Brewers pitching fanned 17 batters in all in Milwaukee’s 4-1 victory. It’s the fifth time this year a team has recorded 17 or more strikeouts in a nine-inning game. The Pirates have been involved in four of those games and they were the victims the last three times it’s happened:
April 13 – Dodgers fan 18 Padres in 9-8 win (Aaron Harang, 13 K)
May 3 – Pirates fan 17 Cardinals in 6-3 win (Erik Bedard, 11 K)
May 6 – Reds fan 17 Pirates in 5-0 win (Mat Latos, 11 K)
May 20 – Tigers fan 17 Pirates in 4-3 win (Max Scherzer, 15 K)
Gallardo, who hadn’t pitched in nine days, improved to 8-6 on the season. He’s allowed two runs over 19 2/3 innings in his last two starts. A.J. Burnett took the loss for Pittsburgh, snapping his career-best nine-game winning streak.
The Yankees and Astros are set for Game 7 of the American League Championship Series on Saturday, and neither team will hold back as they seek a World Series berth. The Astros are prepared to back starter Charlie Morton with any able-bodied pitcher in their ranks — including Justin Verlander, though A.J. Hinch said it would be a “dream scenario” to get anything more from his ace — while the Yankees are prepared to utilize all but a few of their arms. One pitcher you won’t see? Right-hander Masahiro Tanaka, who last took the hill for the Yankees during their Game 5 shutout on Wednesday.
Tanaka expended 103 pitches over seven scoreless innings in his last start, fending off the Astros with three hits, a walk and eight strikeouts. He hasn’t pitched on fewer than three days of rest all year, and even with a do-or-die scenario facing the Yankees on Saturday night, manager Joe Girardi doesn’t want to compromise his starter’s ability to stay rested and ready for the World Series.
Girardi will also play it safe with fellow right-hander Sonny Gray, who dominated in a five-inning performance in Game 4. All other pitchers should be available and ready to go, though the club is hoping for a lengthy outing from veteran starter CC Sabathia. Sabathia is no stranger to the postseason: over eight separate playoff runs, he touts one championship title and a collective 4.24 ERA in 123 innings. He held the Astros scoreless in his Game 3 start, blanking them over six innings on three hits, four walks and five strikeouts for an eventual 8-1 win.
Even without Tanaka or Gray likely to take the mound for Game 7, the Yankees will enter the series finale with history on their side. Per MLB.com, they have a 4-3 road record in Game 7s and are 6-7 in all 13 Game 7 finales to date. The Astros, on the other hand, dropped their first and only Game 7 clincher back in 2004, when the Cardinals capped the NLCS with a 5-2 win in St. Louis. The teams are scheduled to face off for the first-ever Game 7 at Minute Maid Park on Saturday at 8:00 PM ET.