Cardinals rookie right-hander Shelby Miller grabbed headlines around baseball last night for his dominating performance against the Rockies, but Red Sox left-hander Jon Lester was nearly perfect in his own right, as he tossed a one-hit shutout as part of a 5-0 victory over the Blue Jays.
It was the 10th complete game of Lester’s career and his third shutout. He faced one batter over the minimum, as the only baserunner was a two-out double by Maicer Izturis in the sixth inning. Lester struck out five in the victory and is now 5-0 with a 2.73 ERA and 45/15 K/BB ratio in 52 2/3 innings across eight starts this year.
As Joe Lemire of SI.com notes, this is the first time since 1916 (the first year Baseball Reference has searchable game-by-game data) that two pitchers threw one-hit, no-walk complete games on the very same night. Of course, we have had two no-hitters on the same day before, but today’s hurlers have a tough act to follow.
Your Friday box scores:
Cubs 3, Nationals 7
Indians 4, Tigers 10
Brewers 3, Reds 4
Orioles 9, Twins 6 (10 innings)
Pirates 7, Mets 3
Rangers 4, Astros 2
Rockies 0, Cardinals 3
Padres 3, Rays 6
Phillies 2, Diamondbacks 3
Angels 7, White Sox 5
Marlins 5, Dodgers 4
Yankees 11, Royals 6
Athletics 3, Mariners 6
Braves 2, Giants 8
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.