After nine straight losses to begin the season, the Mets’ Shaun Marcum blanked the White Sox for eight innings on Wednesday and picked up his first victory in a 3-0 game.
Bobby Parnell pitched a perfect ninth for his 13th save.
Marcum was in danger of becoming the first pitcher since the Cardinals’ Anthony Reyes in 2007 to start 0-10. He was the sixth pitcher to start 0-9 since 2000, joining Mike Maroth (2003 Tigers), Edgar Gonzalez (2004 Diamondbacks), Reyes, Kenshin Kawakami (2010 Braves) and Chris Volstad (2012 Cubs).
Marcum allowed just four hits over eight innings while facing what should be considered the American League’s worst offense. The White Sox had outscored the Mariners entered the night (3.74 runs per game to 3.60), but they have a big ballpark advantage over Seattle. They had the league’s worst OBP (.296) and OPS (.673), and both of those figures took another hit tonight.
Following the Astros’ decisive 4-0 shutout over the Yankees on Saturday night, the team crowned ace Justin Verlander the Most Valuable Player of the American League Championship Series. Hall of Fame outfielder and former MLB manager Frank Robinson handed the award to Verlander, who was beaming as he thanked his teammates and members of the Astros’ organization.
“I’ve got to say, it came down to the wire, and one thing kept going off in my head was Dallas,” Verlander told the crowd gathered at Minute Maid Park. “When he called me, he said that I won’t regret my decision to join the Houston Astros. And here we are right now, it’s the best feeling in the world. We’ve got four more wins to win a World Series, and I do not regret my decision to come here. This is the best feeling a player can have. So, thank you.”
Among a cast that boasted the likes of Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa and Dallas Keuchel, among others, Verlander was spectacular. He locked down a complete game win in Game 2, holding the Yankees to one run on five hits and a walk and striking out a postseason-high 13 batters. In Game 6, he saved the Astros from elimination with seven scoreless innings, helping propel the club to their eventual 7-1 finish that set up their series-clinching finale on Saturday.
The 34-year-old righty also took his place among some postseason greats. Thanks to an eight-strikeout outing on Friday night, his collective 136 postseason strikeouts are good for sixth-most in MLB playoff history, just a smidgen shy of Tom Glavine (143), Mike Mussina (145), Roger Clemens (173), Andy Pettitte (183) and John Smoltz (199). He also joined Bob Gibson, Curt Schilling and Sandy Koufax as one of just four hurlers to strike out 20+ Yankees in a postseason series.