Derek Lowe came into today’s start with a 5-1 record and 2.47 ERA despite totaling just 13 strikeouts in 44 innings, but what he did this afternoon is even more remarkable.
Lowe tossed a complete-game shutout against the punchless Twins and did so without recording a strikeout. The last pitcher to throw a shutout without a strikeout? Scott Erickson way back in 2002.
He pitched well, of course, but the Twins’ lineup is brutally bad at this point and Minnesota is particularly inept versus ground-ball pitchers. Lowe has long been one of the majors’ most extreme ground-ball pitchers and today he induced an incredible 20 ground-ball outs, including four double plays.
For the season he’s now 6-1 with a 2.05 ERA … and more walks (17) than strikeouts (13) in 53 innings.
The Red Sox and Mariners left nothing on the table Friday night, going head-to-head in a series opener that eventually ended 14-10 in the Sox’ favor. Led by Steven Wright and Wade LeBlanc — neither of whom made it past the fifth inning — the teams combined for 34 hits and four home runs, including two moonshots from Seattle’s Nelson Cruz and a five-run rally that gave Boston the edge in the seventh.
In the sixth inning, however, the Red Sox were still scrambling to make up a four-run deficit. Left fielder J.D. Martinez cut it in half with one swing, pouncing on an 89.5-mph fastball from Seattle right-hander Nick Vincent and posting it to dead center field for a two-run shot.
The 427-foot blast was Martinez’s 23rd of the season, tying Mike Trout for the most home runs in the league this year. While he still has a ways to go before eclipsing the career-best 45-HR mark he set in 2017, he’s off to a strong start this season: Entering Friday’s game, the 30-year-old slugger was batting .315/.386/.623 with a 1.009 OPS and AL-leading 55 RBI in 308 PA. He finished Friday’s game 4-for-5 with five RBI, just one triple shy of hitting for the cycle.
Heading into the All-Star Break, both Martinez and Trout still have some competition for the home run title. Jose Ramirez is sitting at 22 homers, while Nelson Cruz and Khris Davis are tied at 20 apiece.