No perfection, but pitching rules the day

April, 22, 2012
4/22/12
9:10
PM ET
Sunday’s pitchers lacked the flash or pizzazz of Saturday’s, when the top three vote getters in last year’s AL Cy Young race, and the top two finishers in the NL Cy Young race took the mound.

And there was no Philip Humber coming out of nowhere to pitch a perfect game.

But there were some pretty good pitching performances.

Let’s take a look at some of Sunday’s pitching highlights:

Redbirds soar with Lohse
Winning pitcher Kyle Lohse allowed one run in six innings. He has gone six innings and allowed one earned run or fewer in each of his first four starts this season.
Kyle Lohse
Lohse

The last Cardinals starter to have four games in a row to start the season of at least six innings pitched and one earned run or fewer allowed was Larry Jaster in 1968.

Want to have a good game? Pitch against Pirates starter Erik Bedard. In four starts this season, the Pirates have scored just three runs for Bedard, managing one against the Cardinals on Sunday.

Magic Wandy
Wandy Rodriguez pitched seven scoreless innings, yielding just three hits to shut down the red-hot Los Angeles Dodgers and Matt Kemp.
Wandy Rodriguez
Rodriguez

Rodriguez’s curveball was sharp, netting him 10 outs. He had six strikeouts with the hook on Sunday, matching the total he had with the pitch in his first three starts of the season.

Of the 15 pitches Rodriguez threw Kemp, only two were fastballs. Kemp fouled out on a changeup, flied out on a curve, and then struck out swinging at a curve against Rodriguez. His 10-game hitting streak was snapped.

The 12-0 win marked the Astros largest margin of victory in a shutout win over the Dodgers in franchise history.

All Smyles, but no win
The Elias Sports Bureau confirmed that Drew Smyly is the first Detroit Tigers pitcher ever to start his first three career games and allow one run or fewer in each of them. Smyly got a no-decision in the Tigers loss to the Texas Rangers.

Josh Hamilton homered again for the Rangers, giving him seven in the team's first 16 games. He's the fifth player in Rangers history with that many home runs in that few team games, joining Pete Incaviglia, Alex Rodriguez, Ian Kinsler, and Nelson Cruz.

The Buck (and his team) stops Pujols
Albert Pujols was 0-for-4 and his homerless streak to start the season now sits at 65 at-bats after his Los Angeles Angels lost to the Baltimore Orioles, 3-2.

Pujols was 0-for-11 in the series with three fly outs, three ground outs, three strikeouts, and a lineout. He did reach base once on an error.

Looking ahead to Monday
Bigger names take the mound Monday, with the most attention being paid to Tim Lincecum.
Tim Lincecum
Lincecum

Tim Lincecum will start for the San Francisco Giants against the New York Mets in the second game of Monday’s doubleheader at Citi Field. Lincecum is 0-2 with a 10.54 ERA in his first three starts of the season, but is 3-0 with three earned runs allowed in 28 innings in his last four starts against the Mets.

Lincecum’s fastball velocity has averaged 90.2 miles-per-hour in the first two starts of the season, down two miles-per-hour from his average in 2011. His strike percentage with his fastball is 58 percent. It has consistently been either 63 or 64 percent in each of the three previous seasons.

Hitters have also feasted on Lincecum’s breaking pitches, with 10 hits against them in the first three starts. Last season, in his first three starts, he allowed only two hits with his breaking balls.

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