Baseball took center stage Friday night with a full slate of games and some terrific pitching performances across the country.
DUELING ACES ON SOUTH SIDE
The best pitchers' duel of the evening came in Chicago, where Chris Sale and Zack Greinke combined for 17 shutout innings as the Milwaukee Brewers beat the Chicago White Sox 1-0 in 10 innings.
Lowest ERA 4-Home-Start Span
White Sox, All-Time
This was just the third extra-inning 1-0 win on the road in Brewers franchise history; the other two came against the Rangers in 1976 and the Angels in 2004.
Sale blanked the Brewers for eight innings with seven strikeouts and now has a ridiculous 0.56 ERA in his last four home starts.
He did a great job finishing off the Brewers, who were 1-for-14 in two-strike at-bats. He also challenged them inside, throwing 49 of his 109 pitches on the inner half of the plate or further in. The Brewers were hitless in 10 at-bats ending in a pitch to that location.
Greinke did Sale one better, allowing just three hits over nine scoreless innings in the win. Greinke kept the ball low, throwing 52 of his 100 pitches down in the zone or below, and White Sox hitters were 1-for-14 in at-bats ending with a pitch in that location.
All 11 of Greinke's sliders were down, as held the White Sox hitless with three strikeouts in four at-bats ending with the pitch. Opponents are 2-for-19 against his slider over his last four starts.
Rickie Weeks was the hero for Milwaukee with the go-ahead hit in the top of the 10th inning. He has four multi-hit efforts over his last five games and is 10-for-16 (.385) during that stretch. Weeks was hitting .162 in his first 60 games of the season.
HOME SWEET HOME
Watch out Cincinnati, here come the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Pirates beat the Detroit Tigers 4-1 for their fifth win in their last six games, and now are just a game behind the Cincinnati Reds in the NL Central.
Most Consecutive Starts Won
Pirates in Divisional Era
A.J. Burnett tossed six scoreless innings as he improved his home ERA to 1.11 this season, the second-best mark among NL pitchers.
Burnett has won his last seven starts overall, becoming the first Pirates pitcher to win at least seven consecutive starts since Dock Ellis won eight in a row in 1974.
Burnett relied on his fastball, throwing it a season-high 75 percent of the time (73 of 98 pitches). Tigers hitters were 1-for-16 with two strikeouts in at-bats ending in a heater, and missed on seven of their 31 swings.
HEATING UP IN TEXAS
The Texas Rangers are officially the majors’ hottest team as they extended their win streak to seven games in a 4-1 win over the Colorado Rockies. The Rangers have also won 10 of their last 11 games and lead all of baseball with a 44-27 record.
Roy Oswalt was better than good in his first start of the season, throwing 110 pitches and allowing just one run in 6⅔ innings. Oswalt lowered his ERA to 1.89 in 13 career starts versus the Rockies, his best versus any National League team.