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Saturday, April 24, 2010
The Closer: happy birthday Andruw Jones

By ESPN Stats & Info

Birthdays are awesome, especially when you get great gifts. Andruw Jones turned 33 years old Friday and decided to celebrate by blasting 2 HR, including the walkoff. We break down how Jones got it done.

Hitter of the Night:

Andruw Jones: 2-4, 2 HR, 2 RBI, BB

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Andruw Jones became just the third player in Major League history to hit 2 HR on his birthday with one being a walkoff. He joins Alex Rodriguez in 2002 and Jim Beauchamp in 1972.

Jones has taken a different approach at the plate so far in 2010 compared to his disastrous 2009 campaign, and it has resulted in some improved numbers for the White Sox outfielder. Jones is seeing more pitches and making pitchers work harder in 2010, and as a result is getting on base and driving pitches at a better clip then he was last year. Jones is seeing 4.7 pitches per PA this season (4.0 last season).

Why Giants starter Tim Lincecum won:

- Against his changeup, hitters went 0-9 with 5 K, missed 53 percent of swings, and chased 60 percent out of the strike zone. His changeup has been nearly unhittable the last three starts - opponents are just 1-25 against the pitch, chasing it 54.8 percent of the time and missing it 51.0 percent of the time.

Lincecum entered Friday's game with the Cardinals having held them scoreless in their last 19 innings. Yadier Molina's RBI single in the 6th inning ended the streak at 24 innings, which is tied for the longest streak against a single team in Lincecum's career. The 2-time defending NL Cy Young is now tied for the NL lead with 4 wins, 6th in ERA at 1.00 (min. 15 IP) and the leader in K with 32.