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Sunday, July 15, 2012
Sheets sharp in first win since 2010



Dale Zanine/US PresswireBen Sheets allowed no runs in six innings on Sunday to pick up his first win in more than two years.
His last win came more than two years ago, but Ben Sheets showed Sunday he can still be dominant. Three days before his 34th birthday, Sheets tossed six scoreless innings, allowing just two hits in the Atlanta Braves' 6-1 win over the New York Mets and Johan Santana. It was his first win since July 10, 2010 when he was with the Oakland A's. In Sheets' last win, he also went six innings and allowed two hits and no runs in a game against the Los Angeles Angels.

Sheets missed the entire 2009 and 2011 seasons since turning 30 in 2008. He was the third pitcher in the past 15 years to start a game in the majors at age 30 or older after twice missing a full season, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. The others were Scott Erickson, after missing the 2001 and 2003 seasons, and Bret Saberhagen, who missed the 1996 and 2000 seasons.

Mets hitters went 1-for-9 with three strikeouts against Sheets' fastball, and 1-for-9 with two strikeouts against his curve. Sheets used both as out pitches; of 21 two-strike pitches, 11 were curves and 10 were fastballs. Counting strikeouts, Sheets got eight outs with each pitch.

Sheets wasn't the only pitcher to go at least six innings and not allow a run on Sunday. 2012 All-Stars Stephen Strasburg, Justin Verlander and Matt Harrison also dominated.

• Strasburg also went six innings, allowed no runs and struck out seven in a 4-0 win over the Miami Marlins. It was the third straight start in which Strasburg went exactly six innings and allowed no runs against Miami. In fact, Strasburg has blanked the Marlins in four of his six career starts while going six innings in each. Strasburg has thrown 105 innings this season and the Nationals have maintained he will be capped at 160 innings pitched.

Justin Verlander
Verlander
• Meanwhile, Justin Verlander had a far better outing than he did in the All-Star Game, as he improved to 7-0 in his career against the Baltimore Orioles. Verlander won his 10th game by allowing just three hits in eight innings and striking out eight.

Four pitchers have started and allowed 5-plus runs in the All-Star Game, and three of them went on to allow no runs in their next start, including Verlander. Tom Glavine in 1992 and Jim Palmer in 1977 are the others.

• Matt Harrison recorded his second shutout of the season in a 4-0 win over the Mariners. Harrison had two career shutouts entering this season.

Four different pitchers have thrown complete-game shutouts and allowed five hit or fewer against the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field this season, including Harrison. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the 1998 Montreal Expos were the last team to have that happen to them at home four times through July 15.

Jered Weaver
Weaver
• Although Jered Weaver struggled Sunday allowing 10 hits, five earned runs and three home runs to the New York Yankees, he still managed to win and improve to 11-1 this season. Weaver was the first pitcher since Bronson Arroyo in 2009 and the first Los Angeles Angels pitcher since Geoff Zahn in 1981 to post those numbers and still win.

Alex Rodriguez took Weaver deep for his sixth home run (including the playoffs) off the Angels righty, most of any player.

In all, seven starting pitchers who played in the All-Star Game started on Sunday, and all ended up winning.