Tanner Roark pitched well in Thursday's win over the Giants, firing seven innings of four-hit, one-run ball.
Roark struck out three and walked three on the evening. Only a Conor Gillaspie RBI ground out in the second inning prevented him from a potential shutout. The 29-year-old right-hander has allowed one or fewer earned runs over seven or more innings in eight outings. That is the second-most in the majors, with only Jon Lester's nine such starts besting it. Roark will carry a 2.96 ERA, 1.16 WHIP and 113/41 K/BB ratio (136 2/3 frames) into a road duel with the Diamondbacks next time he toes the rubber.
Johnny Cueto failed to provide length in Thursday's loss to the Nationals, allowing three runs on eight hits over five innings.
Strange night for Cueto, who struck out just three and walked two on the evening. Those low numbers would outwardly seem to lend toward a lower pitch count, but Cueto had already thrown 101 pitches (63 strikes) by the time he was relieved of duty before the start of the sixth inning. Since the Giants booted back up after the All-Star break, the ace has surrendered eight runs on 20 hits in three starts (16 innings). He has allowed at least three earned runs in five of his last seven outings. Despite a bit of a slowdown since a hot start, he owns a 2.63 ERA, 1.07 WHIP and 131/30 K/BB ratio over 147 1/3 innings for the season as a whole. A road showdown with the Phillies shows next on his schedule.
Albert Pujols went 2-for-4 with a pair of singles in Thursday's win over the Red Sox.
Pujols was the only Angels hitter to notch multiple hits. The most important of these came in the ninth inning, when Pujols lined a hard single to left off Brad Ziegler. That moved Mike Trout (who reached on an infield single to lead off the frame) to second. Trout and Ji-Man Choi -- who pinch-ran for Pujols after the single -- would eventually come around to score on a two-run throwing error by Hanley Ramirez. The aged Pujols continues to post respectable counting stats (19 homers, 78 RBI) but is hitting just .255/.329/.432 over 384 at-bats.
Brad Ziegler coughed up a 1-0 ninth-inning lead in Thursday's 2-1 loss to the Angels.
Ziegler entered in the ninth attempting to secure the win for David Price, who gave the Red Sox eight shutout innings. It was not to be. After loading the bases with one out, Ziegler surrendered an infield grounder to Daniel Nava. Enter Hanley Ramirez, who fired home in an attempt to secure the first out on what might have been a game-ending double play. That was the idea, anyway, but Ramirez sailed the throw high to allow two runners to race home. Ballgame. This was Ziegler's third blown save of the season, his first in eight appearances with the Red Sox since coming over from the Diamondbacks via trade earlier this month. He has now allowed runs in back-to-back appearances and might be in line for a breather as this four-game set with the Angels unfolds.
David Price was superb in earning a no-decision in Thursday's 2-1 loss to the Angels, rolling through eight shutout frames while scattering seven singles.
Manager John Farrell is probably second-guessing himself tonight, at least just a little bit. Price had thrown 109 pitches through eight innings and could have theoretically at least started the ninth, but Farrell turned to Brad Ziegler instead. The reliever subsequently blew the save as Price lost out on what would have been a smooth 1-0 win. Tumultuous end aside, this was a strong effort from the ace southpaw. He will bring a 4.26 ERA -- plus a 1.26 WHIP and 151/31 K/BB ratio (143 2/3 innings) -- into a road date with the Mariners next time he toes the rubber.
Jered Weaver pitched surprisingly well in Thursday's no-decision against the Red Sox, tossing 5 2/3 innings of one-run ball.
Weaver scattered six, walked two and struck out two on the evening. The only run to score on his watch came when Mookie Betts notched a sacrifice fly in the third inning. For Weaver, this is about as good as it gets, particularly given the strength of the opponent. The 33-year-old right-hander still holds an uninspiring 5.14 ERA and 1.45 WHIP. A home date with the A's shows next on his schedule.
Cole Hamels struck out 12 while allowing two runs over eight innings, leading the Rangers to a 3-2 win over the Royals on Thursday.
Hamels gave up six hits, including a solo homer, and walked one in the victory, throwing a season-high 123 pitches before exiting. It may not be any coincidence that his 12 punchouts were also a season high, giving him 132 strikeouts in 133 1/3 innings on the year. The southpaw improved to 12-2 with his third straight win, and he'll take a 2.84 ERA and 1.26 WHIP into Wednesday's start at the Orioles.
Mitch Moreland hit two solo home runs in Thursday's win over the Royals.
Moreland had Yordano Ventura's number this night, lifting a homer to left-center field in the fifth inning to tie the game before walloping a pitch to deep center in the eighth to give the Rangers the lead. The home runs were numbers 15 and 16 on the year for Moreland, who has started to come around a bit after a slow start to the year. The 30-year-old is batting .237/.303/.453 overall as a result of that poor start at the plate.