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First there was Floyd, who was attempting to match the perfection achieved by teammate Mark Buehrle earlier this season. Floyd retired the first 17 Red Sox batters he faced Saturday, until Nick Green managed a single in the sixth inning to ruin the bid for history. Still, Floyd kept his composure and continued to dominate Boston, allowing only three hits over eight innings, walking none and giving up just one run, a solo shot by Jason Bay in the eighth, before turning things over to Bobby Jenks to preserve Floyd's 11th win of the season.
Of course, it helped that Floyd was staked to a 3-0 lead in the first inning as Tim Wakefield showed some rust in returning to action for the first time since Aug. 26 due to a sore back. Mark Kotsay hit a home run off his former teammate and the White Sox never looked back, winning their fourth straight and clinging to the slimmest of playoff hopes for yet another day.
Then there's Ohlendorf, who did enter the history books Saturday when he struck out the side on nine pitches in the seventh inning against St. Louis. It was just the 40th time in major league history that has happened, and quite possibly the first in which the catcher dropped all three third strikes and had to throw to first base each time to record the out.
Certainly it helped that the Cardinals' lineup did not include Albert Pujols, Matt Holliday, Mark DeRosa or Yadier Molina, all of whom were given the day off by manager Tony La Russa, but Ohlendorf's outing still counts just the same for fantasy owners. He allowed just four hits and no earned runs over eight innings to go with his 11 K's.
Of course, because he plays for Pittsburgh, there was no victorious celebration after the game -- no victory at all. The game went into extra innings, and Albert Pujols came off the bench to hit his second career pinch-hit home run and his 44th of the season. The Pirates lost 2-1, their 81st loss of the season.
That's 17 seasons and counting for the Bucs without a winning season. As Spinal Tap might put it, "There's no place like nowhere."
• John Lackey did everything he could to match Zack Greinke's greatness Saturday -- and surprisingly, it was indeed enough. After giving up a first-inning run, Lackey shut down the Royals the rest of the way, allowing only six hits over nine innings. Greinke was equally as stingy, lowering his ERA to 2.22 on the year with eight strikeouts over eight innings and no earned runs. Unfortunately for the Royals, a Willie Bloomquist error allowed the Angels to tie the score 1-1 in the eighth, and both pitchers went home with a no-decision. Erick Aybar, who went 3-for-4 on the night, won the game for the Angels in the 10th inning with an RBI single, breaking a 0-for-17 slide.
• Matt Cain finally won his 13th game of the season, on his eighth try. Cain allowed only two runs over seven innings, while Yovani Gallardo of the Brewers struggled to make it through six innings, allowing three runs and throwing 111 pitches in the process. Pablo Sandoval went 0-for-4 in the game and is now mired in a 1-for-19 slump.
• Scott Baker also made it to lucky number 13, with a win over the Indians. He held the Tribe to just one run and three hits over six innings to improve to 13-7 on the season. However, since May 8, he's 10 games over .500 with a 3.65 ERA. Not too shabby for a guy who started the year 0-4 with an ERA above 9.00.
• Roy Oswalt was forced him to leave his start against Philadelphia on Saturday because of tightness in his back. He had taken a shutout into the seventh inning and had eight strikeouts before spasms caused by the flu derailed his efforts. The Phillies actually took the lead off the ineffective Houston bullpen, but luckily for Houston, Brad Lidge was there to blow yet another save. Kaz Matsui's game-winning single in the ninth was the 10th failed effort for Lidge this season. With Lidge at 0-7 and Brett Myers pitching a perfect eighth, could it be time for Charlie Manuel to make a change?
• More from the injury blotter: Gordon Beckham left Saturday's game with a "sore right side" and will be out of action Sunday, but the injury is not considered serious. ... On the other side of Chicago, however, the news is not as good. Alfonso Soriano is ready to have arthroscopic surgery on his left knee and, in all likelihood, will miss the remainder of the season.
• Give it up for Melvin Mora! That's what the veteran will likely be saying to potential suitors in the offseason as he enters free agency. Mora is hoping to close 2009 with a bang to leave a lasting good impression, and his 3-for-4 night with a home run and three RBIs off Kevin Millwood certainly fits that bill. That's his third home run in his past eight games.
• Josh Johnson made the most of his short outing, going the minimum five innings against the Nationals before being lifted for a pinch hitter. However, it was enough to earn him his 14th win of the season, as Hanley Ramirez's offense returned, at least for one day. Han-Ram had a two-run homer and an RBI double in the Marlins' 9-5 win.
• Randy Wolf has been terrific of late, going 5-0 over his past six starts, and he finished off Saturday's outing with a flourish by retiring 13 straight hitters before being removed after seven innings against the Padres. Andre Ethier and James Loney each drove in two to help give Wolf his 10th win of the season.
• Hitting ninth in the lineup doesn't mean your stats don't count. Just ask Cliff Pennington, who went 3-for-3 with a two-run homer against Luke French of the Mariners on Saturday. Oakland won the game 9-4. Pennington may be hitting only .252 on the season, but considering the rest of the ninth-place hitters for Oakland have hit a combined .230 this season, it's a huge step up.
Derek Lee, Cubs
Welcome to the world, Dylan Lee! After missing two games to witness the birth of his second child, Lee smashed a home run for each one of his kids at Citi Field on Saturday. Lee went 3-for-4 and drove in three and is one homer shy of 30 for the 2009 season.
Phil Hughes, Yankees
For the second time this week, Hughes was asked to record four outs, and he answered Joe Girardi's call, striking out three Blue Jays and recording his second save of the week. Hughes has been more than adequate filling in for Mariano Rivera, who is battling a groin injury, and his ERA is now just 1.11 out of the bullpen.
Jair Jurrjens has been snakebit this season. Despite having an ERA lower than 3.00, he's only 10-10 on the season, after a 3-1 loss to the Reds on Saturday. The last Braves pitcher to finish a season without a winning record with a sub-3.00 ERA and as many starts as Jurrjens? Warren Spahn, back in 1952, when the franchise was still in Boston.
• Speaking of Colorado, the team's newest acquisition, Jose Contreras, was officially activated Saturday to start against the D-backs. As has been the case with nearly every underperforming pitcher who has switched over the National League this season, Contreras shined in his debut, allowing only one run in 6 2/3 innings and earning the victory. Seth Smith homered, doubled and scored three times in the 4-1 win.
• Too bad the trade deadline has passed, because Detroit's Armando Galarraga could use some of that "changing leagues magic." The pitcher was recalled from Triple-A Toledo to take Jarrod Washburn's place in the rotation. The Tigers would have been better off contacting Andres Galarraga. Armando went only 2 1/3 innings, allowing six runs, including a three-run homer to Tampa Bay's Evan Longoria. Fortunately, Detroit was able to mount a comeback against James Shields and ended up winning the game with five runs in the seventh and eighth innings.
• Third baseman Edwin Encarnacion returned from the disabled list Saturday for Toronto, and scored twice, though he did not register a hit on the night. His batting average with the Jays stands at a woeful .180, and he made his fourth error with the team as well. Are the Blue Jays missing Scott Rolen yet?
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Stephania Bell: Sounds like they're calling it a pinched nerve -- usually means there's an inflamed disc causing pressure (either from the swelling or the disc itself) on a nerve, leading to pain radiating into the leg. He had an anti-inflammatory injection and they're waiting to see how that impacts his symptoms. Hard to say because since it came on quickly, it may actually clear up fairly quickly, at least enough to allow him to contribute for the remainder of the season. But they're being honest about day-to-day, because they literally evaluate how he feels daily. I would be surprised if he returned before a week, and of course it could go longer. Just keep checking team updates because there's really no way to predict.
-- Full chat transcript
Jayson Stark: Well, bad luck has been part of this. Goofy injuries. Mediocre run support. Unusually high average on balls in play. But that doesn't mean he's been the same pitcher he'd been the previous two years, either. I get the sense that halfway through that Mets loss two weeks ago, he said, "Screw it. I'm going to stop putting pressure on myself and just relax and enjoy pitching again." And he's been a much different guy ever since. Much better poise and command of all three pitches the last two times out.
-- Full chat transcript
Upcoming fantasy chat schedule:
AJ Mass: Tuesday, 11 a.m. ET
Brendan Roberts: Tuesday, 3 p.m. ET
• Two Mets looked good in rehab assignments Saturday. Carlos Beltran played all nine innings for Class A Brooklyn, and notched the game-winning RBI single in the bottom of the ninth. He is expected to play another full game Sunday before rejoining the Mets next week. Meanwhile, in Class A Port St. Lucie's season finale, John Maine threw four innings of shutout ball with six strikeouts and will return to New York's roster.
• Milwaukee's Braden Looper has never defeated the Giants (0-3, 5.65 ERA), but against Jonathan Sanchez and his 14.46 ERA at Miller Park, we're leaning slightly in Looper's favor Sunday.
• For more on Sunday's games, check Daily Notes.