Volstad pitches first career shutout against Giants
July 8, 2009
SAN FRANCISCO – Chris Volstad knew he had it from the first pitch that left his hand.
“It was one of those days everything just came together,” he said.
It was, indeed.
Volstad pitched a five-hitter for his first career complete game, Dan Uggla hit a three-run homer and the Florida Marlins beat the San Francisco Giants 7-0 on Wednesday to avoid a sweep.
Volstad (6-8) struck out six and didn’t walk a batter to win for just the second time in eight starts, finishing the 2-hour, 22-minute game on an efficient 105 pitches. The Marlins ended a four-game losing streak in the Giants’ waterfront ballpark with only their sixth win in the club’s last 18 games in San Francisco.
Volstad retired the final 11 batters he faced and 16 of the last 17, allowing only Randy Winn’s sixth-inning single during that span. The right-hander had gone seven innings four times this season and 8 2-3 was his previous high, on July 11 last year as a rookie against the Dodgers in his first career start.
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“I was hoping that 8 2-3 in my debut wasn’t going to be my longest outing,” he said. “I felt like I was on a roll. I was able to throw my sinker whenever I needed to for strikes.”
Teammate Cody Ross collected the game ball for Volstad as a keepsake, and the pitcher quickly packed it away safely in his bag.
He won’t pitch again before the All-Star break, so this outing surely will provide some momentum heading into the second half.
“It’s huge,” Volstad said. “It’s a good one to think about during the break.”
Giants rookie Ryan Sadowski (2-1) allowed his first runs in his third big league start after pitching 16 scoreless innings to begin his career.
Uggla connected in the top of the ninth for his 16th homer and Jorge Cantu had two hits and drove in a run for Florida.
Sadowski struck out the side in order in the third but his streak ended in the fourth. He allowed a one-out single to Cantu followed by Jeremy Hermida’s double. The right-hander then retired Ross on a called third strike, but John Baker followed with a sharp single to left. Winn fielded the ball and made a perfect throw home to get Hermida and save another run.
“A couple of soft-hit balls got through and they were able to put together some runs,” Sadowski said. “I struggled with my command all day.”
Sadowski’s scoreless streak was the longest by a Giants pitcher to start his career since Al Worthington began with 19 in 1953. The 16 scoreless innings topped Hall of Famer Juan Marichal’s mark of 15 to start his career in 1960 and also 15 by Dick LeMay in ’61.
Sadowski received a warm ovation from the crowd when he walked off the mound after being replaced by Justin Miller in the sixth. He was tagged for five hits and three runs, two earned, with four strikeouts and four walks.
“He has great poise out there,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “He keeps his focus. He doesn’t get rattled. He was a little bit off, I think it’s fair to say.”
All-Star Hanley Ramirez missed his fourth straight game with a right hip flexor, though the Marlins aren’t talking about placing him on the disabled list just yet. Still, his status to start for the National League in next week’s All-Star game in St. Louis appears uncertain.
He hopes to play Thursday at Arizona, thinking the heat might help him get loose and ready to return. The Marlins finish the first half with four games against the Diamondbacks.
The tides turned in Florida’s favor after the Marlins were blanked 3-0 on Tuesday night on the Giants’ majors-best 12th shutout of the season. It was the Marlins’ third shutout, while the Giants were held without a run for the fourth time.
Nobody had more than one hit for San Francisco, which had won seven of 10.
NOTES: Volstad, who lost to the Giants in his lone other appearance June 5, also had his sixth career hit with a ninth-inning single and scored two runs. He has three outings this year with no walks. … Backup Eli Whiteside has been Sadowski’s personal catcher after they worked together in the minor leagues. … San Francisco missed out on its fourth three-game sweep at home this season. … Triple-A INF Emmanuel Burriss will undergo left foot surgery Friday and miss two months. He has a broken baby toe.
Red Sox 5, Athletics 4
BOSTON – First-time All-Star Tim Wakefield earned his AL-leading 11th victory, and David Ortiz homered and drove in four runs to lead the Boston Red Sox over the Oakland Athletics 5-4 Wednesday night.
Wakefield (11-3) left to a standing ovation in the seventh inning in his final scheduled start before the break. The 42-year-old knuckleballer is 9-0 in his last 11 starts at Fenway Park.
J.D. Drew led off the Boston sixth with a home run that made it 1-all. Ortiz connected for a three-run shot later in the inning.
Wakefield gave up three earned runs and 10 hits. He struck out eight and walked one.
Jonathan Papelbon gave up a run in the ninth, but got his 22nd save. Jack Cust had three hits, including an RBI single, but struck out with two runners on to end the game.
Kurt Suzuki had three hits and drove in two runs for Oakland.
Boston trailed 1-0 before scoring four times in the sixth against rookie Trevor Cahill (5-8). Drew homered into the Athletics’ bullpen and Ortiz homered deep into the right-field seats.
Ortiz drove his fourth run with a grounder, making it 5-3 in the seventh.
Wakefield exited with two runners on and no outs in the seventh. Reliever Manny Delcarmen nearly escaped without allowing a run, but a strange play kept the inning going.
Boston shortstop Nick Green stepped wide of second base as he caught first baseman Mark Kotsay’s throw trying to double up Bobby Crosby on a shallow fly. Suzuki then singled in two runs.
Cust, just 9 for 45 with 21 strikeouts in his previous 13 games, gave Oakland a 1-0 lead with his single in the second.
The Athletics had runners on first and third with no outs after jumping ahead, but Wakefield retired the next three hitters easily, fanning the final two – Mark Ellis and Crosby – swinging.
Wakefield also worked out of a jams the next two innings.
In the third, Matt Holliday fouled out and Suzuki grounded out with two on.
Wakefield gave up Cust’s leadoff double in the fourth, but Crosby lined into an inning-ending double play.
NOTES: Oakland 1B Nomar Garciaparra got a standing ovation again when he pinch hit. He received a lengthy one Monday in first Fenway game since being traded in 2004. … The Red Sox activated SS Jed Lowrie from the 60-day disabled list on Wednesday and optioned him to Single-A Lowell so he can continue to play after left wrist surgery in April. To make room, OF Jonathan Van Every was designated for assignment. … Athletics 1B/DH Jason Giambi, in a 5-for-44 slump, was benched against Wakefield. He’s hit .163 (15 for 92) against Wakefield with 21 strikeouts. … Cahill was Oakland’s second 21-year old starter in the series. LHP Brett Anderson threw a two-hitter to win the opener. … Boston avoided losing a second straight series at Fenway. The Red Sox earlier lost consecutive home series against the New York Mets and Texas Rangers – though they were nearly two weeks apart.