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Pitching duel better than slugfest

May 25, 2009

Remember that episode of The Simpsons when Bart goes crazy and believes Major League Baseball is spying on him? And when Mark McGwire comes in an distracts everyone by hitting a few dingers? I’ve always thought that was the perfect representation of the mentality of the average baseball fan, especially in 1999 when the episode aired.
Well, personally, while a big home run does get me off my feet at the park, nothing excites me more than a game filled with excellent defense and a great pitchers’ duel. Today, the Brewers and Cardinals provided just that.
Yovani Gallardo pitched a no-hitter into the sixth inning while his counterpart, Chris Carpenter, took a perfect game into the seventh. Each pitched eight innings of shut out ball for their respective teams while allowing only two hits. Carpenter struck out 10 and Gallardo retired six on strikes. The two combined to average fewer than 15 pitches per inning.
The game went to extra innings scoreless, something rare in today’s game. In the 10th, Brewers pitcher Carlos Villanueva shut down the Cardinals in order, setting up the most exciting finish of the season in Milwaukee.
Second baseman Casey McGehee hit a hard grounder at Brian Barden (April’s NL Rookie of the Month), who couldn’t handle it, putting the go-ahead run on base for the Brew Crew. Next up for the Brewers, Ryan Braun hit a grounder off the glove of pitcher Kyle McClellan that was fielded by shortstop Brendan Ryan and thrown to first to record the first out.
McGehee advanced to second on the play and would move to third on a fielder’s choice by Mike Cameron, who grounded to first following an intentional walk issued to Prince Fielder.
Bill Hall, who entered the game as a defensive replacement in the ninth inning for rookie Mat Gamel, came through with a two-out single to the right centerfield gap to drive in McGehee for the game-winning run. And if anybody deserved that moment, it was Hall, who had been struggling.
It doesn’t get much better than a 1-0 walkoff win.
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