The Wrap: AL
AL Quote of the Night
"I'm just so excited to be back. I want a World Series ring. Hopefully I can help this team get there. I'll clean toilets if I have to, and I told them that."
-- Red Sox pitcher Paul Byrd who went from throwing batting practice for his son's youth team to picking up a win for Boston
Paul Byrd made his first major league start since last September and outdueled scuffling Toronto pitcher Roy Halladay. Byrd tossed six innings of scoreless ball and allowed three hits and three walks for his first win in 357 days. Halladay, on the other hand, gave up four runs over six innings to suffer his third straight loss, his longest skid since last April. Halladay is just 3-5 in eight starts since the all-star break. Kevin Youkilis was more than happy to capitalize on Halladay's struggles, going 2 for 4 with three RBI for the Red Sox. Joining Byrd in making his debut with Boston was reliever Billy Wagner who pitched a scoreless eighth, allowing one hit while recording all three of his outs via strikeout.
Orioles rookie pitcher Brian Matusz turned in the best performance of his young career, striking out eight over seven innings to pick up his third win. The 22-year-old former first-round pick needed only 97 pitches to record his longest outing and set a career high for strikeouts. Felix Pie continued his hitting tear, blasting a two-run homer off of Cleveland starter Justin Masterson in the third inning. Masterson has compiled a 1-3 record in five starts since being dealt to the Indians from the Red Sox at this year's non-waiver trade deadline.
Pitcher Zack Greinke continued to ply his trade in the vacuum that is Kansas City, allowing one hit and one walk in a complete game shutout of Seattle. Greinke struck out a pedestrian five Mariners but still only needed 114 pitches for his third shutout and sixth complete game of the season. It was just the second time since the beginning of July that Greinke failed to strike out six or more batters in a start.
The Rangers fell one game further back of the Boston Red Sox in the wild-card standings as reliever C.J. Wilson allowed three runs in the bottom of the eighth, allowing the Twins to rally at home. Minnesota was able to take two of three from visiting Texas while putting some distance between itself and the floundering Chicago White Sox as both chase the first-place Detroit Tigers in the AL Central. Denard Span, Jason Kubel and Nick Punto each had two hits to lead the Twins' offense.
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