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Alvarez pitches first career shutout

The Sports Xchange
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Right-hander Henderson Alvarez pitched a six-hit shutout in a 4-0 win over the Angels on Friday to create a little Blue Jays history.

It was not only the 22-year-old's first career shutout, but it was the second successive shutout by a Blue Jays pitcher against the Los Angeles Angels in the first two games of the four-game series in Anaheim.

Right-hander Brandon Morrow pitched a three-hit shutout in Thursday's 5-0 win in the series opener.

It was the first time since June 16-17, 1993 that

Blue Jays starters had pitched shutouts in back-to-back games. Right-hander Jack Morris pitched a five-hit shutout in a 4-0 win at Minnesota. The next game at Toronto, left-hander Al Leiter two-hit Boston in a 7-0 win.

But even more impressive was the back-to-back

shutouts pitched in 1988.

First, left-hander Jimmy Key shut out the Red Sox 1-0 on two hits and one walk at Boston on Sept. 28. After a day off on the schedule, the Blue Jays came home to old Exhibition Stadium and right-hander Dave Stieb blanked the Orioles 4-0 on one hit on Sept. 30.

The only hit Stieb allowed was a bloop single down the right-field line by pinch-hitter Jim Traber with two out in the ninth.

It gets better. It was Stieb's second successive one-hitter. In Cleveland on Sept. 24, Julio Franco bounced a single over the head of second baseman Manny Lee with two out in the ninth to break up the no-hitter.

And in Stieb's start before that one, on Sept. 18 in Toronto, he shut out the Indians on four hits. So he pitched three successive shutouts allowing a total of six hits and five walks with 16 strikeouts in 27 innings.

Good luck matching that.

But Alvarez was more than good enough against the struggling Angels doing what he does best Friday, inducing 13 ground-ball outs to go with three strikeouts.

"Our defense was very well positioned throughout the game," said Alvarez, through interpreter Luis Rivera. "They made several really nice plays behind me. I always know that I am the type of pitcher who is going to make the other team swing the bats and my defense backed me up. In the first inning, I knew my sinker was moving really well. I figured if it continued like that, this was going to be a good game for me."

Copyright (C) 2012 The Sports Xchange. All Rights Reserved.

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