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Webb extends scoreless streak, wins fifth straight game

Aug 18, 2007 - 5:50 AM ATLANTA (Ticker) -- When a pitcher is going as good as Brandon Webb is, his offense doesn't need to score more than one run.

Webb became the first pitcher in over nine years to toss three consecutive shutouts, extending his scoreless streak to 42 innings as the Arizona Diamondbacks downed the Atlanta Braves, 4-0, on Friday.

The reigning National League Cy Young Award winner, Webb (13-8) became the first pitcher to toss three consecutive shutouts since Roger Clemens accomplished the feat from July 20-30, 1998 with Toronto. In doing so, the sinkerballer extended his scoreless streak to within 17 innings of tying the all-time record held by Orel Hershiser, a righthander with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1988.

"I was in Little League (in 1988); I was nine years old," jokingly said Webb, who didn't start pitching until he turned 10. "I was probably sitting in right field because I was awful and getting my minimum innings in and my one at-bat and sitting on the bench the rest of the game."

What a difference 19 years makes.

With his gem, the Diamondbacks ace matched Red Sox hurler Rube Foster's 42-inning scoreless streak set in 1914, the 12th longest stretch in majors. It is the longest streak since Hershiser set the record.

"Just two more shutouts, I should have no problem," Webb said with a smile. "(The record is) still way off. It's going to be tough to do."

"We couldn't hit Webb," Braves manager Bobby Cox said. "I guess nobody can hit Webb. He's that good. He's as good as anyone in the league right now and as good as he was last year."

Webb retired the first 10 batters he faced before Atlanta second baseman Kelly Johnson blooped a one-out double in front of a charging Chris Young in center field with one out in the fourth. But the sinkerballer struck out Chipper Jones and induced Mark Teixeira to fly out to center field to end the threat.

The 28-year-old righthander yielded just two hits and struck out six, throwing first-pitch strikes to 21 of the 29 batters he faced. He has not allowed a single run since yielding two to the Chicago Cubs on July 20 - a span of five starts.

"There's a reason why he's the Cy Young winner," Young said. "He's so good out there. There isn't a player that's excited to see him. He's probably the best pitcher I've seen so far."

Caught in Webb's gem were Brian McCann and Jones, Atlanta's two hottest hitters. McCann, who entered this one riding a 12-game hitting streak and Jones, who had a 10-game streak of his own, were each hitless in three at-bats.

"He's a great pitcher," McCann said. "He's extra tough on righties and he's very tough on lefties. He keeps the ball down. You have to hit what he's going to give you. Tonight, we didn't get the job done."

Young hit two solo shots and Mark Reynolds homered for Arizona, which improved to a league-best 23-10 since the All-Star break. The duo went deep for the second straight game, as they both blasted home runs in Thursday's series finale with Florida.

"I've been feeling good lately," said Young, who set an Arizona rookie record by smashing his 23rd and 24th homers. "I'm trying to take it one day at a time and from at-bat to at-bat and am trying to get better."

Reynolds' blast went an estimated 453 feet. The homer was the sixth longest shot in the 11-year history of Turner Field.

"It was a 3-1 fastball," Reynolds said. "I was looking for it. I got it and he left it over the plate. (It was the furthest I hit a ball) in the big leagues. I had a couple in the minor leagues before."

The winning effort gave the Diamondbacks a four-game lead in the National League West over the San Diego Padres (65-56), who dropped a 3-1 decision at home against the Houston Astros (55-67). Arizona (70-53) owns the best record in the NL, one full game ahead of the New York Mets (68-53), who defeated the Washington Nationals, 6-2.

Former Diamondbacks hurler Lance Cormier (0-3) drew the loss in a tough-luck outing, going a career-high 7 1/3 innings, permitting three runs and eight hits.

Jeff Francoeur collected the only other hit off Webb with a single in the fifth for the Braves, who fell 4 1/2 games behind the Mets in the National League East.








  • NL
    FINAL
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
    - - - - - - - - - - - -
    ARIZONA 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 2 1 4 9 0
    ATLANTA 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 (FINAL)

    BATTERIES: ARI - BRANDON WEBB AND CHRIS SNYDER
    ATL - LANCE CORMIER, PETER MOYLAN (8TH), TYLER YATES
    (9TH) AND BRIAN MCCANN

    HOME RUNS: ARI - CHRIS YOUNG (23) OFF LANCE CORMIER

    Aug 17 9:54 PM


  • NL
    AT ATLANTA - SCORING UPDATE
    SOLO HOME RUN BY CHRIS YOUNG (24) TO LEFT WITH 2 OUT IN THE
    9TH OFF TYLER YATES.
    CURRENT SCORE: ARIZONA 4, ATLANTA 0
    DUE UP FOR ARIZONA: O HUDSON (.293, 0-FOR-4)

    Diamondbacks vs. BravesAug 17 9:45 PM


  • NL
    AT ATLANTA - SCORING UPDATE
    TWO-RUN HOME RUN BY MARK REYNOLDS (11) TO LEFT CENTER WITH
    1 OUT IN THE 8TH OFF LANCE CORMIER SCORED CONOR JACKSON.
    CURRENT SCORE: ARIZONA 3, ATLANTA 0
    DUE UP FOR ARIZONA: C SNYDER (.254, 0-FOR-2, SAC)

    Diamondbacks vs. BravesAug 17 9:26 PM


  • NL
    AT ATLANTA - SCORING UPDATE
    SOLO HOME RUN BY CHRIS YOUNG (23) TO LEFT WITH 0 OUT IN THE
    3RD OFF LANCE CORMIER.
    CURRENT SCORE: ARIZONA 1, ATLANTA 0
    DUE UP FOR ARIZONA: O HUDSON (.295, 0-FOR-1)

    Diamondbacks vs. BravesAug 17 8:09 PM