I mean, who predicted this? Aaron Cook, a former All-Star but recent throwaway best known in Boston as the guy who got his leg sliced open on an ill-fated play at the plate in May, threw a two-hit, 81-pitch, complete-game shutout against the Seattle Mariners last night in Seattle. The Sox won, 5-0, keeping them tied for third in the AL East with Tampa Bay, and within striking distance of suddenly-mortal Baltimore.
81 pitches – that averages nine pitches per inning. That averages three pitches per out. Does it get more efficient than that?
It’s safe to say this probably isn’t going to be a new normal for Cook – that would be a tough new normal for Cy Young to uphold – but Cook’s teammates enjoyed the show. Cody Ross told the Boston Globe that it “was the best I’ve seen him,” and called the night “an unbelievable game.” Bobby Valentine credited Cook’s early control of his sinker, which made the Seattle players put the ball in play. Meanwhile, Cook told the Globe:
It means a lot to go out there and prove that I’m where I want to be, where I was trying to, to be a effective pitcher and give out team a chance to win games. I think every pitcher, when they take the mound, they want to go out and throw a complete game and throw a shutout. To go out and do it, it definitely means a lot.
This was Cook’s third career shutout, and the 2008 All-Star’s first since his 2009 season. No Mariners runner made it past first base all night.
The Boston defense picked Cook up once or twice. In the bottom of the eighth inning, Dustin Pedroia started an amazing double play when he dove to his right to snag a ground ball and then flipped the ball to second from his glove, without taking the time to transfer the ball to his throwing hand. Will Middlebrooks started another tough double play in the fourth inning, when he had to charge in to get time to pull off the twin killing and nailed the throw to Pedroia despite an awkward angle.
Four Sox hit home runs last night to power the offense. The resurgent Jarrod Saltalamacchia hit a two-run shot in the sixth inning to cap off a scoring binge that saw Middlebrooks, Ross, and Daniel Nava hit solo shots in the fifth inning.
Here’s a link to the ridiculously efficient box score, courtesy of the Red Sox.
The Sox have won 10 of their last 13 games. They’ll try to make it 11 of 14 tonight, when they take on Seattle again at Safeco Field. Josh Beckett (4-7, 4.14 ERA) will come off the disabled list to take on Erasmo Ramirez (0-2, 4.18 ERA).