French and Saunders

I got an instant message from a co-worker at about 2:00 saying a friend of hers had an extra ticket for tonight’s Angels-A’s game. Yes, even though I had made the 80-plus-mile round-trip to Anaheim for games Tuesday and Wednesday, since my rule is to never turn down a last-minute baseball invitation (especially when the ticket is free), I made the trip again.

One storyline in this game was that it was Dallas Braden’s first start after his perfect game last Sunday. He needed to retire the first three batters to break Catfish Hunter’s A’s record of 29 consecutive batters retired — and Braden retired only the first two. The game did become a pitchers’ duel, with Braden battling Joe Saunders, and with the difference being the Angels’ big 6th inning.

Both pitchers went the distance, just as in the Angels-Royals game Levi, Jason, and I saw last May in which Zack Greinke went up against Joe Saunders. Same result: a complete-game win for Saunders.

Let me highlight this fact: Joe Saunders has pitched exactly two complete-game shutouts in his major-league career. I have seen both of them live.

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