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Old 06-16-2008, 10:51 PM   #1
BettisFan
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Default Doumit, Nolasco share NL honors

http://pittsburgh.pirates.mlb.com/ne...=.jsp&c_id=pit

"Starting pitcher Ricky Nolasco was so close to breaking one of the most peculiar droughts in Marlins history.

On Sunday, the 25-year-old righty was just one out away from being the first Marlins hurler to throw a complete game since way back in September 2006, but was taken out of the game with two down in the ninth against the Rays.

But Nolasco didn't come up short on Monday. He joined Pirates catcher Ryan Doumit as the Bank of America co-Players of the Week.

Nolasco went 2-0 with a 1.23 ERA and 15 strikeouts in two starts last week to win the award for the first time in his three-year career. Doumit hit .400 with an NL-leading four home runs and seven RBIs and also took the award for the first time.

Nolasco, who gave up two runs in 14 2/3 innings last week, has now won five of his last six starts and six of his last seven decisions. On June 10 against the slugging Phillies, Nolasco didn't allow a run in his six-inning outing. Then on Sunday, the third-year pitcher allowed two runs and struck out a career-high 12 batters, but fell just short of what would've been another first -- the complete game.

After retiring the first two batters in a 9-2 game in the ninth, Nolasco gave up a walk and a single, prompting manager Fredi Gonzalez to go to his bullpen.

"We gave [Nolasco] an opportunity with the off-day coming on Thursday -- he has an extra day [of rest]," Gonzalez said after the game. His Marlins finished the week 3-4 and now sit at 37-32, three games back of the NL East-leading Phillies. "But normally I don't like to push guys past 125 [pitches]. We wanted to give him an opportunity, at least a chance, to do it.

"We were both, I guess, cheering it on."

Everything was looking great for Doumit so far this season -- he had his batting average well over .300 and had finally solidified the starting spot behind the plate in his fourth year with the Pirates. But a fractured left thumb forced him to go on the 15-day disabled list on May 14, and he seemed to be taking steps backwards when he went 1-for-12 in his first three starts since being activated from the DL on June 4.

But the 27-year-old busted out once again last week, going 10-for-25 with a .960 slugging percentage, 25 total bases and a league-leading eight runs scored.

And it all started with a big game against the Nationals on Tuesday.

That night, Doumit had his first-career four-hit game and added two home runs, three RBIs and two doubles. For the series, the Moses Lake, Wash., native went 9-for-11 with four home runs, seven RBIs and a dinger in each game.

After a 4-3 week, his Pirates are now 34-36, 11 games back of the NL Central-leading Cubs, and will start a three-game series with the White Sox on Tuesday at 8:11 p.m. ET.

"This guy has the potential to be an All-Star catcher," Pirates manager John Russell said of Doumit recently. "If he continues to do what he does, especially offensively, he's going to be one of the better all-around catchers in the league. It's a good thing for him. It's a great thing for [the Pirates]."

Also nominated for the award were: Nolasco's teammate Jorge Cantu (.300 average, three home runs, six RBIs), Pat Burrell (.350 average, three home runs, six RBIs), Ryan Howard (.520 slugging percentage, two home runs, nine RBIs), Lastings Milledge (.357 average, one home run, three RBIs), Ronnie Belliard (.333 average, two home runs, six RBIs), Elijah Dukes (.345, one triple, four RBIs), Jamie Moyer (1-0, 0.00 ERA, three strikeouts), Jesus Flores (.609 slugging percentage, two home runs, nine RBIs), Dmitri Young (.417 batting average, one home run, three RBIs), Jim Edmonds (.421 average, one home run, seven RBIs), Geovany Soto (.381 average, one home run, three RBIs), Ryan Dempster (1-0, 2.00 ERA, 11 strikeouts), Ted Lilly (2-0, 2.13 ERA, 14 strikeouts), Michael Bourn (.400 average, eight hits, one RBI), Carlos Lee (.429 average, two home runs, five RBIs), Edgar Gonzalez (.407 average, three doubles, one home run), Jake Peavy (1-0, 0.00, four strikeouts), Ryan Ludwick (.346 average, two home runs, eight RBIs), Braden Looper (1-0, 0.00 ERA, four strikeouts), Rich Aurilia (.389, seven hits, three RBIs), Aaron Cook (2-0, 4.15 ERA, six strikeouts), Carlos Beltran (.400 average, two home runs, eight RBIs), Mike Cameron (.300 average, three home runs, five RBIs), James Loney (.474 average, .737 slugging percentage, three doubles) and Mark Reynolds (.308, two home runs, six RBIs).

Nolasco and Doumit will be awarded suitably engraved Swiss Timepieces by Tourneau in recognition of their accomplishment. "

Yea baby the Bucs are only improving!
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