Bits: McCarthy shuts down Rangers

Oakland Athletics right-hander Brandon McCarthy won his fifth consecutive decision Thursday, holding the Texas Rangers to one run on three hits in seven innings. McCarthy, who fanned five and didn't walk anyone -- he didn't go to a three-ball count, either -- has looked strong since coming off the disabled list two starts ago and remains available in nearly 30 percent of ESPN standard leagues.

Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Norichika Aoki slugged a pair of home runs Thursday, including the 10th-inning game-winner. Aoki isn't a power hitter; these were his first blasts to leave a stadium all season. Aoki is hitting .303, though, leading off and is capable of stealing bases. For now, he's merely a deep-league option, but someone to watch.

Cleveland Indians right-hander Derek Lowe was torched for seven runs in Detroit Thursday, the second time in three outings he was hit hard. Lowe has been flirting with danger all season with a microscopic strikeout rate; even now, his 3.72 ERA (it was 3.06 a day ago) doesn't match a 1.50 WHIP. Run away before more poundings hurt your team.

San Francisco Giants middle infielder Ryan Theriot had four hits Thursday, and since being confirmed as the team's No. 2 hitter less than a week ago, he has raised his batting average 49 points. Theriot also stole a base, his third in four days. Of course, this is Ryan Theriot, and he has no power, but those in deep leagues should add him while he's hot and hope he keeps running.

Atlanta Braves left-hander Mike Minor allowed only one run in five innings Thursday, winning his third game, but don't be fooled. Minor also walked five Miami Marlins, throwing only 55 of 103 pitches for strikes. Minor remains owned in 28.7 percent of standard leagues. Perhaps it will take a demotion for Minor to be parted with by fantasy owners, likely coming when right-hander Kris Medlen is ready in roughly 10 days.

And finally, it certainly appears that Boston Red Sox right-hander Clay Buchholz has turned things around; he threw a four-hit shutout against the Baltimore Orioles Thursday, and in his past three outings, he has allowed four runs in 24 innings, striking out 19 against four walks. Try to ignore the season numbers and add Buchholz, owned in 42.6 percent of ESPN leagues, for next week's scheduled start in Miami.