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Blanton earns AL rookie honor

Blanton earns American League rookie honor

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OAKLAND -- A's righty Joe Blanton hasn't gotten much run support from his teammates this season, which helps explain why he's 8-11 despite a 3.51 ERA.

But on Tuesday it was announced that for the second month in five, he got enough support from baseball's beat writers to earn the American League Rookie of the Month award.

Blanton, who went 3-1 with a 1.17 ERA in seven starts, can now put the August trophy next to the one he claimed in June, when he went 5-1 with a 2.06 ERA in six starts.

"Awards are great," said Blanton, for whom the A's have scored one run or less in 14 of his 28 starts this year. "But I'd have to say that winning games is better."

Blanton and righty Gustavo Chacin of the Blue Jays are the only rookies who have won the award twice this year, but Blanton isn't even allowing himself to entertain thoughts of succeeding A's shortstop Bobby Crosby as the AL Rookie of the Year.

"I'd trade any kind of trophy for a chance to pitch in the playoffs, in a heartbeat," said Blanton, whose A's entered Tuesday 1 1/2 games out in the AL West and AL Wild Card races. "Not that winning something like this isn't cool, but the playoffs are what we play for."

Blanton, who allowed just six runs in 46 innings during the month, had the lowest ERA among AL starters and was sixth with 36 strikeouts. He didn't allow a run in three of his starts, and he didn't allow more than two runs in any of them.

Yet despite manager Ken Macha's frequent stumping for Blanton as the AL Pitcher of the Month, Bartolo Colon of the Angels won the award with a 5-0 mark and 1.72 ERA with 28 strikeouts in six starts.

"I guess five wins beats three in the eyes of whoever votes on these things," Macha said. "But Joe made more starts and had a lower ERA, so he's the pitcher of the month in my eyes."

"It just confirms what I've always said," offered A's ace Barry Zito. "People pay more attention to wins than anything, and I think that's wrong. Pitchers don't have any say in what his team's offense does."

Blanton beat out teammates Huston Street, who went 9-for-9 in save chances with a 0.64 ERA in 12 games, and first baseman Dan Johnson, who batted .287 with six homers and 19 RBIs. They finished second and third, respectively, in the voting. Street also received votes for Pitcher of the Month.

Mychael Urban is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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