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Braun, Cahill named the week's best

Braun, Cahill named the week's best

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Consistency has been the name of the game this season for Athletics hurler Trevor Cahill. But this past week, the young hurler took it up a notch.

Cahill, who highlighted his strong season with a dominanting week on the hill, picked up Bank of America American League Player of the Week honors on Monday, joining Brewers' slugger Ryan Braun, who earned the National League Player of the Week Award.

Cahill, 22, completed a commanding week on the mound, going 2-0 with a 0.00 ERA in 17 innings of work. In the first start of the week, on Aug. 2, he tossed his first career complete game, a three-hit shutout of the Royals. He showed great execution, but his teammates are more impressed by his demeanor.

"What I'm impressed with -- besides his stuff and his ability -- is his mentality," catcher Kurt Suzuki said. "He's such a fun, happy-go-lucky guy off the field, but when he goes on the mound, he's a competitor."

On Sunday he continued his success, allowing just two unearned runs in eight innings to the AL West-leading Rangers.

The young right-hander has now made 19 consecutive starts of at least five innings in which he allowed six hits or fewer. The impressive streak is the second longest of its kind in modern Major League history, just behind Nolan Ryan's streak of 20 starts in 1972-73. Cahill credits his impressive numbers, now 12-4 with a 2.56 ERA, to an emphasis on getting ahead of batters.

"If I'm not going to strike guys out, I've got to go deep into games," Cahill said. "I think that's kind of what I didn't do last year -- get ahead of a lot of guys. This year I'm able to get ahead of them and go deeper into games and save the bullpen."

Despite Cahill's success, it's likely he wouldn't want to face his National League counterpart. But then again, the way Braun is swinging the bat, there probably aren't many pitchers itching to face him.

Braun hit a Major League-leading .538 this past week, pacing the pack with 14 hits. In addition to tallying at least one hit in each of his games, he had four multihit appearances.

On Aug. 2, Braun tied a career high with five hits in a rout of the Cubs. He and teammate Prince Fielder became just the third pair of Brewers to record five hits in a game in franchise history.

"There's no reason to explain it. There's no reason to look into it," Braun said. "Enjoy it while it lasts and move on to the next one."

Braun's recent signs of life are all the more impressive considering he'd been battling through what by his high standards is a down season, statistically. The 2007 Rookie of the Year hit just .200 in July and is off his earth-shattering pace of years past, but he isn't getting caught up in the numbers.

"I just try to move on, man," he said this week. "There's no reason to dwell on the past; dwell on what's negative. I try to stay positive, stay optimistic and move forward. I can't go back and get an extra 20 hits or 10 home runs or drive in an extra 30 runs."

Bailey Stephens 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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