Sunday, May 25, 2008

Bay Puts Cubs Down in 14th; Ordonez, Tigers Hammer Twins

Players of the Day from Saturday, May 24, 2008 American League After Magglio Ordonez gave Detroit an early lead with a two-run, first-inning homer, Minnesota tied it back up on Alexi Casilla's 2-run shot in the third, so when Ordonez next stepped to the plate, he was determined the Tigers were going to stay ahead. He knocked a two-run double to right and later scored as Detroit scored 4 times in the bottom of the 3rd, en route to a 19-3 demolition of the Minnesota Twins. Ordonez was not finished, however. He smacked another 2-run homer in the 4th and walked and scored in the fifth inning. By the time he was relieved by Ryan Raburn in the 6th inning, he had gone 3-for-3 with a double and two homers, 6 RBI and 4 runs scored - pretty fair performance for five innings of work. Following a sensational 2007 campaign (.363, 28 HR, 139 RBI), Maggs is getting into the swing of things even though the Tigers are woefully out of it in the AL Central. He's batting .330, with 9 homers and 35 RBI. Notes: The White Sox and Red Sox had respective 8 and 7-game win streaks halted on Friday night by the Angels and A's, but the AL West leaders went one better on Saturday, blanking the East and Central leaders. Jered Weaver smoked the White Sox on 3 hits over 8 innings and Francisco Rodriguez earned his 21st save as the Angels won, 2-0. In Oakland, Justin Duchscherer was nearly perfect through 8 innings in the A's 3-0 triumph over Boston, hitting Jason Varitek with a pitch in the 6th and allowing only David Ortiz' single in the seventh for the one-hitter. Huston Street pitched a perfect ninth for his 10th save. National League Having accomplished little since the days of Willie Stargell, Dave Parker, disco and leisure suits, the Pittsburgh Pirates don't usually get much press, but every now and then Jason Bay reminds us that there still are some real ball players in the Steel City.
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On Saturday, Bay went 4-for-6 with a two-run homer and the game winning RBI single in the 14th inning as the Pirates downed the Central-leading Cubs, 5-4. He also stole a base and scored twice as the Pirates (still 6 games back) knocked down the Cubs into a first-place tie in the division with the Cardinals. Notes: Jeff Francoeur cracked a two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth, breaking a 1-1 tie and giving the Braves the 3-1 win over Arizona on Saturday. Who was on base when Francoeur unloaded? Obviously, it was Chipper Jones, who had two hits in four at-bats and continues to lead the majors in hitting with an astonishing .417 batting average. Jones has been a machine at the plate, already amassing 73 hits through just 46 games. At his present pace (73-175), Jones would play in 151 games, have 574 at-bats and produce 240 hits. That would put him close to the NL record of 254 by Lefty O'Doul (1929) and Bill Terry (1930). Even if he doesn't break any records, 240 hits would be the most by a National Leaguer since Joe Medwick's 237 in 1937.

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