Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Hamilton a Triple Crown Threat; Pence's 5-for-5 Leads Astros

Players of the Day from Tuesday, May 27, 2008 American League Cincinnati's loss has been the Rangers' gain. After hitting .292 with 19 homers and 47 RBI for the Reds as a rookie in 2007, Josh Hamilton was traded to the Rangers and he's already exceeded expectations. On Tuesday, Hamilton smacked a grand slam - his 13th home run of the season - and doubled in 5 at-bats, driving in five runs in the Rangers' 12-6 thrashing of the Rays.
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The five RBI gave Hamilton 58 on the year, miles ahead of the closest competition. Carlos Quentin is second in the AL with 44. The 13 homers has Hamilton second behind Quentin and his .329 batting average is tied with Joe Mauer and Milton Bradley as the best in the AL. Notes: Hamilton is looking having a triple crown season, while Lance Berkman is doing much the same in the AL. The last time a player led the league in average, home runs and RBI in the AL was Carl Yastrzemski in 1967 (.326, 44, 121). Frank Robinson (.316, 49, 122) did it the year prior, in 1966, playing for the Orioles. In the NL, the feat was last accomplished in 1937, when Joe Medwick hit .374 with 31 homers and 154 RBI for the St. Louis Cardinals. National League Albert Pujols went 4-for-4 and knocked his 12th home run, but Hunter Pence did him one better, going 5-for-5 at the plate and drove in two runs in Houston's 8-2 win over the Cardinals. Pence, in his first full season as the regular right fielder for the Astros, is batting .311 with 7 homers and 31 RBI, and is one of the reasons (besides Lance Berkman) that the Astros are challenging for the NL Central title. Notes: The Cardinals and Astros are both 30-23, 1 1/2 games behind the Cubs in the Central division. Florida remained 1 1/2 to the good over the Phillies, as the Marlins lost to the Mets, 5-3, while Philly won their third straight, a 7-3 win over visiting Colorado. Nothing much has changed in the West. Arizona still leads the Dodgers by 3 1/2 games.

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