Saturday, June 21, 2008

Guerrero Drives Angels to 7-1 Win; Ramirez Homers Twice to Down ChiSox

Players of the Day from Friday, June 20, 2008 American League Don't tell anybody, but the LA Angels are putting together another division-winning kind of season, leading the pesky A's by 3 1/2 games in the AL West, thanks to players like Vladimir Guerrero, who hit a two-run homer - his 11th - in the first inning, singled twice, drove in three runs and scored twice in the Angels' 7-1 win at Philadelphia.
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At 44-30, the Angels have the second-best record in the American League, behind Boston's 46-30. And while they don't dominate in any hitting or pitching categories, they do lead the league in saves at 30, testament to their winning close games. Notes: After dropping five straight and falling to last place in the AL East, the Blue Jays fired manager John Gibbons and replaced him with former manager Cito Gaston. That move still didn't help one of the weakest offenses in the league, as Toronto lost to the Pirates, 1-0, in 10 innings. The Jays scratched out only 8 hits in the game, all singles except for Alex Rios' pair of doubles. While Toronto sports the third-best team ERA in the AL at 3.54, they are third-worst in runs scored (297) and RBI (277), ahead of just Seattle and Kansas City. National League Winning teams usually are that way because they win the close ones, and that's exactly what the Chicago Cubs did Friday night in their 4-3 win over their cross town AL rival White Sox. Trailing 3-1 in the seventh, the Cubs tied the game on back-to-back solo home runs by Derreck Lee and Aramis Ramirez, who ended it two innings later with a walk-off shot to center. Lee's home run was his 15th, Ramirez' two blasts give him 12 on the season. The Cubs improved their record in one-run games to 12-11. Notes: Shades of Ernie Banks? Leading the majors in home runs is Dan Uggla, the Florida Marlins second baseman, who belted two on Friday to give him 23 on the season. Uggla, in just his third season, hit 27 in 2006, 31 last year and is on pace for his best effort yet.

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