Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Murphy 4-for-4 for Hit-Happy Rangers; Soriano, Jones Top NL Stars

Players of the Day from Tuesday, June 3, 2008 American League How many hot hitters can one team have? The Texas Rangers seem to have more than their fair share. Consider that in last night's 12-7 thumping of the Cleveland Indians, both Ian Kinsler and Michael Young extended their hitting streaks - to 19 and 20 games, respectively - Josh Hamilton homered for the 4th straight game, but rookie David Murphy's 4-for-4 night at the plate stole the show.
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Murphy singled twice, doubled, and socked his 7th homer of the season, drove in two runs and scored three times. It was the second time this season that Murphy had four hits in a game and his 18th multi-hit performance. He's batting .292 and is the leading candidate for AL Rookie of the Year honors. Notes: The highly-anticipated debut of Yankee Joba Chamberlain as a starter didn't come off as planned. After 62 pitches and 2 1/3 tortuous innings, Manager Joe Girardi pulled the kid after he had allowed 2 runs (1 earned) on a hit and four walks. Though his fastball was approaching 100 mph, Joba couldn't find the plate and was sent back to the hut... er, dugout. He didn't get the loss. That, ironically, fell to his reliever, Dan Giese, who was called up from AAA to replace Chamberlain in the bullpen and was the Yankees' best pitcher, allowing just one run on five hits over 3 2/3 innings. Toronto won, 9-3. Roy Halladay improved to 7-5. The Blue Jays tightened their grip on third place. The Yankees fell to last. National League Mr. Leadoff, Alfonso Soriano (left) led the Cubs to their 9th straight win, beating the Padres, 9-6. Soriano doubled, homered, scored twice drove in three runs and stole a base as the Cubs remained 3 1/2 ahead of the Cardinals in the NL Central. Meanwhile, in Atlanta, Chipper Jones (right) continued to assault baseballs without regard to the collective ERA of National League pitchers. After homering in the first to give the Braves a 3-0 lead, Jones singled and scored in the 8th, tying the game at 4, with Mark Teixeira scampering home behind him with the game-winner as the Braves topped the Marlins for the second straight night, 5-4. Chipper has 13 homers, 38 RBI and is continues to lead the world with a .409 batting average. Notes: Pedro Martinez came off the DL for his first start since early April on Tuesday and turned in a so-so performance, allowing 3 runs on 7 hits and three walks over 7 innings. The Mets won the game, 9-6, and while Pedro got his first win of 2008, the sad saga of Barry Zito continued as the high-priced starter lost his 9th game against just one win. Zito was horrible, lasting just 4 1/3 innings, giving up 5 earned runs on 7 hits and 5 walks. His ERA is an unacceptable 5.89.

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