Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Abreu Helps Yanks to 5th Straight; Jackson, D-Backs Bomb Cubs

Players of the Day from Tuesday, July 22, 2008 American League Down 2-1 in the bottom of the 6th, Bobby Abreu crushed a 2-run homer off Minnesota Kevin Slowey to give the Yankees a lead they would not relinquish in an 8-2 win over the Twins. Abreu came up big again the following inning, doubling home Derek Jeter and scoring his second run of the night. The 2-for-4 performance helped New York draw to within 3 1/2 games of the first-place Rays, who were being hammered, 8-1, by the Oakland A's. New York has won 5 straight since the All Star break and has one more game left with the Twins on Wednesday, seeking the 3-game series sweep. After a day off Thursday, they travel to Boston for three games. Boston beat Seattle, 4-2, on Tuesday, and are just 1/2 game behind the Rays in the AL East. Notes: By beating up on the Twins, the Yankees are helping the White Sox maintain their lead in the Central division. Chicago downed Texas, 10-2, on Tuesday, and are now 1 1/2 ahead of Minnesota and 5 1/2 clear of Detroit. The Sox may need help to stay on top. They are just 9-8 in July. National League Conor Jackson singled, doubled and knocked his 10th home run of the season in Arizona's 9-2 rout of the Chicago Cubs on Tuesday. Jackson drove in three runs and scored twice, helping the Diamondbacks back into sole possession of first place - and a .500 record at 50-50 - in the NL West. While the D-Backs were sending the Cubs to their 5th loss in the last 6 games, the Dodgers were being hammered, 10-1, at Colorado, now 7 games off the pace. The defending NL champion Rockies, who surprised everyone with a late-season run last year, will have to do better against teams in their own division if they are to repeat. They are a miserable 14-24 vs. the NL West.
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Notes: Milwaukee won for the 6th straight time, beating St. Louis, 4-3, to slip into second place, just a game behind the Cubs in the Central. Philly took one away from the Mets with a 6-run 9th inning rally and an 8-6 win in the first of their 3-game series. The mound meltdown was typical Mets. Without closer Billy Wagner, New York had nobody capable of shutting down the Phillies and saw Johan Santana's 8 innings - in which he allowed just 2 earned runs - wasted. The Phillies have a 1-game edge over the Mets and Marlins, 4-0 winners over Atlanta, as 4 pitchers combined for a one-hitter.

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