Thursday, July 10, 2008

Chicago's Night of the Carlos: Quentin, Zambrano Lead Sox, Cubs

Players of the Day from Wednesday, July 9, 2008 American League Carlos Quentin belted a pair of homer runs, drove in 4 and scored 3 runs in a 7-6 White Sox win over Kansas City, but it was his 8th inning trot down the third baseline after a balk by KC reliever Ramon Ramirez that provided the winning margin. Quentin has walked earlier in the inning, and wound up at third base when Jim Thome singled home Orlando Cabrera to tie the game. Going first to third proved to be a winning move by Quentin. Quentin has 21 home runs, one less than league leader Grady Sizemore. The White Sox have won 4 straight, improving their advantage over the Twins to 3 1/2 games. Detroit is 7 back. Notes: Drama night in the AL... Josh Hamilton belted a 2-run, walk-off homer off ace reliever Francisco Rodriguez, who leads the AL - and the majors - in saves with 35, as the Rangers topped the Angels, 6-5. It was his third blown save of the season. Hamilton leads the majors with 89 RBI, and his 20 homers has him in third place in the AL. In Detroit, Miguel Cabrera hit his 3rd homer in the past two games, a two-run shot in the bottom of the 9th to give the Tigers a 8-6 win over the hopeless Indians, who have now lost 10 in a row. It was the Tigers' 3rd straight win. Bobby Abreu doubled home Derek Jeter in the bottom of the 10th inning to give the Yankees a 2-1 win over Tampa Bay, beating them for the second straight game. With Boston pounding the Twins, 18-5, the Rays are just 2 up on the Red Sox and 6 1/2 better than the Yankees. National League Why are the Cubs sailing along in first place in the NL Central? Maybe because Carlos Zambrano (10-3) has incredible stuff. On Wednesday, Zambrano put that stuff on display for 8 innings of one-hit ball, as the Cubs downed the Reds, 5-1. The Chicago ace struck out 5, walked none, and the only hit was a 2nd inning solo homer by Adam Dunn, who has 23, third in the NL behind Chase Utley and Ryan Howard, both of whom have 25. Following Dunn's blast, it was Carlos in charge, as he set down the next 23 batters in order, mostly on harmless dribblers and pop-ups. It doesn't get much better than that. It was the third straight win for the Cubs, and with both St. Louis and Milwaukee losing, upped their lead to 4 1/2 and 5 games, respectively, over their two main rivals in the division. Notes: Close, but no cigar... The Phillies snapped a four-game losing streak with a 4-2 win over the Cardinals while Florida and the Mets both won (5 straight for NY), but the Phillies still lead by 1 1/2 in the NL East. In the West, it's a dead heat between Arizona and LA, both at 45-46.

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