Sunday, July 20, 2008

Pujols Powers Cardinals, Morneau's 5 RBI Crushes Rangers

Players of the Day from Saturday, July 19 2008 American League Justin Morneau hit a bases-clearing double in the fifth inning, driving in three runs, then blasted a two-run homer (15) in the 6th to lead the Twins to a 14-2 rout of the Texas Rangers. Morneau is second in the AL in both batting and RBI, at .325, with 73 driven in. With the White Sox being belted, 9-1, by Kansas City, the Twins closed the gap to 1/2 game in the Central division race. The Tigers continue to taunt their fans, losing an 11-10, 10-inning game to the Orioles - their second straight loss to the O's - to drop 7 1/2 off the pace. Notes: The Angels knocked off Boston for the second straight day, handing Josh Beckett his 6th loss against 9 wins. The key blow was pinch-hitter Erick Aybar's bases-loaded triple in the 7th inning that turned a 2-1 deficit into a 4-2 lead, which is how the game ended. Beckett, who had been cruising, was stung for all four runs in the 7th. Vladimir Guerrero led off the inning with his 16th homer before the Angels loaded them up for Aybar's heroics. Both the Rays and Yankees won, so Tampa Bay now has a 1 1/2 game lead on Boston, with the Yankees 5 1/2 back. New York's 4-3, 12-inning win over the A's was a small favor to the Angels, improving their AL West lead to 8 games. If the Angels can bring in guys off the bench who hit 3-run triples off one of the game's best pitchers, just how good are these guys? National League St. Louis crept to within 2 games of Central division-leading Chicago with a come-from-behind 6-5 win over San Diego. Cardinals' starter Todd Wellemeyer allowed five runs over the first three innings, but gave the Padres no more, as he and four relievers blanked San Diego's hitters on five hits the rest of the way. In the fifth inning, Albert Pujols smacked a bases-loaded double to get the Cards back to within 5-3 and then scored on Rick Ankiel's single. An inning later, Pujols knocked in what would prove to be the game winner with a single that plated Brendan Ryan.
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Continuing to close in on league-leader Chipper Jones (.374), Pujols went 3-for-4 with 4 RBI, upping his batting average to .359. Houston's Lance Berkman is third at .343. Notes: With the Cubs losing their third straight, 4-1, at Houston, and Milwaukee winning their fourth straight, 8-5, at San Francisco, the Brewers are also closing in, now just 3 games back.

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