Sunday, July 6, 2008
Sonnanstine Trumps Royals; Ankiel Deals for Cards
Players of the Day from Saturday, July 5, 2008 American League While the Red Sox were losing a heartbreaker in New York, 2-1, the Tampa Bay Rays were extending their advantage in the AL East to 4 games as Andy Sonnanstine threw 7 innings of shutout ball as the Rays cruised past KC, 3-0. Sonnanstine (10-3), allowed five hits and a walk while fanning two for his 4th straight win. The Rays have won six straight and have the best record in the majors at 54-32. Notes: Terrible Tigers? Just when the Detroit Tigers seem on the verge of getting into the AL Central race, they lose two straight to Seattle and have fallen 7 off the pace. At least they're not as feeble as the Cleveland Indians, whose front office figuratively threw in the towel by letting word out that star pitcher C. C. Sabathia was on the trading block. The disappointing Indians have lost 7 straight and are 13 1/2 out, in last place in the Central, behind even Kansas City. What a pitiful return for a team which went to the ALCS just last year. National League It's only July, but it feels like September in St. Louis where the Cubs and Cardinals are battling for Central division domination. On Saturday, Rick Ankiel got the Cardinals on the board with a solo home run in the 6th inning, then slapped a based-loaded single to center in the bottom of the 9th, plating the tying and winning runs as the Cardinals beat the Cubs, 5-4. Ankiel finished 3-for-5 with 3 RBI and his 18th home run of the season. The win moved the Cardinals back to within 2 1/2 games of the Cubs, after dropping a 2-1 decision on Friday. The two teams play the rubber game of the series Sunday afternoon. Notes: Milwaukee beat the Pirates, 2-1, and are just 3 1/2 behind the Cubs. In the West, Arizona lost for the 4th time in their last 5 games, dropping their second straight to San Diego, 4-2. The Dodgers, meanwhile, resisted the opportunity to take over first place in the division, by blowing a 2-0, 6th inning lead to the Giants, losing, 5-2. They remain 1/2 game back, though the Giants are now threatening, just 4 games out.