Thursday, August 7, 2008
Guerrero, Angels Hammer O's; Albert the Great Powers Cards
Players of the Day from Wednesday, August 6, 2008 American League Vladimir Guerrero hit a two-run homer in the first inning (his 20th) and singled home another pair in the 4th inning as the Angels clobbered the Orioles, 9-4, and improved their AL West lead to 11 1/2 games over the Rangers, who lost at New York, 5-3. The A's losing streak extended to 9 games, taking a 5-1 beat at Toronto. Notes: Tampa Bay and Boston both won, so the lead in the East is still 3 games for the Rays, with the Yankees hoping for a break, 6 1/2 back. The White Sox took another swipe at Detroit's post-season hopes, knocking down the Tigers, 5-1, and putting Detroit 8 1/2 back. The loss was Detroit's 6th straight and their hopes of even being the wild card now seem faint, 10 games behind the Red Sox, who are currently the wild card qualifier. The Twins are still in hot pursuit of the White Sox in the Central, one game back after beating Seattle, 7-3. National League It's probably not a good idea to give Albert Pujols any extra incentive to beat you. After all, he's won various awards over his 7+ year major league career, owns a World Series championship ring and has never hit less than 32 home runs or driven in fewer than 103 runs (both last season). So, when Manny Ramirez homered in the 2nd inning and singled in another run in the 3rd, to give the Dodgers a 3-1 lead, it obvious Pujols wasn't about to be shown up in his own park. He had already singled and scored in the first inning, but in the bottom of the third he started a two-out St. Louis rally by doubling and scoring. The Cards tied the game with another run in the frame. After the Dodgers went quietly in the 4th, Pujols delivered the fatal blow: a grand slam homer that upped the lead to 7-4. Right after his blast, Ryan Ludwick homered to make it 8-3. Game over. Final score: Cardinals 9 Dodgers 6. Pujols was on base after all five of his plate appearances, singling twice more and taking a walk in the 6th. His .352 batting average is second in the league to Chipper Jones (.369), but that's just more incentive for Albert the Great. Notes: The Cubs and Brewers both won Wednesday, so the Cardinals remain 1/2 game behind Milwaukee and 5 1/2 below the Cubs. In the East, the Phillies scored a 5-0 win over Florida while the Mets were losing, 4-2, to the Padres, leaving Philly 2 1/2 to the good over Florida and 3 better than the Mets. Arizona and LA both lost, so the Diamondback lead remains at 2 1/2 games in the West.