Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Quentin Leads AL Home Run Chase; Soriano Keeps Cubs on Top

Players of the Day from Monday, August 5, 2008 American League Carlos Quentin socked his 29th home run, drove in two runs and scored on Nick Swisher's 3-run shot in the bottom of the 14th, as Chicago outlasted Detroit, 10-8. Quentin leads the AL in homers and is third in RBI, with 86, behind Justin Morneau (89) and Josh Hamilton (108). The White Sox win was important, as Minnesota took an 8-7 loss at Seattle and are back in second place, 1 game out. Possibly more importantly, the Sox put the Tigers further behind. Detroit is now 7 1/2 games back and, at 55-57, likely out of the wild card race as well, unless they get hot soon. Notes: The Rays and Boston both won on Tuesday, keeping Tampa Bay 3 games clear of the Red Sox. The Yankees are falling out of the race, losing their second straight to Texas, 8-6. New York is 6 1/2 back. In the West, the Angels were blanked by the O's, 3-0, and now are a mere 10 1/2 games better than the Rangers. The Oakland A's lost their 8th straight, 4-3, at Toronto. National League Since his return from injury on July 23, Alfonso Soriano has provided a big bat in the leadoff spot for the Cubs, and he came through again on Tuesday with a single, double, 3-run homer and 4 RBI as the Cubs outsluggled Houston, 11-7.
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How important to the Cubs' success has Soriano been? Since his return, he's hit safely in 12 of 14 games and the Cubs are 10-4, including 4 straight over 2nd place Milwaukee last week. With a healthy leadoff batter of Soriano's stature, Chicago is steamrolling towards the NL Central title, 5 ahead of the Brewers and 5 1/2 past the Cardinals. Notes: Brandon Webb became the majors' first 16-game winner, as Arizona topped Pittsburgh, 3-1, and increased their lead over LA to 2 1/2 games. Webb pitched a complete game, fanning four without walking a batter. He allowed 9 hits and 1 earned run. In the East, Florida won, 8-2, at Philly, to move to within 1 1/2 games of the division leader. The Mets topped San Diego, 6-5, and are 2 games back.

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