Saturday, April 25, 2009

Pena's Pair Crushes A's; Victorino Slams Marlins in 9th

Players of the Day for Friday, April 24, 2009 American League Tampa Bay's Carlos Pena socked a pair of homers - a three-run shot in the 3rd and a solo blast in the 6th - to lead the last-place Rays to an 8-2 victory at Oakland. Pena leads the majors with 8 home runs and is tied with St. Louis' Albert Pujols for the major league RBI lead with 21. The Rays, last season's AL champions, are struggling, however, with a 7-10 record at the bottom of the AL East standings, already 5 1/2 games back of the surprising Blue Jays, who have the best record in baseball at 13-5. National League Blanked by Florida starter Josh Johnson for 7 innings and another by reliever Leo Nunez, the Phillies entered the top of the 9th trailing the Marlins by a 3-0 score. Florida closer Matt Lindstom melted down in the final inning, allowing a double to Jayson Werth and three walks, producing the Phillies' first run. With the bases still loaded, Shane Victorino then launched a grand slam into the right field stands, and Chase Utley finished the job with a solo homer for a 7-3 Philly win. Victorino's homer was his only hit of the game and just his second long ball of the season, but, as he did in last fall's World Series, he made the most of his moment. The last-inning eruption brought the Phillies to within 3 1/2 games of the NL East-leading Marlins, who, after a torrid 11-1 start, have now lost 4 straight, including being swept at Pittsburgh earlier this week. The Phillies have two more games at Florida, Saturday and Sunday, and hope to tighten the divisional race even further.

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