Sunday, April 12, 2009

Sabathia Blanks Royals for 7 2/3; Pujols Slam, 3-Run Shot Grounds Astros

Players of the Day for Saturday, April 11, 2009 American League Following an opening day disaster (4.1 innings, 8 hits, 6 runs in a 10-5 loss to Baltimore), C.C. Sabathia quickly dispelled all doubts about his ability, delivering an impressive 7 2/3 innings of shutout ball and a 6-1 Yankee win at Kansas City. Sabathia threw 108 pitches (71 for strikes), allowed six hits while striking out six to even his record at 1-1. Aided by a pair of double plays, Sabathia got into a little bit of trouble in the fourth and fifth innings, but managed to get the third out with runners on base each time. He also plunked a pair of batters, helping to keep those in the batter's box off balance and leery of inside pitches. The Yankees improved to 3-2 and are 1 1/2 games behind Toronto, the AL East leaders. National League There are only a few players in major league baseball who can turn games around with one swing of the bat, but possibly the most polished and deadly is St. Louis' Albert Pujols, who actually did his damage with two swings in Saturday's 11-2 thrashing of Houston. With a grand slam in the 5th and a three-run shot in the 7th, Pujols vaulted into ties for both the NL home run and RBI leads and kept the Cardinals in first place in the NL Central, 1/2 game ahead of the Pirates and Cubs. Pujols (maybe we can just start calling him "Albert") has knocked out 3 homers and has 9 RBI, which tied him with Florida's Hanley Ramirez.

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