Monday, May 18, 2009

Santiago's 4-for-4 Puts Tigers on Top; McLouth Powers Pirates

Players of the Day for Sunday, May 17, 2009 American League The Tigers took a 1-game lead in the AL Central with an 11-7 win over Oakland on Sunday, but it wasn't the usual sluggers at the top of the order who delivered the goods. Down in the #8 spot, utility infielder Ramon Santiago put on a hitting clinic with two singles, a triple and a three-run homer, four RBi and 3 runs. Santiago, who is used as a replacement for second baseman Placido Polanco or shortstop Adam Everett, may be playing his way into a permanent lineup spot. In just 54 at-bats, Santiago has 19 hits, 3 homers, 19 RBi and is hitting a very respectable .352. National League Despite beating up on the Rockies in an 11-4 win Sunday, the Pirates are back where they've spent much of the decade, last place in the NL Central. One bright spot for Pittsburgh is center fielder Nate McLouth, who began his major league career as a leadoff hitter because of his blinding speed. Pirates' management soon discovered that McLouth was much more than just a speedster, and moved him into the power positions in the lineup. He responded with 26 homers and 94 RBI in 2008, and is off to a solid start in 2009, with 7 dingers and 28 ribbies. On Sunday, batting out of the three hole, McLouth hit a solo homer in the third, and then led a 10-run 7th-inning with a single, driving in two, scored, and later doubled, plating the final Pirate tally. McLouth's night was 3-for-5 with 4 RBI and a pair of runs scored. McLouth still has that blazing speed, though he's stolen only 5 bases this season without being caught. In his short career, he's only been thrown out 5 times in 67 steal attempts.

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