Monday, June 22, 2009

Pujols Puts Cards Back in First; Upton Paces Rays

Players of the Day for Sunday, June 21, 2009 American League Streaky? That would be the Tampa Bay Rays. So far this month, the Rays have won 4 straight, lost 3, won 6, lost 3 won 2, the last pair over the NY Mets, taking the last two in their three-game weekend series. In the 10-6 finale at the Mets' new home, City Park, the Rays banged out 17 hits, with B. J. Upton leading the charge with a 4-for-6 effort. Whenever Upton was up with men on, he made sure to get them home, driving in four total. In the 5th he doubled home a pair and later scored on Carl Crawford's single. After homering in the 7th with Pat Burrell aboard, he scored from third on a bases-loaded walk to Carlos Pena, crossing the plate for the third time. Not normally an RBI guy since he normally bats out of the leadoff spot, Upton notched a season high with his 4 RBI game. The Rays remain in 4th place in the AL East, but are just 6 games out of the lead and trail the Blue Jays and Yankees by one and two games, respectively. National League The St. Louis Cardinals took over first place in the NL Central and cemented their position on Sunday, thanks to a monster effort from - who else? - Albert Pujols. While the Brewers - who entered the weekend in first place - were being swept by Detroit, the Cardinals had the brooms working against Kansas City, outscoring the Royals 29-11 and taking the last game of the series by a 12-5 score. Pujols, who went 6-for-12, with 3 homers and 10 RBI during the three-game stint, saved his best for last. After singling home a run in the 1st, Pujols blasted a grand slam in the 4th inning as part of an 8-run outburst. With the game in hand, he then launched his major league-leading 26th homer, a towering dead-center solo-shot. Amassing 6 ribbies on the day, Pujols vaulted to the MLB lead in RBI, with 68. The Cardinals have a 1 1/2 lead over Milwaukee in the NL Central.

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