Sunday, June 14, 2009
Sanchez Slams Tigers; Hunter's 3 Bombs Led Angels Rout of Padres
Players of the Day for Saturday, June 13, 2009 American League The California Angels have spent most of the season in a spot to which they are unaccustomed, that being anywhere but first place in the AL West, but they aer just 3 1/2 games behind the Rangers after Torii Hunter launched 3 solo home runs against San Diego pitching in the Angels' 9-1 mashing of the Padres. Hunter's homers were part of a 14-hit attack, 8 of which went for extra bases. It was the second straight pasting put on the Padres by LA; on Friday, the Angels pounded them, 11-6. Hunter is surely enjoying hosting the Padres. On Friday, he hit a two-run homer in the first inning to welcome the San Diegans to Anaheim. Through all the injuries and setbacks endured by the Angels this season, Hunter has quietly put up some incredible numbers. He's batting .321, with 16 home runs, 49 RBI and 11 stolen bases. With fellow slugger Vladimir Guerrero - who missed more than a month in April and May - getting back into his groove, the Angels appear poised to make their move in the division. National League Pittsburgh may not be headed for the playoffs this year (again), but they do have a pretty good number of young hitters, as the Detroit Tigers found out on Saturday. Every position player in the lineup had at least one hit as the Pirates plundered the Tigers, 9-3, in the second of their three-game series. Making the most of the carnage done to Detroit's pitching staff was Freddy Sanchez, who belted a 4th inning grand slam that put the game out of reach. Sanchez, a staple at second base for Pittsburgh since 2003, also singled in the game, raising his batting average to .311. In 2006, Sanchez led the league in hitting with a .344 average. NOTES: In the NL West, most fans have been fixated by the Giants' recent pursuit of the Dodgers, but quietly, the Rockies have pulled into third place - still 10 1/2 games back - by winning 10 straight games. Following three straight losses to Houston to begin June, the Rockies began their streak the next day, with a 10-3 win over the Astros, then took four straight in St. Louis, three more at Milwaukee and have returned home to take the first two from Seattle, with the third and final game in the series Sunday. Despite the exceptional run, the Rockies are still two games under .500, at 30-32. The Dodgers remain 7 games to the good in front of the Giants in the division.