Saturday, June 20, 2009

Thames Hammers Brewers; Ludwick, Rasmus Lead Cards

Players of the Day for Friday, June 19, 2009 American League The Tigers beat back the Brewers, 10-4, in a rain-shortened, 7-inning affair in Detroit which featured a pair of two-run home runs by one of baseball's hardest-hitting batters, the seldom-used Marcus Thames. Thames got the scoring started with a bomb in the first with Curtis Granderson aboard and capped the night with a another mash in the seventh, this time with Miguel Cabrera on base. Having played in just 19 games this season, Thames has 3 homers in his 54 at-bats. He missed much of the season with a strained rib cage and has suffered assorted injuries in his five years in the bigs. When he's otherwise healthy or in the lineup, he's a bona fide masher. Of his 327 career hits, almost half - 163 - have been for extra bases. Thames has knocked 67 doubles, 3 triples and 93 home runs in his major league days. The Tigers remained 2 games ahead of the Twins in the AL Central with the win, their second straight and first in their weekend series hosting the Brewers. National League Colby Rasmus (left) went 4-for-5 and Ryan Ludwick (right) smashed his first career grand slam as the Cardinals downed the Royals, 10-5, in Kansas City. Rasmus doubled and stroked three singles, scored twice and drove in a pair of runs as the Cards pounded out 14 hits. Ludwick only had one hit in his four at-bats, but it was a big one, produced after the KC brain trust decided to walk Albert Pujols to load the bases in the third inning. Ludwick's four-run blast was just the first of three homers in the frame. After his bomb, Rick Ankiel and Kahlil Greene hit back-to-back solo shots. With Milwaukee losing to Detroit, the Cardinals gained to within 1/2 game of the NL Central leaders. By the end of the weekend, the Cardinals, who play KC twice more, may find themselves atop the division. NOTES: Break up the Nats! The Washington Nationals took the final two games of their series with the Yankees and went up to Toronto on Friday to take the opener of their three-game series, 2-1, in 11 innings. It marked the second time this season that the Nationals have won 3 straight, the other back in May, when they took the finale in LA and then went to Arizona to take the first two games of their series. If the Nats win on Saturday, it will be the longest winning streak of their season. Meanwhile, a couple of teams that are truly hot reside in - of all places - the NL West, for years one of the weakest divisions in baseball. The Rockies won their 3rd straight and 14th of their last 15, with a 7-3 win over Pittsburgh. Colorado is finally over the .500 mark, at 34-33, 9 1/2 behind the Dodgers in the division. Just ahead of them, the San Francisco Giants - 8 games back - have been pretty good since late May, posting a 16-9 record recently to put themselves into at least a widl card contending position and with a possibility of running down the Dodgers.

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