Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Aybar Goes 7-for-9 in Twin Bill; Furcal Sets Tone in Dodger Win

Players of the Day for Tuesday, July 21, 2009 American League After a rainout Monday, the LA Angels swept a pair of games from slumping Kansas City, winning the first, 8-5, before thumping the Royals in the second, 10-2. The Halos amassed 25 hits over the span of those two games, with shortstop Erick Aybar accounting for 7 of them. In the opener, Aybar went 3-for-4 with a double and two singles, an RBI and three runs, but he bettered that effort in the nightcap, with a double, triple, two singles, a stolen base, two runs and three RBI. Aybar has been a pleasant surprise for the Angels, finally playing full time at short with a .315 batting average. He is just a few plate appearances short of the minimum for qualified leaders, but will likely get those soon. The twin wins pushed the Angels' lead in the West to 3 games. National League The LA Dodgers have won four straight, reopening a fat 9 game lead in the NL West. Their latest hit-fest, a 12-3 home romp over the Reds, was spearheaded by leadoff hitter and shortstop Rafael Furcal, who singled twice, homered, drove in 4 runs and scored twice. Furcal and his Dodgers lead the NL in batting, with a .275 average and 895 hits. They are third in RBI and runs, with 446 and 472, respectively. NOTES: After a solid run, the Giants have fallen on hard times, losing four of five following the All-Star break and being overtaken for second place by the Rockies, who have won four of six over the same span. It all may be for naught, however, with the Dodgers seemingly on cruise control, 9 games out in front. The Rockies are in good position for the wild card, though, with a three-game edge over Atlanta. In the AL, the Yankees won their 5th straight and have finally overtaken the Red Sox for the top spot in the East. New York leads the Red Sox by one game, with Tampa Bay 4 1/2 back. Amid rumors that Roy Halladay is about to be traded, the Blue Jays have fallen out of it, now 10 1/2 back. The Yanks have gotten hot again. After losing three straight into the break, they've come out firing, winning their last five, and now appear to be the team to beat in the East.

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