Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Kennedy Key in A's Win; Wainwright Stifles Dodgers

Players of the Day for Tuesday, July 28, 2009 American League The Oakland A's aren't going to win their division this season, but that doesn't mean they can't make other teams hate them. Take Boston, for instance. with the Yankees losing at Tampa, the Red Sox had an opportunity to tighten the AL East race. A win would have gotten them to within 1 1/2 games of the streaky Yanks, but the A's, led by Adam Kennedy's 5-for-7 effort, battled back from a 6-2 deficit to win, 9-8, in 11 innings. Batting in the leadoff spot, Kennedy, usually relied upon to score runs instead of driving them home, drove in three, including the game winner, as he rapped out 4 singles and a double to pace the A's. Down at the bottom of the lineup card, teammate Mark Ellis gathered four hits in six at-bats - a pair of doubles and two singles - stole a base and scored four times. The A's are 17 games behind the Angels in the West, while Boston trails New York by 2 1/2 in the East. National League It's obvious to just about anyone who follows our national pastime that the St. Louis Cardinals have more than enough weapons to with which to compete for the NL crown. One often overlooked weapon is starter Adam Wainwright, who, in just his third season as a full-time starter, is compiling a resume worthy of close inspection. Wainwright picked up his fourth win in his last five starts, improving to 12-6 overall, teasing the LA Dodgers with 8 innings of shutout ball, allowing 8 hits and a walk while fanning five for a 10-0 Cardinal win. St. Louis moved back into first place in the Central with the win, as the Cubs were bested by Houston, 11-6. Wainwright is on his way to career bests in a number of categories in 2009, including ERA (2.80) and wins. His previous bests were 3.20 (2008) and 14 (2007). He's holding opponents to a .247 batting average and is among the league leaders in strikeouts with 135. At 27, the 6'7" Wainwright has a superb career record - 39-22 - and is one of baseball's most promising young stars. NOTES: Wide Open NL Wild Card: The race for the wild card in the National League is shaping up to be one for the ages. As of Tuesday's results, the Giants and Rockies are tied for the lead at 54-46, both teams trailing the Dodgers by 8 games in the West. After them, the Cubs are next, just one game back, then the Marlins, 2 behind, with the Astros and Braves both 3 games out. Those six teams include two from each division, setting up a potential late-season win-or-go-home scenario.

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