Friday, July 3, 2009

Lee's 7 RBI Lifts Cubs; Abreu Keeps Angels on Top

Players of the Day for Thursday, July 2, 2009 American League The LA Angels weren't happy about dropping two of three to the Rangers, leaving Arlington, Texas with a slim 1/2-game lead in the AL West, but Bobby Abreu made sure they'd remain ahead of the idle Rangers, knocking a pair of homers in LA's 5-2 victory over Baltimore. Abreu, signed as a free agent from the Yankees in the off-season, has been a key player for the Angels, especially considering all the injuries this season, and on Thursday he proved his worth, driving in all but one of the Angels' runs. After launching a solo homer in the 4th, Abreu returned in the 5th to blast a three-run homer, his 6th of the year. Despite the lack of long-ball power, Abreu has been a consistent run-producer in LA, knocking in 48 thus far in 2009. The win put LA a full game ahead of the Rangers in the division. National League They may not be the best teams in the majors, but the six NL Central squads are certainly providing an exciting pennant race for all fans involved. The Pirates trail the division, 6 games back, but after that, no team is further then 3 games out (Astros). Right in the middle of this mess are Lou Piniella's Chicago Cubs, who had the pleasure of knocking off division-leading Milwaukee, 9-5, Thursday, courtesy of Derrek Lee's 7 RBI effort. The game kicked off a four-game series in Chicago between the Brewers and Cubs, so Lee's power burst couldn't have come at a better time for the Cubs, who have once again reached the .500 mark, at 38-38, 2 1/2 games behind the Brewers and Cardinals. Lee got the Cubs on the board early with a 3-run homer in the first inning, and followed that up with a grand slam in the 4th which blew the game open. The Cubs did not score again after Lee's second home run. The 7 RBI were a career high for Lee, who had 14 homers and 48 RBI to go with a .285 batting average. The crucial series continues in Chicago on the 3rd, 4th and 5th, all day games.

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