Thursday, July 23, 2009

Man-Ram Pinch-Hits Dodgers to Win; Scutaro's Pair of Homers Lifts Jays

American League July has been a rough month for the Toronto Blue Jays. Amid swirling trade rumors for ace starter Roy Hallady, the Jays have put together a 6-10 record thus far and have fallen out of the AL East race, now 10 1/2 games behind the Yankees. As it has been for many of the recent years past, the Jays look like they're being reduced to play the role of spoiler down the stretch. Despite the hard times, leadoff hitter Marco Scutaro and some of his teammates continue to produce at the plate. In Wednesday's 10-6 win over Cleveland, Scutaro cracked a pair of home runs in consecutive at-bats in the 5th and 6th innings - a solo shot, and then a 3 run blast which put the game away. The Jays sent five balls over the walls in the win. A starter since 2004, Scutaro is having his best season to date, batting .286 with 8 homers, 43 RBI, 67 runs and 8 steals. National League Players of the Day for Wednesday, July 22, 2009All of LA anxiously awaited the return of Manny Ramirez from his 50-game suspension, and Manny, in his usual dramatic fashion has made the wait worthwhile. Since his return to the starting lineup July 3, Manny has produced at a .347 clip with 5 homers and 17 RBI, but none was more satisfying than his pinch hit grand slam in the Dodgers' 6-2 win over the Reds, breaking a 2-2 tie and sending the Dodgers to their 5th win in a row. The Dodgers maintained their comfortable 9-game lead over Colorado in the NL West. NOTES: Todd Helton laced his 500th double on Wednesday, in Colorado's 4-3 win over Arizona, and followed that feat up with an 8th-inning, game-winning solo homer for the second-place Rockies. Colorado continues to chase the Dodgers in the division, but has a 1 1/2 game bulge on sliding San Francisco in the wild card race. The Giants have lost 5 of 6 since the All Star break. Over in the AL, the Rangers completed a three-game sweep of the Red Sox, dropping Boston into second place in the AL East. Meanwhile, the Angels were doing the same to the Royals, keeping Texas 3 games back. The Rangers have crept to within 2 1/2 of the Red Sox in the wild card chase, still a distinct possibility, with nearly 70 games left to play for each team. The Central continues contentious, with the White Sox and Twins dogging the Tigers, 1 and 2 1/2 back, respectively. Key series this weekend include the White Sox at Detroit and the Twins at LA. In the NL, the Cardinals visit Philadelphia while the Cubs host the Reds.

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