Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Scott Drives in 7 for O's; Zito Delivers for Giants

Players of the Day for Tuesday, July 7, 2009 American League After being shut out, 5-0, on Monday, the Orioles' hitters got back at Mariners with a 12-5 rout highlighted by Luke Scott's 3-hit, 7 RBI night at the dish. Scott got things started for the O's in the first inning, lashing a bases-loaded single up the middle to plate the first two runs of the game. In the 6th, with the game tied at three, Scott struck again, this time with a double that brought home two more runs. He later came home on Melvin Mora's single, to up the lead to 7-3. But Scott was hardly finished. In the 7th he cranked out his 17th home run of the season, a 3-run shot that put the game on ice and upped his seasonal RBI total to an even 50. The 3-for-4 effort upped his batting average to .305. With the Angels and Rangers so far splitting their series in Anaheim - and now in a flat-footed tie for first in the division - Seattle remains 3 1/2 off the pace. After finishing up with the O's Wednesday, they host a crucial four-game series with Texas beginning Thursday. As for the O's, they're in their usual spot, dead last in the AL East, 13 1/2 back. National League With all the attention focused on Tim Lincecum, Barry Zito has become somewhat of a forgotten man in the Giants' rotation. It was just a few years back that Zito signed a lucrative deal with San Fran, but since jumping across the Bay from Oakland, Zito has compiled a record of 26-38 and an ERA close to 5.00. On Tuesday, however, there was hope that Zito (5-8) still had what made him such a hot property as he mowed down the Florida Marlins on 4 hits over 8 1/3 innings en route to a 3-0 Giants' win. Allowing just one walk while punching out 6 on strikes, Zito's stuff wasn't exactly electric, but good enough to have Bay area fans buzzing about the prospects of running down the LA Dodgers in the NL West. With a healthy Barry Zito and Lincecum continuing his outstanding season, the Giants could continue to cut into LA's 7-game edge. As it stands right now San Fran is already the leader in the wild card race, a full three games ahead of their closest competitor, Milwaukee. A couple of caveats for the Giants: Randy Johnson, who went on the 15-day DL Tuesday, might be gone longer. He is, after all, 45 years old, but a healthy Big Unit back in time for late August into September couldn't hurt. The other big if is how well Ryan Sadowski will continue to throw. He's 2-0 with an ERA of 0.00, but he's only been on the mound for 13 innings. If the Giants can stay in the hunt until Johnson's return, the sky's the limit.

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