Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Barlett, Crawford, Rays 1-2 Punch; Reynolds Having Career Year

Players of the Day for Monday, August 3, 2009 American League No two players better exemplify the importance of the 1 and 2 batters in a lineup more than Tampa Bay's Jason Bartlett (left) and Carl Crawford (right). Their enormous talents were on display in Monday's 10-4 Rays win over Kansas City. The pair started right off in Tampa's half of the first inning. Bartlett walked, Crawford singled and both advanced on Evan Longoria's ground out. The solid baserunning paid off when Carlos Pena drove them both home with a 2 RBI single. In the 2nd, with runners on first and second, Bartlett laid down a bunt to load the bases and Crawford delivered with a double plating two more. Before KC knew what was happening, the Rays were up 4-0. As the game progressed, the onslaught continued. Bartlett finished up 3-for-4 with a single, double and triple, 2 RBI and 2 runs. Crawford went 3-for-5 with 3 RBI a run and his league-leading 49th steal, 1 better than Boston's Jacoby Ellsbury. Bartlett and Crawford rank third and ninth in AL batting average, at .337 and .317, respectively. The Rays picked up a half game on the idle Yankees, whom they trail by 5 1/2 games. National League The Arizona Diamondbacks are hopelessly out of contention in the NL West, but the team has hopes that the remainder of this season will prepare then for better things in 2010. One of the reasons for optimism in the desert is the play of third baseman Mark Reynolds, who, in his third full season, is putting up numbers that identify him as a blossoming star. Reynolds mashed a pair of homers - a solo shot in the first and a two-run bomb in the second - to pace the D-Backs to a 6-0 lead, as they held off the Mets, 6-5. Dan Haren struggled through 7 innings to get his 11th win and Chad Qualls picked up his 20th save with a 1-2-3 9th. With his two home runs, Reynolds has put 32 out of ballparks, challenging St. Louis' Albert Pujols for the NL lead. Pujols has 34. Reynolds is also moving up the RBI ladder into a tie for 6th with Milwaukee's Ryan Braun, with 73 on the year. though he is well behind the leaders, Prince Fielder (93) and Pujols (92). NOTES: Milwaukee kept the National League competitive with a 6-5 win over the Dodgers Monday night in LA. Ryan Braun went 4-for-5, with a 3-run homer (his 22nd), as the Brewers remained tied with Houston in third place in the NL Central, 4 games behind the Cardinals and Cubs. With the Dodgers losing for the 7th time in their last 11 outings, the Rockies and Giants continue to entertain thoughts of running down the division leader. The Dodger lead was cut to 6 1/2 as the Rockies won their 4th straight, a 6-4 win at Cincinnati. San Fran dropped 1/2 game behind Colorado, losing, 4-3, at Houston.

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