Sunday, August 9, 2009

Fielder Carries Brewers; Span's 5-for-5 Paces Twins over Tigers

Players of the Day for Saturday, August 8, 2009 American League Following a 10-8 win Friday night, the NL Central-leading Tigers were looking to take their second straight at home from the 3rd-place Twins. Justin Verlander sought his 13th win, but it was not to be, as Denard Span went 5-for-5, scored three times and drove in a run, in an 11-0 Minnesota rout. Span led off the game with a double and scored on Joe Mauer's 20th home run. The Twins roughed up Verlander and two relievers, with every batter getting at least one hit. Span, after his game-opening double, singled four more times, upping his average to an even .300. Span has rocked Detroit pitchers, going 10-for-11 in the first two games of the series. Carl Pavano (10-8), in his first start since joining the Twins, pitched brilliantly, allowing 5 hits and no runs over 7 innings, strking out 5 without allowing a walk. The Twins, who finish the 3-game set in Detroit Sunday afternoon, continue to hang in the NL Central race, 4 1/2 games behind the Tigers. Their win helped the White Sox close to within 2 games of Detroit after the Sox came from behind to defeat Cleveland, 8-5. National League Though the Milwaukee Brewers are only a .500 team (53-53), 5 games out in the NL Central and 6 back in the wild card chase, Prince Fielder isn't giving up. The burly first baseman is having his usual outstanding season, chasing Albert Pujols for the NL RBI title. In Saturday's 12-5 thrashing of the Astros, Fielder was on his game, mashing a single, double and his 27th homer of the season, driving in three runs and scoring twice over 6 at-bats. Fielder's 98 RBI are second in the majors behind Pujols, who reached the 100-mark for the season with a 3-RBI double in St. Louis' 5-3 win over Pittsburgh. Pujols becomes the only player in major league history to have 100 or more RBI in each of his first nine seasons. Fielder, only 25, can be proud of his numbers. In three full seasons and thus far in 2009, he has 141 home runs and 410 RBI. His .303 batting average this season is 20 points higher than his career mark. NOTES: The Yankees took their third straight from the Boston Red Sox, as C.C. Sabathia dominated Boston hitters. The Yankees have now blanked the Sox for the last two games, a total of 24 straight innings, after Friday's 15-inning marathon and Saturday's shutout. The series concludes with the Yanks looking for the sweep with Andy Pettitte on the mound to face Boston's Jon Lester Sunday night. New York has opened a 5 1/2 game bulge on the Red Sox, who are in jeopardy of losing second place to the Rays, who are just 1 1/2 behind them. The Angels beat Texas, 3-2, opening back up a 4 1/2 game edge over the Rangers. The Dodgers lost their second straight and San Francisco won, closing to within 5 1/2 games of LA, the closest anyone has been to the division leaders since May. Following Sunday's series-ender with Atlanta, the Dodgers head up the coast for a three-game set at San Francisco, which could mark a turning point in the division. Philadelphia lost their second straight to the Marlins, who are now 5 back, with Atlanta 1/2 game behind them, in the East. The Cardinals and Cubs both won, so St. Louis retains a 1-game lead in the Central.

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