Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Mauer Leads Twins, Batting .383; Garko Delivers for Giants

Players of the Day for Tuesday, August 18, 2009 American League Losers of 9 of their last 12 entering Tuesday's meeting with the Texas Rangers, the Minnesota Twins were in desperate need of a win to just remain in the wild card and AL Central conversation, and it was their best hitter, Joe Mauer, who delivered for Minnesota, with a pair of solo home runs and an RBI single in five at-bats that led to a 9-6 Twins win at Texas. Mauer, who is sizzling once again, upped his batting average to a league-leading .383, extending his hitting streak - which began on August 2nd - to 15 games with his 24th and 25th homers and 7th this month. He also has 20 RBI in August and has raised his batting average 30 points. Even with the win, the Twins are languishing in 3rd place in the division, 7 1/2 games behind the Tigers, and are even further back - 9 1/2 games - of the Red Sox and Rangers, co-leaders in the wild card hunt. National League Continuing to hang tough in both the wild card and NL West, the Giants send ace Tim Lincecum to the mound Tuesday, seeking a win in their series opener at Cincinnati. The Reds knocked Lincecum around for 5 runs in 6 innings, but Ryan Garko and the Giants' regulars came through with their bats and an 8-5 win in 10 innings. Garko had just 2 hits in 5 at-bats, but they were both key to the victory. His single in the 6th inning plated a pair of runs, tying the game at 5-5, and later, in the 10th inning, he doubled home two more and scored the final run on Jose Uribe's sac fly. Coming over from the Indians in a trade deadline deal, Garko has played in 18 games for the Giants and has been feeling his way around the National League with a .224 batting average thus far, though the Giants are pleased with his work at first base and he seems to have taken the regular job from Travis Ishikawa. A career .280 hitter, Garko is expected to find his stroke with enough time left for the Giants to make a run at the post-season. The Giants are 5 1/2 behind the Dodgers in the West and 1 game back of Colorado in both the division and wild card standings. NOTES: With the rest of the division stumbling of late (all but the Brewers went 3-7 over their last 10, except the Brewers, who were 4-6), the St. Louis Cardinals have seized control of the NL Central, winning 8 of their last 10 and now lead by 6 games over the floundering Cubs. In the East, the Phillies remain 4 1/2 ahead of the Marlins, despite their 8-2 mark of late, and 6 1/2 better than the Braves. In the AL, the Yankees have all but wrapped up the East, leading Boston by 7 games and the Rays by 10. Detroit continues to hold of the White Sox, with a 3 game lead, and the Angels remain best in the West, 4 1/2 better than the Rangers. The Mariners have all but dropped out, 12 games back.

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