Thursday, August 13, 2009

Pence's Pair Leads Astros; Bay Helps BoSox to 3rd Straight

Players of the Day for Wednesday, August 12, 2009 American League After losing four straight to the Yankees, the Red Sox have moved on, to Detroit, where they have taken the first three games of their four-game series with the AL Central-leading Tigers. In Wednesday's 8-2 triumph left fielder Jason Bay was dialed in, knocking a pair of doubles and a two-run home run to lead the Boston offense. Bay drove in two runs and scored twice as the Red Sox - 5 1/2 games back in the AL East - retained their 1 1/2 game lead in the wild card standings over Texas. Bay, added to the Red Sox last season in a deal which sent Manny Ramirez to the Dodgers, has had a solid season, batting .261 with 24 homers (tied for 8th in the AL) and 81 RBI (4th). Bay has hit safely in his last 7 games and has had multiple hits in his last two. National League Don't count the Houston Astros out of the wild card race just yet. After dropping the first tow of their four-game series in Miami, the Astros roared back for a 14-6 win on the strength of Hunter Pence's two 3-run homers. Pence walloped his first in Houston's 5-run 1st inning and followed that up with another blast in the 4th, when Houston chased Florida starter Ricky Nolasco, who allowed 8 hits and 10 runs in 3 1/3 innings. Pence's second home run came after Nolasco had given way to reliever Tim Wood, though Lance Berkman's run was charged to Nolasco. Pence's pair gave him 16 on the season, to go with his .291 batting average and 52 RBI. NOTES: Don't look now, but the Phillies, Cardinals and Yankees appear poised to run away with their respective division titles. The Cardinals have gone 12-6 since Matt Holliday joined the club on July 24 and have opened up a 4-game lead on the Cubs in the Central. The Cards got some help from the Phillies, who have taken 2 straight at Wrigley Field, including Wednesday's 12-5 spanking. While Philadelphia batters were feasting on Cubs pitching, scoring 2 runs in each of the 1st and 3rd innings and 8 in the 4th, Pedro Martinez was busy mowing down Chicago batters. Martinez tired in the fifth, allowing 2 of his 3 earned runs, but finished the inning to get his first win in nearly a year. The Phillies have a 4 1/2 game lead over the Braves and Marlins in the NL East. Maybe we should start calling the Yankee's "amazing" after another walk-off win Wednesday, beating Toronto, 4-3, in 11 innings. The Bombers won for the 9th time in their last 10 games and are 20-5 since the all-star break. Their 5 1/2 game lead over the Red Sox is tied with the Dodgers for the biggest bulge in the majors and they have the best record in baseball at 71-43.

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