Monday, August 3, 2009

Yanks' Cabrera Hits for Cycle; Kemp Leads Dodgers Past Braves

Players of the Day for Sunday, August 2, 2009 American League Coming off three straight losses to the White Sox, the New York Yankees headed into the fourth and final game of the series determined to avoid being swept. At the end of the day, they got an 8-5 win, mostly from the bat of Melky Cabrera, who became the first Yankee player since 1995 to hit for the cycle. Cabrera, playing center field and batting 7th, hit a three-run homer in the 2nd inning, doubled and scored in the 4th, drove in another run with a single in the 5th, grounded out to second in the 6th and needed a final at-bat in the 9th to complete the feat. With one down in the final frame, Cabrera launched a drive to the gap in right field and was off to the races, finally diving head first into third base with a triple and the coveted honor. The 4-for-5 effort lifted Cabrera's batting average to .292 for the season as he joins other Yankee notables such as Mickey Mantle, Bobby Murcer, Tony Lazzeri and Tony Fernandez in the exclusive cycle club. Fernandez was the last Yankee to do it, on Sept. 3, 1995. Lou Gehrig and Joe DiMaggio each accomplished the feat twice. Bob Muesel, who played alongside Ruth and Gehrig, did it three times, the only player in the American League to ever do that. Babe Herman, a National Leaguer, did it twice with the Dodgers (both in the 1931 season) and once (1933) with the Cubs. John Reilly also did it way back in the 19th century, two times for the Cincinnati Red Stockings of the old American Association and once, in 1890, when the team joined the NL and became the Reds. With the win, the Yankees maintained a tenuous 1/2 game lead over the Red Sox, who thumped the O's, 18-10, in the AL East. Here's a complete list of major leaguers who have hit for the cycle. National League Matt Kemp broke open a scoreless tie with a three-run, fifth inning home run, sending the Dodgers to a 9-1 win at Atlanta. Kemp led a 19-hit Dodger onslaught as LA roughed up Braves' starter Jair Jurrjens and three relievers. In addition to his 15th homer, Kemp singled twice, driving in two more runs in the 8th to give him 5 RBI for the game and 64 on the season. The Dodgers completed their series in Atlanta, taking two of three, with a 7-game lead in the NL West over the Giants and Rockies. They return home to face Milwaukee in a three-game series Monday. NOTES: Had Melky Cabrera not gotten his triple in the ninth, a couple of other AL players had performances worthy of POTD honors. In Baltimore, Victor Martinez, recently acquired from the Indians, led the Red Sox to an 18-10 win with a 5-for-6, 4 RBI effort. The sox swept the O's three straight. In Minnesota, the Angels were laying it on the Twins once more, beating them 13-4, as Kendry Morales went 3-for-5 with a pair of 3-run homers and 6 RBI. The Angels not only swept the Twins, but absolutely destroyed them, winning the previous two games by scores of 11-5 and 11-6. The Angels have won 5 straight and 13 of their last 15. They lead the AL West by 4 games over the Texas Rangers.

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