Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Byrd 7-for-9 in Texas Two-Step; 5 Philly Homers Down Nats

Players of the Day for Tuesday, September 8, 2009 American League The Texas Rangers continue to chase both the California Angels in the AL West and the Boston Red Sox in the wild card hunt. On Tuesday, the Rangers took both ends of a double-dip in Cleveland, taking the first game, 11-9, and the second by a score of 10-5, In the first game, Marlon Byrd, hitting in the cleanup spot, cashed a three-run homer in the 7th to break a 5-all tie, adding 3 singles for a perfect 4-for-4 appearance. In the nightcap, Byrd's bat remained red-hot, kicking in 3 more singles in 5 at bats, though he didn't drive in any runs, nor score, even though he was batting in the 3-hole and the Rangers put up 10 runs. Every regular had at least one hit in the second game, totaling 18 in all, and, with the 13 hits in game one, totaled 31. With the 7-for-9 day, Byrd's batting average leapt 10 points, to .286. His 16 homers and 72 RBI have been key to keeping the Rangers in the post-season chase. The pair of wins moved the Rangers to within 4 1/2 of the Angels and 2 games behind the Red Sox. Both of the teams the rangers pursue were also winners on Tuesday. The Rangers look for the sweep of the three-game set this afternoon. National League Continuing their quest for a third straight NL East pennant, the Philadelphia Phillies blasted five homers in their 5-3 win over the Washington Nationals, holding on in the 9th despite the reoccurrence of wildness from closer Brad Lidge. All of the homers were solo shots, with Jayson Werth, Carlos Ruiz and Chase Utley each banging one out, while Raul Ibanez cranked out a pair, giving him 30 on the year. Along with Utley, Werth and Ryan Howard, the Phillies now have 4 players with at least 30 homers on the year, the 12th team to accomplish the feat. Ibanez also added an inconsequential single, to go 3-for-4 with two runs and two RBI. Lidge almost gave the game away in the 9th, giving up a hit and a walk while only retiring one batter. Ryan Madsen was called on again to clean up the mess created by Lidge. Pedro Martinez picked up his 4th win as a Phillie without a loss, but it was Brett Myers, recently returned from the DL, who kept the Phils ahead and who may hold the key to the closer controversy. Myers relieved Pedro after Willie Harris homered to trim the lead to 4-3 with 2 out in the 7th. After giving up a single to Christian Guzman, Myers struck out Ryan Zimmerman to end the inning and cruised through the eighth unscathed. Myers, who has some experience as a closer, may emerge as the solution for Philadelphia's late-inning woes, as Lidge continues to struggle with his control and Madsen has been unreliable in the past.

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