Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Brewers Pound Pittsburgh Again, Zaun Stars; Varitek Leads Boston Past Jays

Players of the Day for Monday, April 26, 2010 American League Boston headed North of the border to begin a three-game series with the Blue Jays, but both teams are likely feeling worn out after they battled through a 4-hour marathon, won by the Red Sox, 13-12. The two teams combined to use 13 pitchers, who surrendered 34 hits and 20 bases on balls, but in the bottom of the 9th, Jonathan Papelbon came on to set down the side in order and record his 6th save of the season. Five different Red Sox batters had three hits, including catcher Jason Varitek, who made the most of his 5 at-bats, singling in a pair of runs and scoring in the 3rd inning, driving home two more in the 4th, and singling and scoring again in the 6th, as the Red Sox built a 13-9 lead. The Blue Jays battled back to make the game a one-run affair, but Daniel Bard pitched out of a troublesome 8th before Papelbon came on to shut the door. Still under .500, at 9-11, the Red Sox crept to within one game of Toronto (10-10), though Boston still trails AL East-leading Tampa Bay by 5 1/2 games. Varitek is off to a swell start, leading the Red Sox regulars with a .357 average. National League Milwaukee catcher Gregg Zaun hasn't exactly been tearing the cover off the ball, entering Monday night's fracas with the Pirates batting .157, but he came through in big fashion as the Brewers downed the Pirates, 17-3. In 4 at-bats, Zaun socked a three-run double in the 3rd and a two-run double in the 6th, added two singles, drove in 5 runs and scored 3 times as the Brewers devastated the Pittsburgh bullpen once again. Milwaukee swept the Pirates just last week, 8-1, 8-0 and 20-0. Including Monday's win, they've outscored the Pirates 53-4 over their last four games. Sandwiched in between, the Brewers managed to get swept at home by the Cubs, losing the trio of games by a combined score of 25-4. Should the Pirates be afraid to face the Cubs? Probably. They host Chicago for three games the first week of May.

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