Thursday, April 22, 2010

Furcal Leads Dodgers to 14-6 Win; Hughes Takes No-Hit Bid to 8th

Players of the Day for Wednesday, April 21, 2010 American League Winning their sixth straight and 9th of their last 10, the New York Yankees maintained their slim 1/2 game lead over Tampa Bay on the strength of Phil Hughes' 1-hit performance and a 3-1 win at Oakland. Hughes carried a no-hitter into the 8th inning, but lost it on a one-hop comebacker from Eric Chavezthat he could not handle. Instead of being called an error, the smash was labeled a hit. Had Hughes not stopped the ball, it almost certainly would have bounded untouched into center field. Hughes gathered himself and struck out the next batter, Kevin Kouzmanoff, but walked Gabe Gross to put runners on 1st and 2nd. That prompted manager Joe Girardi to bring in Joba Chamberlain, who allowed the sole A's run of the game on Jake Fox's 2-out single. The run, scored by Chavez, was charged to Hughes. Despite failing in the no-hit bid, Hughes had an awesome outing, giving up just the one hit over 7 1/3 innings, with 2 walks and 10 strikeouts, a career best. Hughes is 2-0 in 2 starts, with an ERA of 2.19. National League Sure, Roy Halladay was on the muscle in his 4-hit, 2-0 shutout over the Braves Wednesday night, earning his first National League shutout, but that's what he does. Besides, Halladay wasn't nearly as unhittable as the stats indicate. Shane Victorino stole a home run from Troy Glaus with a spectacular catch, and infielders Chase Utley and Ryan Howard also added highlight reel fielding gems to aid Halladay's cause. The real story of the day was in Cincinnati, where the LA Dodgers were pummeling the Reds, 14-6. The Dodgers are, after 14 games, still hitting an impossible .315 as a team. Their 18 hits last night were just another dose of reality for the rest of the league to absorb. At the top of the order, Rafael Furcal was banging away, going 3-for-5 with 4 RBI, 3 runs and a stolen base. Furcal is only batting .356. Teammates Manny Ramirez and Andre Ethier are hitting .421 and .400, respectively, but Furcal is the guy who literally gets things started. His single, double and triple gave him 7 multi-hit games this season. The Dodgers are 1 1/2 back of the Padres, who hold a 1-game lead over the Giants at the top of the NL West.

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