Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Dempster, Lee Author 3-0 Cubs Win Over Dodgers; Guerrero Lights Up Royals

Players of the Day for Tuesday, May 25, 2010 American League Rolling right along, the Texas Rangers widened their lead in the AL West to three games over the A's, with an 8-7 win at Kansas City. Josh Hamilton and Nelson Cruz both bashed solo homers, but Vladimir Guerrero belted a pair of two-run bombs and doubled home Ian Kinsler with what would prove to be the winning run in the 7th inning. Guerrero tallied five RBI, which vaulted him past Evan Longoria, Jose Bautista and Miguel Cabrera into first place in that category with 42 on the year. He's also batting a robust .347, second in the league (Justin Morneau leads at .381) and his 12 homers are good for 4th on that list. The Rangers acquired Vlad via free agency from the Angels during the off-season and haven't regretted the move for a moment. A big-time slugger who's become a fairly permanent DH, Guerrero, at 35, is quietly creeping up the career home run list. With 419, he's sixth among active players and 42nd all-time. League MVP in 2004, Guerrero has never led the league in homers, RBI or batting average, but he's putting up Triple Crown-like numbers this season. National League Ryan Dempster (left) allowed just three singles and a base on balls over 8 scoreless innings and Derrek Lee (right) went 3-for-3 and accounted for all of the Cubs' runs with a 6th-inning RBI single and a two-run homer in the 8th as Chicago won their third straight, downing the visiting Dodgers, 3-0. Dempster needed just 104 pitches (64 for strikes) to keep the usually-potent LA lineup in check, fanning seven and never allowing anyone past second base. From the 4th through the 8th inning, Dempster was untouchable, retiring the final 13 batters he faced in order. Carlos Marmol pitched a perfect 9th inning for his 10th save of the season. Dempster is 3-4 with a 3.31 ERA. For Lee, it was one of his best games in what otherwise has been a disappointing season. He entered the game batting just .218, and the home run was just his 6th of the season. Lee has only 23 RBI, which is still third best on the team. Alfonso Soriano leads the Cubs with 27; Marlon Byrd is second with 26. That kind of underperforming offense and spotty pitching has the Cubs still under .500, though at 22-24, they are actually just 4 games behind NL Central co-leaders, Cincinnati and St. Louis. QUICK HITS: Jon Lester allowed Tampa Bay just one hit over 6 innings, striking out 9 and walking 5, and a trio of relievers didn't give them as much as a single over the final three innings, as the Red Sox took the measure of Tampa Bay for the second straight night with a 2-0 win. Boston downed the Rays 6-1 on Monday and will go for the sweep of the AL East leaders on Wednesday. Willy Aybar had the only hit of the game for the Rays.

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