Thursday, May 13, 2010

Holland, Hamilton Rock A's; Bailey Tosses Shutout at Pirates, Reds within 1 game of Cardinals

Players of the Day for Wednesday, May 12, 2010 American League Could this be the beginning of the end for the Oakand A's? After knocking off the Rangers in the first game of their 3-game set on Tuesday, the A's ran smack into a tough lefty Wednesday afternoon in Arlington by the name of Derek Holland (left). Called up for his first major league start of the season after going 4-1 with a 0.93 ERA in six starts for Oklahoma City, Holland stymied the A's on 5 hits over 6 innings, striking out 7, allowing just one walk and no runs. Last season Holland went 8-13 with a 6.12 ERA in 33 games for Texas, but he's retooled his game to become part of the Rangers' starting rotation. With the 10-1 win, the Rangers snapped a tie for first place in the AL West with the upstart A's. Texas now owns a 1-game advantage, with the rubber game Thursday afternoon. On the offensive side of things, the Rangers racked up 5 homers against A's hurlers, including Josh Hamilton's (right) 7th of the season, a 2-run, 5th inning shot that put the Rangers ahead, 4-0, adding to the disdain for Oakland pitching. Hamilton added a couple of singles on the day, going 3-for-5 with 2 RBI and a couple of runs scored. Hamilton's off to a pretty steady start, batting .285 with the 7 homers and 23 RBI. National League Something's happening in Cincinnati, and it's affecting their pitching staff in wonderful ways. Maybe it has something to do with playing the Pirates, but a day after Johnny Cueto tosses a 1-hitter for a 9-0 Reds' win, Homer Bailey comes out and throws a 4-hit complete game for another Reds win, this one by a 5-0 score, sweeping the Pirates in Pittsburgh, and quietly creeping to within one game of Central division-leading St. Louis. Bailey picked up his first win of the season against 2 prior losses and notched the first complete game and first shutout of his brief career. Bailey has started just 44 games in four partial seasons with the Reds. Needing only 90 pitches, Bailey scattered the four hits without giving up a walk while fanning six different Pittsburgh would-be hitters. The Reds get a day off Thursday, as the Cardinals finish up their series with Houston before the two meet up for a crucial three-game series in Cincinnati beginning on Friday. If Cincy can manage to take two of three from the reigning division champs, they would be either 1/2-game ahead or behind, depending the outcome of the Cardinals' Thursday game. A Reds sweep would give them the outright lead regardless. Should be a fun weekend for NL Central fans. QUICK HITS: Might as well call him Andre the Giant (or Giant killer?). Andre Ethier is feasting on National League pitching early this season. Bashing his 11 home run this season in Wednesday's series-sweeping 6-3 win over Arizona, Ethier now leads the NL Triple Crown categories outright with a .385 batting average (his 1-for-4 effort dropped him down from .390), 11 dingers and an eye-popping 37 RBI. The sweep got the Dodgers back to a respectable 17-17 record, though they still trail the Padres by 4 1/2 games in the NL West.

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