Saturday, May 22, 2010

Mike Sweeney, M's Clobber Padres; Brad Penny Slams for Cardinals

Players of the Day for Friday, May 21, 2010 American League For most of the years he spent with the Kansas City Royals, Mike Sweeney was regarded as one of the best pure hitters in the game. But then came the back problems after 2002, which began to limit both his playing time and overall effectveness at the plate. The condition worsened, to the point that, beginning with the 2006 season, Sweeney has played in less than half the games he could have. After the 2007 season, Sweeney was shuffled off to Oakland, and then, a year later, to Seattle. Sweeney's played in just 19 games this season, but has been in the lineup regularly since May 13. In that game he hit a home run, and another the next game and another in the game after that. In Friday's 15-8 slaughter of the visiting San Diego Padres, Sweeney rekindled some of that old fire, blasting a pair of homers and two singles for a 4-for-5 night at the plate with 6 RBI. Since that May 13 start, Sweeney is batting .417 (10-for-24), with 5 home runs and 10 RBI. The mariners have not taken advantage of Sweeney's hot bat, going 3-6 during that span, 3-3 in the games he has started. National League Brad Penny didn't pitch very well, but his grand slam in the third inning helped propel the St. Louis Cardinals to a 9-5 win over the LA Angels and the pitcher Penny replaced on the Cardinal roster, Joel Pineiro. Penny allowed four runs over three complete innings, but was forced to leave the game suffering from back problems. That wasn't until after manager Tony LaRussa decided to let the big man hit with the bases loaded in the bottom of the third. Penny launched a drive into the left field seats that put the Cardinals up, 9-4, and pretty much finished off Pineiro, who was released by the Cardinals after winning 15 games for them in 2009. Pineiro had entered the game with a scoreless streak of 17 1/3 innings, but Penny and the St. Louis regulars put that to an early end, scoring twice in each of the first two innings before tacking on five more in the third. After Penny's blast, Pineiro gave up a solo shot to Felipe Lopez, walked Ryan Ludwick, but got out of the inning by getting Holliday to ground into a fielder's choice. He was lifted for a pinch hitter in the 4th after being tagged for nine hits and nine runs. Penny tried to start the fourth inning, but was relieved after throwing just a few warmup pitches. His homer was the thrid of his career, and his first grand slam. QUICK HITS: Andre Ethier, the Dodger slugger who has been putting up Triple Crown-worthy stats, was placed on the 15-day disabled list and will miss between two to six weeks with a broken finger. Edwin Encarnacion, recently returned from the DL, blasted three sol homers for the Blue Jays - who hit six as a team - in their 8-6 loss to Arizona.

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