Monday, May 17, 2010

Prado Shining in Leadoff Spot; Pineiro Shuts Out A's as Angels Sweep

Players of the Day for Sunday, May 16, 2010 American League Here come the Angels, and there go the A's. After a rough start to the season, Joel Pineiro is getting his act together, and the Angels are loving it. Pineiro extended his scoreless streak to 18 innings, setting down the A's on 4 hits with a complete game 4-0 shutout. The win completed a 3-game sweep for the Angels, getting them to just 1/2 game back of the upstart - and fast-fading - Athletics. The A's have lost 5 straight and are 2 games behind AL West-leading Texas, looking over their shoulder at the onrushing Angels. Pineiro has been just short of brilliant over his last three starts, though this was the first win he's had in nearly a month. Sunday's outing was his best work of the season, needing just 98 pitches to get through the entire game, striking out 5 and giving up just one walk, which came in the 9th inning, the only frame in which he allowed more than one baserunner for the A's. His record improved to 3-4; the scoreless inning streak will likely continue when Pineiro next takes the mound at St. Louis this coming Friday as interleague play begins. The Cardinals let Pineiro go after posting a 15-12 record for them in 2009. National League As the month of April came to a close, the Atlanta Braves saw their season slipping away in an uncharacteristic 9-game losing streak. Outscored 44-17, the Braves were suffering from poor pitching and a lack of offense. Bobby Cox, in his final season managing the team, made a few minor adjustments and hoped for the best. One move was to push 2nd baseman Martin Prado up the lineup, from third to the second spot. That helped, and the Braves began winning again, to the tune of 10 of their last 15. The leadoff spot was still a problem, however, and this past Friday, Cox finally pulled the plug on Nate McLouth, who's batting average had sunk to .167. Prado moved into the leadoff spot and responded with a pair of hits, one a 9th inning, 2-RBI single that sent the Braves to a 6-5 win over Arizona. McLouth, delegated to the #8 spot, also responded with a 3-run homer. On Sunday, Prado is still adjusting to batting first in the order, but he seems to be getting the hang of it. In Atlanta's 13-1 pounding of the Diamondbacks, Prado led off with his 5th homer of the season, singled in the 3rd, led off the 6th inning with another solo shot, then finished the Atlanta scoring by singing home McLouth in the 8th. Prado's line for the day: 4-for-6, 2 homers, 3 RBI, 2 runs. He's batting .323, his 50 hits good for second in the NL, behind the Cubs' Marlon Byrd (51). Better yet, the Braves are winning again, now just one game under .500, at 18-19.

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