Monday, May 31, 2010

Pujols Bangs Three for Cards; Kendrick Walks Off Mariners, Survives Celebration

Players of the Day for Sunday, May 30, 2010 American League Just a day after Kendry Morales suffered a potential season-ending broken leg celebrating his walk-off, grand slam homer, the LA Angels had reason to jam home plate again, as Howie Kendrick connected for a ninth inning, three-run shot to trip up the visiting Mariners, 9-7. This time the players waiting for the home run hero were a bit more subdued, allowing kendrick to touch home plate unmolested, then surrounding him with hugs and high fives. The blast was the second of the game for Kenrdick and only his 4th of the season. He connected earlier in the game with a solo homer in the 7th, going 2-for-5 with 4 RBI as the Angels battled back from a 7-2 deficit. Starter Joe Saunders allowed all seven runs in 4 1/3 innings, but the bullpen came on and shut the M's out the rest of the way. By winning while the Rangers were losing to Minnesota, 6-3, and the A's were being blown out in Detroit, 10-2, the Angels - still under .500 at 25-27 - crept to within 2 1/2 games of first place in the AL West. Oakland leads Texas by 1/2 game in the contentious division. National League It was just a matter of time before Albert Pujols would join the home run race in the National League, and who better to do it against than division rival and long-standing enemy of the Cardinals, the Chicago Cubs. Albert, "The Machine" had only 2 long balls in his last 31 games, a pretty serious drought for a guy who's rung up 374 in his 10-year career, but he made up for lost time by banging two balls over the left field bleachers and onto Waveland Avenue. The first was a solo shot in the opening frame, the second a two-run dinger in the 5th, that put the Cards ahead 4-0. Albert finished things off with a monstrous drive to dead center in the 9th for his third homer of the day, capping the 9-1 road win by the Cardinals. Pujols had what many ordinary men would consider a good week, going 3-for-3 with 4 RBI and 4 runs. The other two times he stepped to the plate, Cubs pitchers walked him. The three homers gave Pujols 12 on the season, tying him for the league lead with some unlikely characters: Kelly Johnson and Mark Reynolds of Arizona; Florida's Dan Uggla; and, Milwakuee's Corey Hart. His 38 RBI are good for third place in that department, 3 behind Casey McGahee of the Brewers. With the win, St. Louis got to within one game of division-leading Cincinnati. Those two teams hook up in St. Louis beginning Monday.

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