Wednesday, June 2, 2010

5-for-5 Victor Martinez Keys Red Sox Win; Berkman Brings Lumber for Astros

Players of the Day for Tuesday, June 1, 2010 American League Boston fans may want to mark down May 17 as the low point of the Red Sox season. It was on that date that the Yankees beat up closer Jonathan Papelbon in an 11-9 comeback win that dropped the Red Sox 8 1/2 games off the pace in the AL East. Things looked hopeless, but Boston rebounded, beat the Yankees the following night and have won 11 of their last 14 games as four teams are sizzling right now in the AL East. With their 9-4 home win over the A's Tuesday night, the Red Sox are still five games out, in 4th place, mostly because the Yankees, Rays and Blue Jays all are playing equally solid baseball. Keying Tuesday's win was Victor Martinez, who went 5-for-5 with 4 doubles, scored twice and drove in two key runs. Martinez' double in the 6th plated Darnell McDonald, snapping a 4-all tie, and his two-bagger in the 8th essentially put the game away. Off to a very poor start, Martinez has picked it up lately with 6 multi-hit games in his last 9, raising his batting average from .227 to .279. His resurgence has coincided with Boston's current string of excellent play. National League The Houston Astros have really struggled this season. Even with their 8-7 win over the Nationals, their 18-34 record is the worst in the National League. Houston is dead last in the NL Central, 12 1/2 games behind the Reds. On the first day of June, however, there are signs of hope, especially if Lance Berkman finally starts bringing the lumber like he did Tuesday night. Berkman, mired in a 2-for-17 slump heading into Tuesday's contest, broke out with a 3-for-5 effort, including a two-run double in the first inning, an RBI single in the 6th and a 2-run, game-winning, walk-off single in the ninth. Berkman drove in five runs, getting the month of June off to a positive start. The win was just their second in the last six games, but evened their 4-game series with Washington at one apiece. It was Houston's 10th home win against 19 losses, and just their 3rd victory over NL East teams this season.

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