Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Austin Jackson Leads Tigers Into First Place; Bourn Homers, Leads NL in Steals

Players of the Day for Monday, June 28, 2010 American League For the majority of the season, rookie Austin Jackson has been at the top of the Tiger lineup, and, from the looks of it, that's where he's going to stay. The fleet-footed center fielder is a leading candidate - along with teammate Brennan Boesch - for AL Rookie of the Year honors and there's a very good possibility that he'll be named an alternate to this year's All Star team (currently 12th among OFs, though three spots ahead of him are held by NY Yankees - Gardner, Granderson and Swisher - in an obvious vote-stuffing ploy by NY fans). Jackson's leadoff prowess was on display as the Tigers took the opener of a critical three-game series with the Minnesota Twins, 7-5, taking over first place in the Central division by 1/2 game. Jackson led off the game by being hit by a pitch from Twins' starter Francisco Liriano, and scored the first of a four-run, first inning barrage on Miguel Cabrera's double to the left center gap. He scored again in the 2nd inning when he singled, stole second, advanced to third on another single and scored on a fielder's choice. After striking out in the 4th, Jackson reached on a bunt single and scored what proved to be the winning run in the 7th inning. Jackson finished 2-for-4, with 3 runs and a stolen base. He's hitting a crisp .310, with 13 stolen bases and 44 runs, and his play in center field has been compared to Ken Griffey Jr.'s. Jackson's smooth gait and incredible speed make difficult plays appear routine. National League The Houston Astros have not been having a very good time of it this season, but occasionally a player will step up and do something special, like leadoff batter and center fielder Michael Bourn, who hit his first home run of the year in the Astros' 9-5 win over Milwaukee. Bourn homered to lead off the 3rd inning, though at the time the blast didn't seem to matter much, as the Brewers had already scored four times. The Astros added another run in the third, then scored 3 n the 6th and two runs in each of the 7th and 8th innings to complete the comeback. Bourn was on the basepaths seemingly all night, putting together a 4-for-6 effort, scoring twice, driving in a pair and stealing his league-leading 23rd base. Bourn led the NL in steals in '09 with 61 swipes. Streak Snapped: Jose Guillen's 21-game hitting streak - the longest in the majors this year, along with Josh Hamilton's current streak of the same length - came to an end in KC's 3-1 win over the White Sox Monday night. Guillen went 0-for-3. Hamilton will try to make it 22 straight when he and his Texas Rangers travel to play the LA Angels on Tuesday.

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