Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Central Stage: Span Puts Twins Back on Top; Pujols Pounds Pair as Cards Reclaim Lead

Players of the Day for Tuesday, June 29, 2010 American League Triples are pretty rare. Most players hit one or two a season, if any. Minnesota's Denard Span kept Detroit right fielder Magglio Ordonez busy by hitting three triples in one game, tying a modern major league record and leading the Twins back into possession of first place in the AL Central with an 11-4 win. Span added a single, going 4-for-4 with a walk, drove in five runs and scored twice. He tripled to lead off the bottom of the 1st and scored, singled and scored in the 3rd, tying the game at 3-3, then tripled in two runs in the 4th and smacked his third three-bagger with the bases-loaded in the 5th. By the time he was done, Span and the Twins had turned a 3-2 deficit into a 10-3 lead. To cap off the night, Jim Thome - who hit his first triple in seven years the night before - smacked his 572nd career home run, a 7th-inning solo shot, putting him one behind a Twins legend - Harmon Killebrew - for 10th place all-time. The Twins and Tigers have split the first two games of their series. First place in the division will be temporarily decided Wednesday, when the two teams meet in the rubber game. National League With Felipe Lopez on base (4-for-5, 3 runs) just about every time Albert Pujols stepped the the plate, Arizona hurlers had no choice but to pitch to him, and Mr. Pujols delivered in three out of four occasions, staking starter Adam Wainwright to a comfortable lead and an 8-0 Cardinal win. Pujols belted two homers, one in the 3rd inning and another in the 5th, both times with Lopez on board, and drove Lopez in again in the 6th with a slightly more pedestrian approach, doubling to left and later scoring on a wild pitch. Pujols went 3-for-5, with two homers (18), three runs and five RBI, giving him 57 on the year. Now third in the league in both home runs and RBI, Pujols led the Cards back into first place place in the NL Central, 1/2 game ahead of the Reds, with the rest of the division lagging far back. Milwaukee is 8 games off the pace; the Cubs are 9 back. Wainwright (11-5) went 6 1/3 innings, blanking the Diamondbacks on 5 hits, walking three and fanning seven. Hamilton Extends: Josh Hamilton singled n his second at-bat, extending his major league-best hitting streak to 22 games in Texas' 6-5 loss at LA. Despite the loss, the Rangers still maintain a 3 1/2 game lead on the Angels in the AL West.

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