Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Grand Slam by Ryan Braun Leads Brewers; John Buck Impressive in Blue Jay Win

Players of the Day for June 14, 2010 American League Toronto continues to hang around in the AL East, easily baseball's strongest division. The top four teams - Rays, Yankees, Red Sox and Blue Jays - are all well over the .500 mark, with the Rays and Yanks at 40-23, the Red Sox four games back at 37-28 and the Jays six out at 35-30. Of the four, only the Blue Jays were in action on Monday, a travel day for most major league teams, and they got off to a flying start with a four-run second inning en route to a 6-3 win at San Diego. After catcher John Buck got the Blue Jays on the board with his 9th homer of the season - a two-run blast - Aaron Hill followed up with a double which plated two more. With starter Shaun Marcum keeping the Padres in check, the Blue Jays maintained their lead and added to it. Hill doubled in another run in the sixth and Buck mashed his second homer of the game, a solo shot which gave him 10 for the year. Having labored for six nondescript years in Kansas City, Buck arrived in Toronto for the start of 2010 and has been a welcome surprise, both behind the plate and beside it. His .266 batting average is currently 28 points better than his career mark and he is well on his way to shattering his personal bests in HR and RBI (18 and 50). National League Nine games behind the Reds in the NL Central, the Milwaukee Brewers know they must pick up the pace in order to remain viable through the summer and into the fall. While much of Milwaukee's issues have stemmed from their pitching - notably the failure of future Hall of Famer Trevor Hoffman - the bats have gone hot and cold without much consistency through the lineup. One Brewer regular who's been a model of consistency, if not outright stardom, is Ryan Braun, who singled and belted a grand slam in four at-bats in Milwaukee's 12-2 road win over the Angels. Braun is batting an even .300 on the season, with 10 homers and 45 RBI, currently tying him for 7th place in the NL RBI standings. The win opened a six-game road trip for Milwaukee, with two more in LA before heading to Colorado for a weekend series.

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