Monday, June 7, 2010
Jaso Helps Rays Retain First Place; Sanchez Sparks San Fran
Players of the Day for Sunday, June 6, 2010 American League After losing two straight to the Rangers and with the Yankees breathing down their backs, the Tampa Bay Rays knew they needed to do something to break out in their series finale against the AL West leaders, so manager Joe Madden, who had made the unusual move to bat catcher John Jaso in the leadoff spot on Saturday, decided to keep him there, but play him as DH, saving some of his energy in the white-hot Texas sun. With temperatures well into the 90s, the strategy paid off, as Jaso responded by going 3-for-5, with 5 RBI, a homer, two runs and a stolen base, all leading to a 9-5 Rays win. Jaso got the Rays started in the 2nd inning, belting a two-run homer, his 3rd home run of the season to give the Rays a 2-1 lead. Clinging to a 5-4 lead in the 7th, Jaso drove in two more with a clutch single, plating two more runs and capped off the day with a double in the 8th, driving home another run. Getting more playing time as both a catcher and in the DH role, Jaso, a rookie, is batting .307 and has 24 RBI in just 111 at-bats. Tampa's win kept them two games ahead of the Yankees in the AL East, while the Rangers saw their lead over the Angels shrink to 1/2 game, as LA won their fifth straight, beating Seattle, 9-4 National League After spending the beginning of the season on the DL, San Francisco's Freddy Sanchez is back playing second base, batting in the 2-hole and providing some much-needed clutch hitting for the Giants. Splitting the first two games of their series in Pittsburgh with the suddenly-feisty Pirates, the Giants felt secure with Tim Lincecum on the mound, but the two-time Cy Young award winner lasted only 7 innings, allowing three runs before being lifted with the score knotted at 3-3. The Giants scored a pair in the top of the 9th, but Pittsburgh re-tied the game on Delwyn Young's pinch-hit, two-run blast. Sanchez, who had singled twice and scored a pair of runs earlier in the contest, came to the plate in the top of the 10th inning with Andres Torres on second and none out. When Torres advanced to third on Octavio Dotel's wild pitch, Sanchez knew his job was to get the run home, and he did so with a high drive to center field. The sac fly proved to be the game-winner, as the Giants' relief staff closed out the Pirates in the bottom of the 10th for the 6-5, extra-inning road win. Sanchez has played in just 17 games since coming off the DL on May 19, but he's hit safely in 14 of those contests and is sporting a 10-game hitting streak along with his .371 batting average.