Tuesday, June 22, 2010
Justin Upton, Yankee Killer; Brett Gardner Adds Depth for New York
Players of the Day for Monday, June 21, 2010 National League The first day of summer yielded only three games in the major leagues, all interleague variety, all won by National League teams, with both Players of the Day coming from the same game, Arizona's 10-4 triumph over the NY Yankees. The Diamondbacks jumped all over NY starter, A.J. Burnett, scoring five runs in the first inning and adding single scores in both the 2nd and 4th innings. Doing much of the damage was Justin Upton, who started the 9-hit barrage off Burnett with a 1st-inning solo homer, then singled and scored all the way from first base on Miguel Montero's double in the 2nd. His motor humming, Upton hit full speed in the 4th, when he walked, stole second and scored another D-Backs run. After bieng hit by a pitch and forced out at second in the 6th inning, Upton returned in the 8th, smacking a three-run homer, his 13th of the season. Just for the record, Upton went 3-for-3 with two homers, 4 RBI, 4 runs and a stolen base. American League Also having a perfect night at the plate for the Yankees, but without the same impact as Upton's was for Arizona, Brett Gardner dinged out four singles in his four at-bats, swiped his 23rd base of the season and scored twice in the losing effort. Gardner, who has become a fixture in the Yanks' lineup, playing mostly left field, continues to thrive at the plate, the 4-for-4 effort raising his batting average to .324, second-best among Yankee starters. Quietly piling up some impressive stats, Gardner is 10th in the AL in batting average, 5th in runs, and 4th in steals (Juan Pierre leads with 27 swipes). Recently demoted from second in the batting order to 9th (8th in interleague games), Gardner often finds himself batting with men on base - particularly Robinson Cano, who leads the league with a .365 average - or reaching base in front of the top of the order and Derek Jeter, all among the reasons the Yankees have seized temporary control of first place in the AL East, 1/2 game ahead of Tampa Bay and Boston.