Monday, June 14, 2010

Ted Lilly Takes No-Hitter into 9th; Jorge Posada Slams Second Straight Game

Players of the Day for Sunday, June 13, 2010 American League By now, just about everyone knows not to pitch to Alex Rodriguez with the bases loaded, but there are other dangerous batters in the Yankee lineup, like Jorge Posada, who hit his second grand slam in consecutive games on Sunday, helping the Yankees to a sweep of the Astros with a 9-5 win. With A-Rod out of the lineup temporarily due to tendonitis in his right hip, Posada has been filling the void over the past two games. On Saturday, Posada was in the DH role when he lifted his first slam, but on Sunday he was behind the plate, helping Phil Hughes earn his 9th win against just one loss. Most of the time this season, Francisco Cervelli has been the Yankee receiver, with Posada either delegated to DH or the bench. Posada's played in just 37 games, with 125 at-bats, well below his normal playing time. Posada was 1-for-3 in the game, but he walked twice, scoring once in the 4th inning as the Yankees built a 4-1 lead. Posada upped that to 8-1 with his grand slam in the 5th, pretty much ending any chance Houston had of getting a win. It was Posada's 8th homer of the season, and the win, coupled with Tampa's 6-1 loss to Florida, put the Rays and Yankees into a flatfooted tie atop the AL East. At 40-23, the two teams share the best records in the major leagues. National League The Cubs haven't had much to brag about this season; at 28-35, they're still 7 1/2 games behind the Reds in the NL Central, so they need to begin stepping it up in order to stay within striking range of Cincy and St. Louis (1 1/2 back of the Reds). Along the way, they're probably going to need more strong pitching performances like the one Ted Lilly put on Sunday night, blanking the crosstown White Sox by a 1-0 score. Lilly (2-5) took a no-hitter into the 9th inning, but was busted up by pinch-hitter Juan Pierre. Lily was pulled after that, giving way to Carlos Marmol, who barely kept the slim lead safe, issuing a walk to Andruw Jones and then balking the two baserunners over to second and third. After getting Aramis Ramirez on strikes and intentionally walking Alex Rios, Marmol induced a grounder from Paul Konerko for a force on Pierre at the plate and then got Carlos Quentin to fly out to end the game. The assembled fans at Wrigley Field were then allowed to breath again. Lilly issued one walk and struck out three during the proceedings, but also plunked a couple of batters, hitting A.J. Pierzynski in the 2nd inning and Gordon Beckham in the 5th. Lilly's poor record is not at all indicative of how well he's throwing the ball. In 10 starts, he's only allowed more than 3 runs twice, and over his last seven starts has allowed 12 runs in 51 1/3 innings (2.10 ERA), though Sunday's outing was just his first win since April 24. On the season, Lilly is carrying a very respectable 2.90 ERA and a WHIP at an even 1.00. If the Cubs can find a way to score some runs when he's on the mound, more wins will surely come.

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