Sunday, July 4, 2010
Gardner Slam Lifts Yanks; Rollins Sparks Phillies to Win
Players of the Day for Saturday, July 3, 2010 American League With Boston and Tampa Bay refusing to go away, the Yankees need every game to be a winning effort, so, after losing 6-1 to Toronto on Friday, the Yanks were feeling a little pressure with the Red Sox just 1/2 game back and Tampa 2 behind. The opening inning didn't offer a great prospect for success. Andy Pettitte gave up a two-run homer to Jose Bautista, putting New York in an immediate hole. But the Yankees are a resilient bunch with many potent bats. In the bottom of the 3rd, Brett Gardner, the number 9 hitter, singled to start the inning and came around to score as the Yankees loaded the bases and Mark Teixeira doubled home two. Gardner came back to the plate again, this time with the bases chock full of Yankees and pounded a grand slam - the first of his career - to right field. Again the Yankees loaded the bases, and Alex Rodriguez cleared them with a double. By the time the dust had settled, the Yankees would put up 11 runs in the inning. Game over, final: 11-2. Gardner went 2-for-3, scored twice and drove in four runs, all on the big knock. The Yankees retain the top spot in the AL East, as Boston and Tampa Bay also won. National League The bad news is that Chase Utley is on the bench for the Phillies, but the good news is they do have Jimmy Rollins back at the top of the order. Utley is out 6-8 weeks, undergoing surgery and rehab on his right thumb. Rollins missed most of April and May and the first three weeks of June nursing various injuries. Finally back to full health, Rollins added a spark in the Phillies' 12-4 win over Pittsburgh after the Pirates had take the first two of the four-game series. Rollins singled, doubled and homered in four at-bats, scoring three times and driving in three. In the field, he was part of three Philly double plays. The home run, just his 4th of the season, came with one aboard in the 5th, when the Phillies had already established a huge lead. The Phillies still have a lot of work to do if they expect to win the NL East for a third straight year and attempt to play in their third straight World Series. Atlanta keeps bowling along, with a 3-game lead over the resurgent (and injury-free) Mets. The Phillies are in third place, 5 games back.