Monday, July 26, 2010

Kubel Slam Lifts Twins over Orioles; Kershaw Blanks Mets

Players of the Day for Sunday, July 25, 2010 American League In what has become the best divisional race of the summer, the Minnesota Twins clawed back to within one game of the White Sox in the AL Central with a 10-2 pasting of the Orioles in Baltimore. Taking full advantage of the band-box dimensions of Camden Yards, the Twins banged out 19 hits against a quartet of Oriole hurlers, with every player getting at least one base knock. Jason Kubel the the home run parade with his 12th of the year, a 3rd inning grand slam that put the Twins up 4-1 and ahead for the duration. Kubel added a pair of singles, but did not figure further in the scoring. Also homering were Jim Thome, who launched the 576th of his career, red-hot Delmon Young (14) and Jason Repko, who had his first of the season in the 9th inning. Other than Kubel's slam, the homers were all solo shots. The AL Central race continues to attract three teams. The Detroit Tigers snapped a two-game losing streak with a 6-5 win over Toronto in the back end of their day-night double header and are now just two behind the White Sox. National League Clayton Kershaw kept the Mets from touching home plate for eight innings, lifting the LA Dodgers to a 1-0 win as the Dodgers took three of four from the punchless New Yorkers. Kershaw allowed the Mets seven hits, but worked out of trouble in the 5th, 6th and 7th innings after setting them down in order in the 2nd, 3rd and 4th. The Dodger starter was aided by a double play and catcher Russell Martin, who gunned down Jose Reyes on his attempt to steal second base. The Dodgers had even fewer hits - four - but capitalized in the 8th inning when Martin doubled, sending Casey Blake around from first to score the game's only run for the 1-0 victory. Kershaw was relieved in the 9th by flame-throwing Kenley Jansen, who earned his first major league save with a perfect 9th inning which included a pair of strikeouts. The Mets took only the second game of the four-game set, 6-1. They were shut out, 2-0, in the series opener and lost, 3-2, in 13 innings on Saturday. The Dodgers continue to try to keep pace with the Padres, who lead the NL West by 3 games over the Giants. The Dodgers are 6 back, and the Rockies, losers of five in a row, have fallen 7 1/2 games off the pace. In the NL East, the Mets have lost eight of their last ten and are 7 1/2 behind Atlanta, with Philadelphia in second place, 5 games out. Florida is just 1/2 game behind the Mets.

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