Thursday, July 29, 2010

Phillips, Votto Smash Brewers; Trevor Cahill Shuts Down Rangers

Players of the Day for Wednesday, July 28, 2010 American League With a 7 1/2 game lead in the AL West, deep in the heart of Texas many are thinking that the divisional race is all but over. Don't tell that to the Oakland A's. The A's evened their three-game series with the Rangers by taking the second game, 3-1, exactly the score they were beaten by in the opener. Trevor Cahill came up big against the Rangers, blanking them on two hits over eight innings, walking three and fanning four. Coupled with the Angels' 7-3 loss to Boston, it's now the A's, not the Angels, in second place. Since the all star break, Oakland has kept pace with the Rangers, going 8-3 while the Rangers were 9-4. The Angels have fallen on hard times, with a 5-8 record over the same span, losing their last four straight and have fallen into third place 8 1/2 games out. Cahill (10-4) has started three times against Texas this season and has recorded two wins and one no decision, though the A's won that game. On Wednesday, he allowed just one hit until the 4th inning, when Josh Hamilton singled, sending Vlaimir Guerrero, who had earlier walked, to third base, but Cahill stuck out Nelson Cruz to get out of the inning. He didn't allow a hit after that, turning the ball over to the bullpen after eight innings. The Rangers scored their only run of the game off reliever Michael Wuertz in the 9th, but Craig Breslow came in and fanned Hamilton and Cruz to end the game. National League St. Louis and Cincinnati are dead even again in the NL Central... almost. The Reds have played two more games than the Cardinals, and have one more win and one extra loss, so technically, the Cards lead the division by .001. While St. Louis was busy blowing leads to the Mets, finally winning in 13 innings on (who else?) Albert Pujols' RBI single, Brandon Phillips (left) and Joey Votto (right) were taking care of business in Milwaukee with a 10-2 win. The Brewers were leading until the top of the 6th, when Phillips singled, stole second and scored on Votto's single to right. The Reds would score four more in the frame, and their bullpen wouldn't allow another Milwaukee run. In the 8th, the Reds scored five more runs, four of them on Phillips' grand slam, his 14th homer of the year. Votto put his stamp on the game with his league-leading 26th homer, a solo shot to center. The Cardinals and reds have been locked into this duel pretty much all season, leaving the rest of the division in their dust. The two next meet for a three-game series in Cincinnati on August 9, 10 and 11. Still Streaking: Absolutely the hottest rookie in either league, Buster Posey extended his hitting streak to 21 straight with a single in the third inning of San Francisco's 10-9, 10-inning win over the Marlins. Posey has now matched Josh Hamilton and Jose Guillen for the longest streak in the majors this season and is within one of tying Willie McCovey's franchise record of 22 straight. The San Francisco catcher will have his chance on Thursday night when the Giants seek to sweep their three-game set with the Marlins.

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