Sunday, July 18, 2010

Reid Brignac Stuns Yanks; Edinson Volquez Returns for Reds

Players of the Day for Saturday, July 17, 2010 American League Reid Brignac wasn't supposed to be in the lineup for the second of a three-game tilt with the Yankees, but his two homers and five RBI from the #9 spot in the order provided Tampa Bay with some surprise offense and a 10-5 win at New York. After Carlos Pena drove in evan Longoria with a double in the first, Brignac kept things going for the Rays in the 2nd inning with the first of his two bombs to right field, a two-run shot off Yankee starter A.J. Burnett, which did more damage than just the pair of runs. Following the inning, an angry Burnett slammed into a double door leading to the Yankee clubhouse, cutting both hands on the plastic lineup card holders attached to the doors. He was bandaged to start the third, but plunked Longoria, who scored again on a Pena single. Burnett was removed by manager Joe Girardi, the misfortune exacerbated by the fact that the Yankees had pulled to within one run (3-2) on Brett Gardner's 2-RBI single in the 2nd. After B.J. Upton made the score 5-2 with a sac fly in the 5th, Brignac put the game away with his second homer, this one a three-one belt, upping the lead to 8-2. Brignac was inserted in the lineup due to the absence of regular second baseman, Sean Rodriguez, who was a late arrival, attending to matters related to the flooding of his Redington Beach condo. It was Brignac's best game as a pro, going 3-for-5 with the two homrs, 5 RBI and 2 rruns. The win sliced the Yankee lead in the AL East to just two games over the Rays. After winning Friday's game in dramatic fashion, the teams will play the rubber game of the series Sunday. National League Finally returning after Tommy Jorn surgery to make his first start of the season, Edinson Volquez sparkled for the Reds as they rode his 6 innings of 3-hit work to an 8-1 win over Colorado. There was some skepticism after Volquez allowed a leadoff double to Dexter Fowler and an RBI single by Carlos Gonzalez in the first inning, but he retained composure, got out of the inning without further damage and proceeded to mow down the Rockies, striking out fur of the next six batters he faced, an fanning nine overall. After a two-out single by Clint Barmes, Volquez didn't allow another hit, yielding only a pair of walks to Rockies' second baseman, Jonathan Herrera. With Volquez slcing through the Colorado batting order, the Reds regulars were doing what they do best, piling up the runs. Though they only had five hits for the entire game, four of them were home runs, one each by Brandon Phillips and Jonny Gomes, and two by Drew Stubbs. All but Gomes' solo shot came off Rockies' starter Jorge De La Rosa, who walked five and surrendered seven runs, six of them earned. The return of Volquez to the Cincinnati rotation could not have come at a more opportune time for the Reds as they try to hold off the St. Louis Cardinals, reigning champs in the NL Central. St. Louis trails Cincinnati by just 1/2 game. The Reds have won two straight, but the Cardinals have won four in a row.

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