Friday, July 23, 2010

A-Rod Swats 599th; Hamels 1-Hits Cards as Phils Win in 11

Players of the Day for Thursday, July 22, 2010 American League Looking to open up some breathing room in the AL East, the Yankees opened a four game series in New York against the Kansas City Royals. By the end of the game, the Bombers had accomplished their aim, adding a 1/2 game to their lead over the Rays (now 3 games back) with a 10-4 win over their powerless AL Central opponent. Additionally, starter C.C. Sabathia, who struggled through 6 1/3 innings (11 hits, 3 ER), became the top winner in the AL, posting this 13th W of the season against just 3 losses. But it was Alex Rodriguez stealing the spotlight, belting his 599th career home run with none aboard in the 7th inning, putting him on the cusp of an historic mark and upping the Yankee lead to 6-4. Rodriguez had already knocked in a pair of runs with a ground rule double in the 2nd inning prior to his homer, and added another RBI in the bottom of the 8th with a double to the right-center gap as the Yankees tacked on four more runs. It was the 16th homer of the season for A-Rod, who went 3-for-5 with 4 RBI on the night. His four ribbies put him in second place in the AL RBI race, seven behind leader Miguel Cabrera of Detroit. Rodriguez, seeking to become only the 7th player all-time to reach the 600-homer plateau, will have ample opportunity to do it in front of the NY fans with three more games against the Royals this weekend. National League The St. Louis Cardinals are trying to hold onto first place in the NL Central. The Philadelphia Phillies are just trying to remain relevant in the NL East. Matching up Cole Hamels against St. Louis' Adam Wainwright Thursday night, neither team could find a way to the scoreboard while the two starters battled. Wainwright lasted just six innings, though he didn't allow a run while giving up six hits without a walk, fanning six. Hamels, however, twirled a gem over 8 solid innings, allowing only Matt Holliday's leadoff single in the 4th and a walk to Yadier Molina in the 8th before being lifted for reliever Ryan Madsen to start the 9th. Hamels struck out 8, including the first five batters he faced, set down the first 12 in order, but despite his awesome performance, did not receive a decision. Scoreless into the 11th, the Phillies finally broke through when Placido Polanco led off the inning with a solo homer. Jayson Werth drove in Raul Ibanez with an insurance run later in the frame. The 2-0 win kept the Phillies seven games behind the Atlanta Braves, 8-0 winners over San Diego. St. Louis maintained their 1 1/2 game lead over the Reds, who were outclassed by Washington, 7-1. Notes: The AL Central got a little bit tighter as both the Tigers and Twins won while the White Sox took a day off. Carl Pavano pitched a 5-hit complete game shutout for Minnesota's 5-0 win over the Orioles. Detroit stopped Toronto, 5-2. Both trail the White Sox by 2 games.

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