Thursday, August 19, 2010
Longoria Batters Rangers as Rays Sweep; Rollins Rips Giants
Players of the Day for Wednesday, August 18, 2010 American League Visiting Tampa Bay did not turn out to be a walk on the beach for the Texas Rangers, though the pitching staff and most of the infielders got to know Tampa's third baseman, Evan Longoria, a whole lot better. Longoria absolutely wore out the Rangers over their three game series, all wins by the Rays, going 7-for-12 (.583) with a home run, three doubles, a triple and eight RBI. After beating the Rangers two straight, Longoria made sure of the sweep by going 3-for-4 with a homer, two doubles, a sac fly and four RBI, helping lead the way to an 8-6 victory. The home run was his 16th of the season and Longoria's RBI total has now reached 80, good for 10th in the league, one behind Josh Hamilton and two ahead of Minnesota's Jason Kubel. Longoria is also batting .293 and has swiped 15 bases in 18 attempts. While the Rangers could afford the three straight losses, remaining eight games in front of both the Angels and the A's in the AL West, the Rays continue to battle the Yankees for control of the AL East. Tampa has won five straight and remain tied with New York atop the division, 5 1/2 in front of Boston. National League Even though the Atlanta Braves won their fourth straight Wednesday night, topping Washington, 3-2, the Phillies aren't letting them get too far ahead in the NL East standings. Philadelphia won its fourth straight with an 8-2 beating of the Giants, to remain 2 1/2 games behind the division leaders and seem to have their sights set on taking the division for the fourth straight season. At the top of Philly's batting order, Jimmy Rollins continues to be a catalyst for winning in the city of brotherly love. Rollins went 3-for-5 against the Giants, smacking a three-run homer and a triple, stealing two bases, driving in three runs and scoring twice. His three-run blast in the 4th inning put the Phillies up 5-1. Starter Joe Blanton managed 6 1/3 innings before turning the ball over to the bullpen, which made quick work of the Giants in the latter innings. Three relievers no-hit San Francisco over the final 2 2/3 frames. The Phillies have taken the first two of their three-game set from the visiting Giants, winning the opener, 9-3, and, with Wednesday's win, assuming a two game lead over San Fran in the wild card race, but Philly's aims reach well beyond second best in their division. The Braves and Phillies will not meet until September 20, when the Braves head to Philadelphia for a three-game showdown. The two also meet on the final three days of the regular season in Atlanta, beginning October 1st. As for the Giants, their loss dropped them six games behind the Padres in the NL West, making the wild card the preferred path to the playoffs for the Bay area team.