Saturday, August 21, 2010

Overbay's Two Homers, 7 RBI Crush Red Sox; Homer Bailey Extends Reds' Lead

Players of the Day for Friday, August 20, 2010 American League The hits just keep coming from the Toronto Blue Jays. On Friday, the Jays made the Jon Lester and the Red Sox the latest victims in their batting assault through the American League, pounding out 20 hits in a 16-2 romp at Fenway Park. Lester pitched only into the 3rd inning, as he gave up five runs in the first, one in the second and was credited with three more in the third. He gave up eight hits, three walks and nine runs, his chief torment being Lyle Overbay, who smacked a pair of three-run homers off the Boston lefty. Overbay wasn't done after Lester departed. He singled and scored in the 6th inning and singled home another run in the 8th. His line for the night, 4-for-5, 3 runs, 7 RBI, with a pair of dingers. Not too shabby. The Jays continue to terrorize opposing pitchers, leading the majors with 187 home runs and a .458 slugging percentage. With 121 games already in the book (64-57), the Jays probably won't crack the major league mark of 264 home runs in a season, set by the Seattle Mariners in 1999, though they are on pace to come pretty close. They should finish up with about 250, though nobody is ruling out that they could hit two per game on average, setting a new standard. National League It was just a week ago that St. Louis took three straight from the Reds and wrested control of the NL Central, leaving Cincinnati with a one-game lead in the divisional race. Since then, the two teams have gone in opposite directions, however, with the Cardinals losing five straight while the Reds have put together a seven -game win streak. The Cards, who have had three days off in the past nine, haven't responded well to the extra rest. After taking the opener of their three-game series against Chicago, they lost the next two, then dropped two straight to the Brewers and on Friday were on the losing end of a 6-3 score against the Giants. Making matters more troubling is the fact that all of the losses have come at home. While the Cardinals were trying to figure out what happened, the Reds took three straight from the Marlins at home, then went on the road and swept three from Arizona, and on Friday went into Dodger Stadium - where they had lost 12 straight - and came away with a 3-1 win, mostly on the strength of Homer Bailey's seven solid innings. Bailey, pitching in place of suspended starter Johnny Cueto for the second time in a week, allowed four hits and one earned run. He struck out six and walked a pair of batters. Bailey, who hadn't pitched since May 23, shut out Florida on Sunday for siz innings and returned with another strong performance Friday night. Cueto's suspension has ended, and the Red's fiery right-hander will go to the mound on Saturday against the Dodgers. The Reds' have put together their longest win streak of the season at just the right time, with the Cardinals struggling and the top spot in the division theirs for the taking. In just a week they've opened up a 4 1/2 game lead on the Cards, after a grueling three months in which neither team could establish anything better than a three game lead.

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