Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Bautista Smashes 42nd Homer; Cardinals Fall to Astros, Rodriguez

Players of the Day for Tuesday, August 31, 2010 American League Tampa Bay needed a win to stay even with the Yankees atop the American League East, but the Toronto Blue Jays pasted a 10-spot on them in the 6th inning and that was that, leading to a 13-5 thrashing by the homer-happy Jays. Toronto batters left the yard three times during the game, the big blast a three-run bomb off the bat of ML-leading Jose Bautista, his 42nd of the year, which closed out the 10-run 6th inning. Bautista, making a serious bid for AL MVP, added another RBI in the 7th with a single, going 2-for-3 on the night and raising his RBI total to 103, only four behind Miguel Cabrera's league-leading total. With the three home runs on Tuesday, the Blue Jays crossed the 200 mark, with 201 now in hand, in pursuit of the major league record of 264, set by the 1997 Seattle Mariners. With exactly 30 more games to play, the Bue Jays are unlikely to reach the post-season, but they may make a serious run at that team home run record, as hitting two per game is a rather routine occurrence in Toronto these days. With the Yankees beating Oakland, 9-3, the Rays fell one game behind in the standings. Toronto is still in 4th place, 13 games out. Boston occupies third place, 8 games off the pace. National League Whatever happened to the Cardinals after they swept the Reds three weeks ago and took over first place in the NL Central, isn't going away. With their 3-0 loss to Wandy Rodriguez and the Houston Astros, the Cards have won only five times in 17 games after their three-game sweep of the Reds and are now seven games back in the division. Rodriguez, whose 3-10 start contributed greatly to the Astros falling out of the race early on, has gone 8-2 since June 24 and lowered his ERA from 6.09 to 3.71. He's allowed just one earned run in his last 14 innings. Against the Cardinals on Tuesday, he allowed none, on two hits and two walks, while striking out six over seven innings, improving to 11-12 on the season. Cincinnati has enjoyed the demise of the Cardinals, their closest pursuer in the NL Central. Since the aforementioned sweep, the Reds have put together a nice 13-4 run and appear on track to take the division handily.

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