Monday, September 13, 2010

Konerko, Sox Club Royals; Oswalt Fires Phils into First

Players of the Day for Sunday, September 12, 2010 American League Paul Konerko rocked two homers and drove in five runs, leading the Chicago White Sox past the KC Royals, 12-6. The Royals leapt to a 6-0 lead in the opening inning on a pair three-run homers by Billy Butler and Brayan Pena, but Konerko had already begun gnawing away at the lead in the bottom of the frame with the first of his two, a two-run smash to center. Homering again in the 3rd with Alex Rios aboard, Konerko drove this one to left and the Sox scored two more to tie the game after four. In the 6th inning, Konerko broke the knot with a run-scoring single and scored on Andruw Jones' pinch hit grand slam. Chicago tallied six times in the inning to break the game wide open. Still in hopeful pursuit of the Twins, the White Sox didn't gain any ground on the division leaders, still trailing by six games. A day off Monday leads to a three-game showdown with the Twins beginning Tuesday in Chicago. National League When the Phillies acquired Roy Oswalt from Houston prior to the trading deadline, they knew they were getting a quality pitcher who might help them win their fourth straight NL East flag. After his first two starts, an 8-1 loss to Washington and a 5-4 win over Florida (August 1) in which he didn't receive a decision, Oswalt has been magnificent, winning six of his last seven starts as the Phillies overtook the Braves and snatched away first place in the division. With an assist to the Cardinals, who bombed the Braves, 7-3, Sunday night, Oswalt twirled a 4-hit, complete-game shutout in New York, for a 3-0 win over the Mets and a one-game lead in the NL East. The effort was the culmination of a steady streak for Oswalt, who's allowed eight earned runs over his past 51 1/3 innings, a 1.40 ERA. The Phillies have won all of his last seven starts. The Phillies scored single runs in each of the 1st, 3rd and 7th innings, and Oswalt, who allowed two hits in the opening inning, kept the Mets off the bases and off the scoreboard for the duration, walking one and fanning six. After going 6-12 with the Astros, the 6-1 record he's put up since joining the Phillies has Oswalt close to .500, at 12-13. PENNANT NOTES: The Yankees lost their third straight, 4-1, being swept in Texas by the Rangers, but Tampa Bay also lost, 5-4, to the Blue Jays, so the Rays remain 1/2 game behind. With their 5th straight win and an Oakland loss, the Rangers have reduced their magic number to 12 in the West. In the National League, the Reds lost a game they could have won, allowing three runs in the 9th to the Pirates for a 3-1 loss. The still lead the Cardinals by six games in the Central. Tim Lincecum stopped the Padres in their tracks, 6-1, as the Giants moved back into a tie with San Diego atop the West. Colorado won their 10th in a row, a 4-2 win over Arizona, and are just 1 1/2 back of the deadlock.

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