Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Jed Lowrie Powers Red Sox Past Rays; Zambrano Sharp in Cubs Win

Players of the Day for Monday, April 18, 2011

American League

Jed Lowrie
The Boston Red Sox took the final three games of their four game series against the Blue Jays - including Monday's 9-1 win - but are still only a 5-10 ball club mired in last place, trailing the Yankees by 4 1/2 games in the AL East.

With the talent they have, it's unlikely the Sox will be down in the dumps for long, especially if some of the players start emulating shortstop Jed Lowrie's level of play.

Lowrie went 4-for-5 in Monday's win, launching his second home run of the season - a 5th inning, two-run shot that sent Blue Jay starter Ricky Romero to an early shower - after greeting Romero with a two-run single in the first inning.

Lowrie's four RBI gave him nine for the year, and his four hits upped his average to a blistering .516, and that's after 11 games.

National League

Carlos Zambrano
Carlos Zambrano didn't get a decision, but he did pave the way for the Cubs' 1-0, 10th-inning win over San Diego.

Widely considered one of the top hurlers in the game, Zambrano allowed just three hits over eight scoreless innings before turning the ball over to the bullpen. Already 2-0 on the season, it was Zambrano's best effort thus far, a hopeful sign for the Cubs, who suddenly find themselves just a game behind Cincinnati in the NL Central. Chicago is stuck in a logjam at 8-8 with St. Louis, Pittsburgh and Milwaukee.

Zambrano struggled a bit in a the early going, allowing two hits and his only walk of the game in the first two innings, but settled in and finished strong, setting down the last ten in order, including striking out the side in the 7th inning. He finished with 10 Ks on 110 pitches.

Diamond Notes: Tim Lincecum took a no hitter into the 7th inning, but was touched up for four hits and didn't last through the 8th, as the Giants roughed up Colorado, 8-1, but remain in second place, three games behind the streaky Rockies.

The two top teams in the AL Central - Cleveland and Kansas City - squared off in the first of a four game series in KC, with the Indians finally putting the Royals away with four runs in the top of the 10th for a 7-3 win and a two-game lead in the division. The surprising Indians have the best record in the majors, tied with Colorado at 12-4, thanks to a reinvigorated lineup which includes a healthy Grady Sizemore and Travis Hafner, who appears to have rediscovered his power stroke.

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