Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Orioles 4-0 on Roberts 3-Run Blast; Walker Leads Pirate to 4-3 win over Cards

Players of the Day for Monday, April 4, 2011

American League

Brian Roberts
Who's that atop the AL East standings? The Baltimore Orioles, that's who.

The O's have been the best team in the American League since Buck Showalter took over the managerial reins in August of last season, and they're 4-0 this season, their best start since 1997. Last year, under Showalter, the Orioles finished up 34-23, but still were easily in last place, a full 30 games behind division champions Tampa Bay.

Brian Roberts, who missed most of last season due to back and other nagging injuries, connected for his second home run of the season, a fifth-inning, three-run shot off Tiger starter Rick Porcello. The blast broke a 1-1 tie and paved the way to a home opening 5-1 win in Baltimore.

The O's swept Tampa Bay to start their season and kept the momentum going at Camden Yards. The homer was Roberts' only hit of the day, but it was the decisive shot.

After playing just 59 games in 2010, Roberts is back as the Orioles regular second baseman and leadoff hitter.

National League

Neil Walker
The Pittsburgh Pirates haven't played a home game this season and won't until they face the Rockies on Thursday, but they're swashbuckling their way through the NL Central, taking two of three in Chicago and beating the Cardinals, 4-3, on Monday to open their three-game series in St. Louis.

Neil Walker went 3-for-4, doubling in a pair of runs in the sixth inning before scoring on Andrew McCutchen's second homer of the season.

Walker and leadoff hitter Jose Tabata are leading the Pirates with their one-two punch. Tabata is batting .429; Walker's three hits upped his average to .412.

Notable: Texas Ranger Nelson Cruz smacked his 4th home run in as many games, joining Mark McGwire (1998) and Willie Mays (1971) as the only players to go yard in each of their first four games of a season. With their fourth win, the Rangers join the Orioles, Phillies (3-0) and Reds (3-0) as the only unbeaten teams in the majors.

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