Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Yunel Escobar Smacks 2-Run Shot in 10th; Yovani Gallardo 2-Hits Braves

Players of the Day for Tuesday, April 5, 2010

American League

Yunel Escbar
This season's version of the AL East may not be all about the Yankees and the Red Sox. Even the reigning champion Tampa Bay Rays may not be part of the mix come September, partly because they let slip away their best player, Carl Crawford, but also because they've lost other players like Carlos Pena (free agency to the Cubs) and Evan Longoria (injured earlier this week).

The Baltimore Orioles have come out of the running, winning their first four games, but in hot pursuit are the Blue Jays, improving to 3-1 on the season with a 10-inning, 7-6 win over the A's.

Blessed with a solid, though unspectacular pitching staff, the Jays have a wealth of talent scattered through their lineup. One such player is shortstop Yunel Escobar, who came over to the Jays from Atlanta last season and perked up right away, raising his batting average by 37 points (from .238 to .275).

This season, Escobar is batting a brisk .375, and was the star of Tuesday's victory, going 3-for-5, scoring three times, including on his walk-off, two run homer in the 10th inning, to cap Toronto's comeback win.

After battling to a 5-all tie in regulation, the A's took a 6-5 lead on Josh Willingham's solo shot in the top of the 10th, but Escobar ended the game with his first home run of the season, a two-run blast to right off A's reliever Grant Balfour, bringing home Rajai Davis, who had singled to lead off the frame.

National League

Yovani Gallardo
Loaded with power hitters, the Milwaukee Brewers found out that pitching is important as Yovani Gallardo tossed a two-hit, complete game shutout over the Braves for Milwaukee's first win of the season.

Matched up against Derek Lowe, Gallardo proved best - not only on the mound, but at the plate, as he singled and came around to score the game's only run on Ryan Bruan's two-on, two-out single in the third inning.

Gallardo limited the Braves to just two hits and a pair of walks over nine innings for the 1-0 win. He didn't allow anyone past first base, getting help from his teammates, who turned double plays in the first and fourth innings. Gallardo, who had 200 Ks last season, struck out just two batters over the nine innings.

After Dan Uggla singled to lead off the 8th, catcher George Kottaras threw him out attempting to steal second, ending Atlanta's final threat.

In 2010, Gallardo was 14-7 with two shutouts. He's 1-0 after two starts this season with a shutout and an ERA of 1.20

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