Saturday, May 7, 2011

Granderson Homers Twice in Yankee Win; Jamie Garcia Takes Perfect Game into 8th

Players of the Day for Friday, May 6, 2011

American League

Curtis Granderson
Yankee manager Joe Girardi insists on having Derek Jeter bat leadoff, so that leaves the speedy Curtis Granderson to bat in the #2 hole.

This arrangement has worked out for the Yanks thus far, as they have a one-game lead over Tampa Bay in the AL East after defeating the Rangers in Texas Friday night, 4-1, but baseball writers should be seeking another adjective for Granderson, possibly replacing "speedy" with "slugging."

Jeter opened Friday's festivities with a single, followed by Granderson's 9th homer run of the season, a two-run shot that got the Yankees on the board in a hurry.

Granderson smacked #10 in the 7th inning, as starter Ivan Nova was slicing up the Rangers, allowing just two hits through 7 1/3 innings. The sole run off Nova was unearned.

Granderson's two homers catapulted him past Toronto's Jose Bautista into the AL home run lead and the three RBI gave him 21 on the season, among the top ten in the league. Speedy? Powerful? Granderson seems to have it all.

National League

Jaime Garcia
With one of their stud starters - Adam Wainwright - gone for the season, the Cardinals have still managed to wreak havoc in the NL Central, wresting a 1 1/2 game lead over Cincinnati after 4-0 Jaime Garcia took a perfect game into the 8th inning against the Milwaukee Brewers Friday night.

Garcia walked Casey McGehee with one out in the eighth to spoil the perfcto. The next batter, Yuniesky Betancourt, stroked a solid single to left field to end the no-hit bid. Garcia finished the game with a 2-hit shutout, and a 6-0 win for St. Louis.

The walk to McGahee was the only free pass issued by Garcia while he fanned 8 Brewers, getting Ryan Braun three times on strikes. A ninth inning double by Ricky Weeks was the second hit.

With a perfect 4-0 record a 0.93 WHIP and an ERA of 1.99, Garcia has stepped up and picked up the slack left by Wainwright. He and Kyle Lohse (4-1) have been the Cardinals' most consistent starters. If Chris Carpenter (0-2) gets going the NL Central could turn into a Redbird road show.

The complete game shutout was the second of the season for Garcia and his third lifetime. After a 13-8 season as a rookie, Garcia is fast becoming one of the top starters in the majors.

STREAKING: Andre Ethier extended his hitting streak to 30 games with three singles in five at-bats in the Dodgers' 6-3 loss to the the Mets. Ethier is now ripping it at a .379 pace, and is one game shy of the longest hitting streak in Dodger history. Willie Davis hit in 31 stright back in 1969. Ethier will get his chance Saturday in New York.

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