Sunday, May 22, 2011

Lincecum Goes Distance in 3-0 Win; Bautista Homers Twice for Toronto

Players of the Day for Saturday, May 21, 2011

American League
Jose Bautista

Jose Bautista isn't exactly on record-setting pace, though he's awfully close.

With two more homers in Toronto's 7-5 victory over Houston, Bautista blasted numbers 17 and 18, which would translate into 61-65 homers, depending on how healthy he remains and how many games he plays.

Trailing 4-0, Bustista's three-run shot in the 6th inning got the Blue Jays back within striking distance. In the 7th, Toronto added three more runs to take the lead for good, punctuated by Bautista's second homer of the game, a trademark solo shot to left in the 8th inning. He also singled and stole a base, raising his league-leading average to .364.

The win kept the Blue Jays in the hunt for the AL East lead. Tampa Bay and the Yankees are tied for first with Boston 1/2 game back, as their seven-game win streak was ended in a 9-3 loss to the Cubs. Toronto is 1 1/2 out of first place, at 23-22. Baltimore trails in the division, but are only four games off the pace.

National League

Tim Lincecum
After giving up nine hits, six walks and seven runs (three earned) in 5 2/3 innings in Monday's 7-4 loss to Colorado, Tim Lincecum was looking to bounce back with a better performance against crosstown rival Oakland as the two Bay-area teams matched up in an interleague series.

The Giants took the first of the three-game set Friday, 2-1, in 10 innings, on stingy pitching and Aubrey Huff's walk-off RBI single. In Saturday's 3-0 win, Lincecum displayed the determination that has made him one of baseball's premiere power pitchers.

Lincecum yielded only three harmless singles - in the 1st, 8th and 9th innings - putting down 21 straight batters in between - going the route to even his record at 4-4. It was his first complete game and first shutout of 2011, equalling last season's totals.

Throwing 133 pitches (84 for strikes), Lincecum did not allow a walk and fanned six. Better yet, it was the Giants' fourth straight win and put them up 2 1/2 games on Colorado, 3-2 losers at Milwaukee.

DIAMOND NOTES: The National League won eight of the 14 interleague games on Saturday, keeping them in the lead, 17-11, over the American League. A consideration for MLB: how about interleague games counting for home field advantage in the World Series, instead of basing it on just one game - the All-Star game - as it is now?

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