Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Matt LaPorta 4-for-4 in 19-1 Cleveland Win; Gonzalez Blasts Lincecum, Giants

Players of the Day for Monday, May 16, 2011

American League

Thus far, the Cleveland Indians have been ripping apart the AL Central and the rest of the American League.

Matt LaPorta
Already at or near the top of most of the offensive categories and leading the division by 3 1/2 games, the Indians went off against Kansas City Monday night, amassing 20 hits in a smashing, 19-1, victory.

Every position starter had at least one hit, but first baseman Matt LaPorta topped them all, going 4-for-4, with two doubles, two singles, four RBI and a run scored.

In his second full season with the Indians, LaPorta is beginning to flourish at the plate. Along with catcher Carlos Santana, the Indians have the nucleus of a division contender for years to come. LaPorta has four homers and 21 RBI on the season, along with a .274 batting average.

Combined with Detroit's 4-2 loss to Toronto, the Indians stretched their lead to 4 1/2 games.

National League

Despite having to face Tim Lincecum on Monday, the Colorado Rockies were looking to reclaim their lost lead in the NL West with a pair of games with the Giants in Colorado.

Carlos Gonzalez
Coming into the game, San Francisco held a 1 1/2 game lead in the division, but the Rockies knew that taking both would put them back atop the NL West.

Lincecum banked the Rockies for the first four innings, but Troy Tulowitzki singled home a pair of runs in the bottom of the 5th for a short-lived, 2-1 lead. Homers in the 6th by Andres Torres and Nate Schierholtz put the Giants back on top, 4-2, but the Rockies struck right back in the bottom of the inning with five runs, capped by a three run homer by Carlos Gonzalez that sent Lincecum in one of his worst starts of the season.

Lincecum lasted just 5 2/3 innings, and even though only 3 of the 7 runs Colorado scored, Lincecum certainly didn't help matters, allowing nine hits and issuing six walks.

The homer by Gonzalez was his 5th of the season and provided all the offense the Rockies' bullpen would need as a parade of five relievers shut out the Giants over the final three innings for the 7-4 win, leaving the Giants with a slim 1/2 game lead.

The second and final game of the series is Tuesday in Colorado. A win by the Rockies puts them back on top of the division.

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