Sunday, June 19, 2011

Baker Goes 8 Scoreless for Streaking Twins; Victorino Powers Phils to 6-Game Lead

Players of the Day for Saturday, June 18, 2011

American League

Baker: 8 Scoreless
Slowly but surely, the Minnesota Twins are getting themselves back into the AL Central race. On Friday, they got all-star catcher Joe Mauer back from the DL after he missed 56 games, and on Saturday, Scott Baker ruled the bump, delivering eight innings of shutout ball for a 1-0 Minnesota win, their sixth straight.

Baker batted with San Diego's Tim Stauffer, whose only mistake was to Danny Valencia, who deposited one of Stauffer's pitches into the stands beyond left-center field, producing the only run of the game.

Meanwhile, Baker was chucking peas, allowing just four hits and one walk while striking out 10 Padres.

Minnesota's win did not get them out of last place, but, combined with Kansas City's 5-4 loss at St. Louis, left them tied for the bottom spot with the Royals, eight games out. The Twins will go for the sweep of San Diego, Sunday in Minnesota.

National League

Arguably carrying the best pitching staff in the majors, the Phillies have opened up the largest lead in the bigs - six games - over Atlanta in the NL East.

And not only do the Phillies boast prodigious pitching, but they can also have their bats do the talking, as Shane Victorino proved in their 5-1 win over the Mariners.

Victorino: a single
short of the cycle.
Victorino went 3-for-4 on the day, driving in all but one of the Philly runs, as he nearly went for the cycle.

After walking in his first at-bat, the center-fielder tripled with two outs in the 3rd inning, but was stranded. After grounding out in the 5th, Victorino came back with a bases-loaded, ground rule double in the seventh, plating a pair of runs, and then smacked his 8th home run of the season, accounting for two more runs.

His effort was more than enough for emergency starter Vance Worley and a trio of relievers.

INTERLEAGUE TALLY: The AL took eight of the 14 interleague games on Saturday, expanding their lead of the NL to 37-33.

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