Saturday, June 25, 2011

Bautista Leads Jays to Win at St. Louis; Fielder Powers Brewers Past Twins

Players of the Day for Friday, June 24, 2011

American League

Jose Bautista
Toronto hasn't been winning much of late, but they're getting plenty of mileage out of their superstar slugger, right fielder Jose Bautista.

Playing in St. Louis, Bautista doubled and scored in the 1st inning, was intentionally walked and eventually scored again in the 5th, and belted his major-league-leading 23rd home run in the 9th inning, a solo shot that broke a 4-4 tie and ensured a 5-4 win for the Blue Jays.

The win ended a four-game losing skid for the Jays, but they've fallen 7 1/2 games behind in the AL East, a division in which it is difficult to gain on the contenders. The consolation for Toronto was that their win cost the Cardinals a tie for first place in the NL Central, where the Brewers now lead by a game.

Baustista will be mentioned as an MVP candidate. His .326 batting average is third in the AL, and he has 48 RBI to go with those 23 homers.

National League

Prince Fielder
The Milwaukee Brewers are back in sole possession of first place in the NL Central after Prince Fielder drove in the game-tying and game-winning runs in a 4-3 win over Minnesota.

Like most teams, the Twins tried pitching around Fielder, walking him in the 4th and 5th innings. It didn't work out so well in the 4th, as Fielder scored the Brewers' first run, though with first base open with runners on second and third in the 5th, it was the right move, as struggling Casey McGehee flied out to end the inning.

In the seventh, however, after Danny Valencia's three-run homer in the 6th had put the Twins up by a 3-2 score, Fielder came to the plate with runners on first and third, there was no choice but to pitch to him and the result was a two-run game-winning double to right field, driving home both Ricky Weeks from third and Nyger Morgan, who streaked around from score from first.

Fielder is having a monster year, second in the league with 20 home runs and leading the RBI race with 65. Being in first place is its own reward for Fielder and the Brew crew.

INTERLEAGUE TALLY: The National League won eight games, the American League, six, which eliminated the once-burgeoning AL advantage. The two leagues are now tied for the season in interleague play, each with 70 wins.

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