Thursday, June 23, 2011

Lillibridge Shows Savvy in White Sox Win; Heisey, Cueto Lead Reds Past Yanks

Players of the Day for Wednesday, June 22, 2011

American League

Brent Lillibridge
We've heard of taking one for the team, but when a player takes one that turns out to be a game-winner, that's something special.

Since arriving from the minors to the White Sox, Brent Lillibridge has been a sensation in the outfield and solid at the plate. In Wednesday's rubber match with the Cubs, he proved that baseball is often more guile than power, more a game of inches, rather than feet.

Lillibridge went 2-for-3 with a most unusual pair of RBI, the first on a bunt single, the second without his bat even touching the ball. The remarkable sub showed the gamesmanship of a veteran when he bunted for a single in the 4th inning, getting A.J. Pierzynski - not the fleetest of foot - home from third base to put the White Sox up 2-0. Then, in the 5th, he was hit by a Doug Davis pitch with the bases loaded to make it 4-1, and, yes, it counts as an RBI.

It turned out to be a fortuitous bruising, as the Cobs plated two more in the top of the 6th, before the White Sox bullpen closed the door, resulting in a 4-3 White Sox win and a 2-1 edge in the crosstown series.

Lillibridge is batting .278 with seven home runs, 15 RBI, 20 runs and six steals in just 97 at-bats.

National League

Heisey: 3 Homers
Cueto: 7 IP, 2 Hits
After dropping the first game of their day-night double-header to the Yankees, the Reds needed a win in the nightcap to avoid being swept at home, so they turned to their #2 starter, Johnny Cueto, who didn't have to be as good as he was, as the Reds registered a 10-2 romp over the New Yorkers.

Cueto improved to 5-2 allowing two hits over seven innings, one of which was a solo homer by Nick Swisher, producing the only run he'd give up.

While Cueto was all arms and elbows on the mound, fanning six while walking three, Chris Heisey was raking at the plate, going 3-for-5, all of his hits homers, driving in five runs, prompting more questions to manager Dusty Baker about why the kid isn't in the starting lineup permanently.

The Reds' win moved them to within two games of the Milwaukee Brewers in the NL Central, with the Cardinals in between, 1/2 game out, but Heisey's heroics may land him a full-time job in the end. He's batting .273 with 8 homers and 28 RBI in just 123 at-bats.

INTERLEAGUE TALLY: The National League took 9 out of 15 played on Wednesday, cutting further into the big lead the AL had been building. The tally stands at 64 for the AL and 58 wins for the NL.

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