Sunday, July 31, 2011

Cano, Swisher Propel Yankees to Twin Bird Kill; Howard Slashes Pirates with 21st Homer

Players of the Day for Saturday, July 30, 2011

American League

Robinson Cano
The Yankees made a mockery of the Baltimore pitching staff, pounding O's hurlers for 24 hits in a 17-3 victory in which they nearly batted around twice and scored a team record of 12 runs in the first inning.

Nick Swisher
Once the Yanks had their fill of first inning batting practice, the game devolved into a drawn out exercise in getting through nine innings without further embarrassment or injury.

Robinson Cano was having fun, however, at the Orioles' expense, going 5-for-5 with two doubles, five RBI and two runs scored. After his last hit, a single in the 6th inning which plated Curtis Granderson with the final Yankee run, he was mercifully replaced by pinch-runner Francisco Cervelli, taking his .295 batting average and 68 RBI on the season to the bench for the final three innings of the slaughter.

The Yanks took both ends of a day-night double-header from the Orioles, winning the first game by the relatively-modest score of 8-3. Nick Swisher had the big blow in game one, a 4th inning, two-run homer which broke a 2-2 tie and put the Yankees ahead for good. In the twin killing, Swisher homered in each game, going 3-for-5 with two runs and two RBI in the day game and 3-for-6 with two runs and three RBI in the nightcap.

The two wins shaved 1/2 game off Boston's lead in the AL East, trimming the edge to two games as the Red Sox beat the White Sox, 10-2. The Yankees will have an opportunity to take back first place when they travel to Boston for a three game series, August 5, 6 and 7, following a four-game series in Chicago with the White Sox.

National League

Ryan Howard
The Philadelphia Phillies maintained their 5-game advantage over the Atlanta Braves in the NL East with a 7-4 victory over the upstart Pirates, taking the first two games of their three-game set with Pittsburgh.

Ryan Howard went 4-for-4, smacking his 21st home run and driving in three runs, to give him 81 on the year, one behind LA's Matt Kemp, who leads the league. It's the seventh straight season that Howard has hit at least 20 homers, dating back to 2005, when he hit 22 in 88 games. In 2004, Howard played in just 19 games with the Phillies, but managed a pair of bombs in those games, prior to becoming the Phillies' full time first baseman and winning Rookie of the Year honors in 2005.

The Phillies will look to complete the sweep of the Pirates Sunday afternoon, before embarking on a 10-day, 10-game road trip which includes four games at World Series champion San Francisco.

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