Saturday, July 23, 2011

Cruz Delivers 8 RBI in 12-2 Rout; Hamels Wins 12th for Phillies

Players of the Day for Friday, July 22, 2011

American League

Cruz: 8 RBI
Entering Friday's fracas with the Toronto Blue Jays, the Rangers' Nelson Cruz had been in a serious RBI drought. Cruz had driven in exactly one run in his last 11 games, despite the fact that Texas had won nine straight during that time.

With Michael Young going 4-for-4 in front of him, the Toronto pitching staff was to be unwilling victims of the wrath of Cruz, helping Young score four times.

Beginning with his first at-bat, Cruz proved impossible to get out. In the 2nd he got the Rangers rolling with an RBI double. Then, in the 4th, he hit a three-run homer, following that up with a single in the 5th that plated two more runs.

Cruz finished up with a two-run single in the 6th inning, completing a 4-for-4 night with eight RBI as Cruz and the Rangers punished the Blue Jays 12-2.

While eight RBI in a game is unusual, Cruz is notable for big run-producing games. On July 1, he drove in six runs in a 15-5 win over the Marlins. Cruz has 21 RBI in the month of July.

The Texas win kept them three games ahed of the relentless Angels in the AL West.

National League

Hamels: 12-5
If not for the special play of the Atlanta Braves the Philadelphia Phillies would be impossible to catch in the NL East. Atlanta looks like a shoo-in for the wild card. Their 59-41 record would give them the lead in either of the other two divisions, but they trail Philly by four games.

Philadelphia maintained their lead with Cole Hamels on the mound, who tossed another sensational game in the Phillies' 3-1 win over the Padres.

Hamels allowed three hits and one earned run over eight innings, giving up one walk while whiffing 10. Hamels improved to 12-5 with his third win in his last four starts. Hamels is carrying around some gaudy numbers this season, especially considering the exploits of teammates Cliff Lee and Roy Halladay. His ERA is an impressive 2.62, along with a 0.96 WHIP and 134 strikeouts.

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