Saturday, July 30, 2011

Niemann Whiffs 11 in Tampa Win; Kemp Has Five RBI, Overtakes Howard for NL Lead

Players of the Day for Friday, July 29, 2011

American League

Niemann: 11 Ks
Tampa Bay scored all eight of its runs in the second inning and Jeff Niemann fanned 11 in 6 2/3 innings as the Rays topped the lowly Mariners, 8-0.

Improving to 5-4, Niemann allowed three hits and surrendered three walks without allowing a run for this third win of July without a loss. Niemann came off the DL on June 20, and has won four of his last seven starts. In his five July starts, the 6'9" hurler has allowed only four earned runs for an ERA of 1.06. His 11 Ks were a career high.

The victory was much-needed for the Rays, who have fallen 9 1/2 behind Boston in the AL East and trail the Yankees - the current wild card leader - by 7 games. Seattle, which ended its 17-game losing streak with a win over the Yankees on Wednesday, returned home Friday only to begin losing again.

National League

Kemp: 80 RBI
Even though the Dodgers are playing sub-.500 ball (48-57) and are 12 1/2 games back in the NL West, Matt Kemp keeps knocking balls out of the park and driving in runs.

Kemp hit his 25th home run of the season and drove in five runs as the Dodgers out-slugged the Diamondbacks, 9-5.

Kemp's three-run home in the 2nd inning put the Dodgers up 3-1, and even though Arizona notched single runs in the 2nd, 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th innings, they could not catch the Dodgers. Kemp added two more RBI in the 3rd inning with a bases-loaded single that gave him the outright NL lead in RBI with 80, two better than Philadelphia's Ryan Howard.

His 25 home runs are second in the league only to Lance Berkman's 27. Kemp is batting .313 on the year.

STREAKS: Emilio Bonifacio's 26-game hitting streak was ended as he went 0-for-4 in Florida's 5-0 loss to the Atlanta Braves. In Chicago, Dustin Pedroia's 25-game streak came to an abrupt end as the Red Sox fell to the White Sox, 3-1. Pedroia went 0-for-4.

The Mets currently have the longest winning streak in the majors, winning their fifth straight by topping Washington, 8-5. The Nationals have the longest current losing streak in the majors, having lost six in a row.

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