Saturday, August 27, 2011

Capuano 2-Hit Shutout Stops Braves; Cruz, Murphy Lead Rangers over Angels

Players of the Day for Friday, August 26, 2011

American League

After losing three straight and four of their last six, the Texas Rangers were in desperate need of a win, especially with the Angels, winners of their last six games, in town for a three game visit.

Cruz: 2 HR, 6 RBI
The secret for the Rangers was that they'd handed the Angels three straight losses just a week ago, before dropping the final game of their four game series in Anaheim, so, as if it were all planned out, the Rangers got big efforts from Nelson Cruz and David Murphy, resulting in an 11-7 win over their top rival in the AL West.
Grand Slam Murphy

Cruz, dealing with a slump entering the contest, was dropped to the #7 slot in the order by manager Ron Washington. His response was a 4-for-5 night at the plate, with a solo homer in the 4th inning, a three-run blast in the 6th, a double, a single, three runs and six RBI.

Murphy, playing as DH and batting right behind Cruz, went 3-for-5, including a 5th inning grand slam off Angels' starter Dan Haren, sending the LA hurler to an early shower.

Texas increased its lead over the Angels to three games with the victory and face them twice more over the weekend. The two teams match up again in Arlington on September 26, 27 and 28, the final three games of the regular season.

National League

Capuano: 2-Hitter
Better late than never, as the saying goes.

Mets' pitcher, Chris Capuano (10-11), who hadn't gone deeper than six innings in any of his last six starts and had only pitched into the 7th inning five times in 25 starts this season, shut down the Atlanta Braves on two hits for a 6-0 Mets win, pitching his first complete game shutout since blanking the Cubs, 2-0, on July 6, 2006, when he was a starter for the Milwaukee Brewers.

The Braves came to visit the Mets as winners of seven of their last eight games, but ran into a buzz saw, as Capuano had all his pitches working, setting down the first 12 batters in order, striking out a career high 13 without surrendering a walk in a dominating performance.

Capuano allowed only a 5th inning single by Dan Uggla and an 8th inning double by David Ross, throwing 79 of 122 pitches for strikes. He ended the game with a flourish, fanning the final two Atlanta batters, including the last out against Micheal Bourne, who struck out all four times he went to the plate.

Unfortunately for the Mets, they are still 21 1/2 games back in the NL East and 15 1/2 games behind the Braves in the wild card race. The teams decided to postpone the next two games of the series, scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, in the face of oncoming Hurricane Irene, which is expected to deliver heavy rains and damaging winds to the New York area over the next two days.

The games will be made up as a doubleheader on September 8 at Citi Field.

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