Saturday, August 20, 2011

Hunter, Moreland Each Homer Twice as Angels, Rangers Win; Rodriguez Blanks Giants

Players of the Day for Friday, August 19, 2011

American League

Mitch Moreland
The race in the AL West between the Rangers and Angels was pretty close until this week, when the Rangers went to LA and took three of four, upping their lead to a solid six games.

Torii Hunter
There's still a lot of baseball to be played, however, and the two teams meet again for a three-game series in Texas, August 26-28, and again at the very end of the season, with three games in Anaheim, on September 26-28.

On Friday, the Rangers maintained their advantage with a 7-4 win over the White Sox in which Mitch Moreland socked a pair of home runs and drove in five runs for the Rangers.

Not to be outdone, Torii Hunter did the same - two homers and five RBI - as the Angels knocked off Baltimore, 8-3.

The race bears watching, with the Angels having to make up significant ground on the Rangers, who lost in the World Series last season to the Giants. Only one team will likely make the playoffs, as LA is currently nine game behind Boston in the wild card race.

National League

Wandy Rodriguez
As the trading deadline approached last month, three Astro names were being bandied about as possible free agents: Michael Bourne, Hunter Pence and Wandy Rodriguez. Bourne got a ticket to Atlanta, Pence ended up with the Phillies, but there were no takers on Rodriguez, leaving the Astros with a load of young talent and nary a veteran.

Rodriguez proved skeptics wrong again Friday, when he blanked the San Francisco Giants for eight innings, evening his record at 9-9 in a 6-0 Houston victory.

Allowing five hits and a couple of walks, Rodriguez struck out eight before turning the ball over the bullpen for the final inning, his second win in his last three starts.

The loss left the Giants 2 1/2 games behind Arizona in the West, as the Diamondbacks also lost, 4-2, to a red-hot Atlanta squad.

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