Sunday, August 21, 2011

Longoria Drives in Five for Streaky Rays; Fielder, Brewers Win Wild One over Mets

Players of the Day for Saturday, August 20, 2011

American League

Longoria: 4 RBI
Hellickson: 8 scoreless
Winning their fourth straight, the Tampa Bay Rays are acting as though the AL East and wild card races are still up for grabs. Despite trailing the Yankees by eight games in the division and the Red Sox by 7 1/2 in the wild card, the Rays pounded Seattle, 8-0, while the two teams they're chasing lost by identical 9-4 scores.

Evan Longoria delivered the opening salvo for Tampa, belting his 20th home run of the season with one aboard in the first inning. The Rays scored three more in the third, and Longoria completed the Tampa scoring with a two-run single in the three-run eighth.

The Rays banged out 13 hits in supports of Jeremy Hellickson's eight innings of shutout work. Hellickson allowed six hits and a walk, punching out five on strikes as he improved his record to 11-9 and lowered his ERA to 3.02.

The Rays will go for the sweep of Seattle Sunday afternoon in Tampa.

National League

The hottest team in baseball right now is the Milwaukee Brewers, who have won eight of their last 10 and 21 of their last 24, an amazing run, but what may be equally amazing is how they managed to blow a 7-1 lead to the Mets, then came back to win it in the ninth inning.
Fielder: 96 RBI

The Brewers built their big lead on home runs off Mets' starter Chris Capuano, who surrendered seven runs - five earned - over 5 2/3 innings. Ryan Braun got things started with a two-run blast in the first, followed by Prince Fielder's 28th of the season, a three-run shot in the third, and added two more in the 6th off Yunieski Betancourt's two-run job.

The six-run lead was not enough to stave off a two inning rally by the Mets, who put up five runs in the 7th - three of them off former Met Francisco Rodriguez - and three more in the 8th to forge a 9-7 lead.

Striking back in the top of the ninth, Milwaukee loaded the bases off Jason Isringhausen, who walked mark Kotsay to force in a run, then Fielder followed with a seeing-eye single to right, which tied the game. Casey McGehee cued a ball between second and first for two more runs, producing the 11-9 final score.

Fielder's four RBI gave him 96, tying him with Ryan Howard for the NL lead. His 28 homers have him in the midst of a four-way battle for the HR crown. Albert Pujols leads the NL with 30, followed by Dan Uggla and Mike Stanton, each with 29.

Coupled with the Cardinals' 3-0 loss to the Cubs, the Brewers are cruising to the title in the NL Central with an 8 1/2 game lead.

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