Monday, August 15, 2011

Markakis Leads Orioles Past Tigers; Rookie Belt Socks Pair of Homers for Giants

Players of the Day for Sunday, August 14, 2011

American League

The race in the AL Central got a little bit tighter, thanks to the Baltimore Orioles, fueled by their stalwart right fielder, Nick Markakis, who drove in four of Baltimore's eight runs.

Markakis: 4 RBI
While the Indians were being rained out in their series finale with Minnesota and the White Sox were getting past the Royals, 6-2, Markakis and his teammates were unloading on Detroit starter Doug Fister, banging out 12 of their 14 hits against him, knocking him out with two down in the 6th inning.

Markakis, who had been 0-for-8 in the first two games of the series, put together a 3-for-5 night at the plate, with a first inning, two run homer and a pair of run-scoring singles as the Orioles built an 8-1 lead.

The Tigers scored four runs in the ninth when closer Kevin Gregg failed to get anyone out, giving up four hits, two walks and all four earned runs for the 8-5 final.

No immediate make-up date for the Indians-Twins game was announced, though the game will probably become part of a day-night double header when the two meet in late September.

Sunday's results reduced the Tigers' lead over Cleveland to 2 1/2 games and four over the White Sox.

National League

Belt: 2 HRs
Sparingly used rookie Brandon Belt notched two solo homers as the Giants hit four round-trippers to help Ryan Vogelsong improve to 10-2 and remain two games behind the Arizona Diamondbacks in the NL West.

Belt connected in the 6th and 8th innings after Cody Ross's two-run shot in the 3rd and Nick Schierholtz's solo blast in the 4th put the Giants up, 3-1.

Vogelsong held the Marlins to one run until there were two down in the eighth, when Florida cut the lead to three runs. A trio of San Francisco relievers slammed the door shut the rest of the way for the final, 5-2, score.

Belt has played in just 32 games for the Giants, used primarily as a pinch-hitter and defensive replacement at first base. The pair of homers were his third and fourth of the season, as he upped his RBI total to nine.

Belt got the rare start due to injury to Carlos Beltran and a needed day off for regular first baseman Aubrey Huff. It was the third time he's been elevated from Triple A this season.

While the Giants didn't gain any ground on Arizona, they did pick up another game on Atlanta in the wild card race, trimming the Braves' lead to four games, with St. Louis five out.

STREAKS: Dan Uggla's 33-game hitting streak came to an abrupt end in Atlanta Sunday, where he went 0-for-3 with a sac fly in the Braves' 6-5 loss to the Cubs. Uggla came close to extending the streak to 34 games, but second baseman Darwin Barney's full extension diving catch in the fifth inning robbed Uggla of a bloop single.

Still streaking are the Diamondbacks and Astros, the former winning their sixth straight while Houston lost for the sixth consecutive time.

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