Thursday, August 11, 2011

McCutchen, Pirates Blister Giants, 9-2; Jason Kipnis 5-for-5 in Cleveland Win; Uggla Streak Reaches 31

Players of the Day for Wednesday, August 10, 2011

American League

Jason Kipnis
One might suspect that the Cleveland Indians have heard enough about how they're folding under pressure, can't win the AL Central and so forth. The Indians have responded by winning two straight against the division-leading Tigers including Wednesday's 10-3 blowout victory.

With one game left in the series, the Tigers have seen their lead shrink back to just two games over the Indians, with the White Sox lurking, just four out.

In Wednesday's romp, much of the offensive damage was delivered by rookie second baseman Jason Kipnis, who went 5-for-5 with three singles, a double and a home run, scoring four times and driving in three runs.

Having been called up only recently, Kipnis has played in just 16 games, but has hit safely in 10 of his last 11 and is sporting a .295 batting average and has six homers. Kipnis has filled a hole not only at second base, but also as the number two hitter in the lineup.

The Indians will go for the three game sweep Thursday night in Cleveland.

National League

Andrew McCutchen
The Pirates may have faded recently, but they're taking out their anger on the San Francisco Giants, taking two of three from the NL West contenders and knocking them out of first place after Wednesday's 9-2 win.

Jonathan Sanchez, the Giants' starter making his second start since coming off the DL, was hammered by the Pirates, allowing four hits, four walks and four earned runs in just 4 1/3 innings. Sanchez had allowed seven hits and five runs in 4 2/3 innings against the Phillies on August 5.

Andrew McCutchen had one of the stranger stat lines for a leadoff hitter, going 1-for-1 with four runs, two RBI and a pair of stolen bases. McCutchen walked three times, including a base on balls to lead off the game, later scoring - after swiping second - to give the Pirates a 1-0 lead. His only hit happened to be a home run off Sanchez with a runner aboard in the 3rd inning.

The Pirates remained 10 1/2 behind Milwaukee in the Central division, as the Brewers won their 7th straight. The Giants' loss dropped them 1/2 game behind Arizona in the West.

STREAKS: Atlanta's Dan Uggla went 3-for-5 in the Braves' 6-2 win over the Marlins, extending his consecutive game hitting streak to 31 games, the longest in the majors this season. Amazingly, Uggla is batting only .224, but that's quite an improvement over the .173 batting average when he began his streak.

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