Thursday, September 1, 2011

Blue Jays Hammer Orioles, 13-0; Jake Westbrook Slams Brewers

Players of the Day for Wednesday, August 31, 2011

American League

Look out, Boston and New York. The Toronto Blue Jays are becoming as homer-happy as the top two slugging teams in the American League. In their 13-0 thrashing of the Baltimore Orioles Wednesday night, they hit four more, tying them with Texas in third place with 161 long balls. The Yankees lead with 188, followed by Boston's 170.

Edwin Encarnacion
Jose Bautista smacked a two-run shot to tie Curtis Granderson for the major league lead with his 39th. Edwin Encarnacion had four hits in five at-bats, including a two-run bomb, two doubles and a single, driving in two and scoring three times. Kelly Johnson, who's hitting .308 in seven games with the Blue Jays since their second baseman swap with Arizona for Aaron Hill, had a three-run shot. Jose Molina chipped in with a solo blast.

Besides Encarnacion, two others had four hits, Yunel Escobar and Eric Thames, the leadoff and #2 hitter in the lineup.

Winning games the remainder of this season won't matter much. The Jays are 68-68, 15 1/2 behind the Red Sox in the AL East standings, but if they pick up a couple of live arms in the off-season, the Jays could challenge in baseball's dominant division.

National League

Jake Westbrook
There were some fine pitching performances in the NL on Wednesday. Jake Westbrook's, who allowed 8 hits and three runs (two earned) over five innings, wasn't one of them, but with his 4th inning grand slam - in his only official at-bat - he staked himself to a 6-2 lead before hitting the showers after throwing only 66 pitches. Maybe all that running around the bases tired him out.

The best part of Westbrook's grand slam and 8-3 win for the second place Cardinals was that it came against NL Central division-leading Milwaukee, cutting the Brewers' lead in the division to 8 1/2 games. The Cards have slim hopes of catching the runaway Brew Crew, but they will go for the three-game sweep on Thursday in Milwaukee. The Brewers have the best home record in baseball, at 50-18. Westbrook improved to 11-7.

The best mound work of the night was done by either Madison Bumgarner (8 IP, 2 hits, 0 ER, 2 BB, 11 Ks) in the Giants' 4-0 win over the Cubs, Cliff Lee (8 2/3, 6 hits, 0 ER, 1 BB, 7 Ks) as Philly topped Cincinnati, 3-0, or J.A. Happ, who went seven innings, allowing 3 hits, a walk and no runs while fanning seven in Houston's 2-0 win over Pittsburgh.

Back in the AL, Felix Hernandez dimmed the hopes of the Angels in the West, throwing a complete game, allowing just one run on five hits while striking out nine in Seattle's 2-1 win over the Angels.

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