Friday, April 20, 2012

Curtis Granderson's 3 Homers, 5-for-5 Game Sinks Twins; Freddie Freeman Drives in Five as Atlanta Blasts Arizona

Players of the Day for Thursday, April 19, 2012

American League

In 2011, Curtis Granderson spent most of the season vying for AL home run leadership, eventually finishing second with 41 long balls to Toronto's Jose Bautista's 43.

Proving that 2011 was no fluke, Granderson is back at it again, taking over the AL lead in homers after going 5-fo-r with three balls over the wall in right field in New York's 7-6 victory over the visiting Minnesota Twins.

Curtis Granderson
Granderson, batting second in the order behind Derek Jeter, got the Yankees on the board with a solo jack in the first inning and followed that up with a two-run bolt in the second, which put New York on top of a 6-4 score.

In the fourth, Granderson sent a bases-empty line shot into the right field stands, his third homer of the game in his first three at-bats, and a 7-4 Yankee lead.

The Twins managed two more runs in the sixth off starter Phil Hughes, who struggled, but got the win, as the Yankee bullpen slammed the door shut. Granderson singled in his next two at bats, scorching a clean single to right field and beating out a dribbler between the mound and first base for his fifth and final hit of the evening.

The three donks gave Granderson six on the season, one ahead of a trio of pursuers. It was the first time in his career that he's hit three in a game and the third time he's had five hits. His effort was also the first for any player to hit three homers in a game at the new Yankee Stadium.

Having split the series with Minnesota, two games apiece, the Yankees head to Boston on Friday, to help in the celebration of Fenway's 100th anniversary. The Yanks take on the Red Sox at 3:15 pm.

National League

Freddie Freeman
After a slow start, Atlanta's Freddie Freeman is beginning to heat up.

Freeman had a homer and three RBI in Atlanta's win over the Mets on Wednesday, and in Thursday's opener of a four-game series in Arizona, he slugged two two-run shots and delivered an RBI double, going 3-for-5 with five RBI, leading the Braves to a 10-2 win.

The recent homer barrage were the first three of the season for Freeman, who belted 21 with 76 RBI as an Atlanta rookie last season.

Atlanta's win shaved a game off Washington's lead in the NL East, where the Braves are now in second place, at 8-5, after Houston bombed the Nationals, 11-4, handing them their fourth loss of the season against 10 wins. Atlanta has won three straight.

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