Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Nelson Cruz Helps Darvish Get First AL Win; Barry Zito Blanks Rockies on Four Hits

Players of the Day for Monday, April 9, 2011

American League

The Texas Rangers game against Seattle Monday was supposed to be all about the debut of Japanese import Yu Darvish making his first start in American baseball. Fans were geared up for the flame-chucking hurler, but, as games usually go in Texas, it was the hitters who carried the day.

Cruz: 3-4 HR 4RBI
While Darvish got the win, he wasn't particularly effective, allowing eight hits, four walks and five earned runs in 5 2/3 innings before being pulled, but the Rangers had already put eight runs on the board and Darvish would get the win as Texas belted Seattle, 11-5.

The Rangers hit four homers off three different Seattle pitchers, including the third-inning, three-run bomb by Nelson Cruz - his first of the year - that tied the game at five. An inning later, Mitch Moreland's two-run job and Josh Hamilton's solo shot put Texas ahead for good.

Cruz singled with two aboard in the first inning, driving in the second Texas run and singled again with two down in the seventh, but was left stranded. He finished up 3-for-4 with four RBI as the Rangers took sole possession of first place in the AL West at 3-1, 1/2 game better than the 3-2 Mariners.

National League

After being swept three straight by Arizona to open the season, the Giants needed a quality start from Barry Zito, and the big lefty delivered a sterling performance, tossing a complete-game, 7-0 shutout at Colorado.

Zito: complete game
Zito had a strong outing, giving up two singles in the third inning, another in the fourth and a two-out double to Ramon Hernandez in the the seventh inning, before cutting down the final seven Colorado batters in order. He struck out four, did not issue any bases on balls and no Colorado player advanced past second base.

Pablo Sandoval staked Zito to a 2-0 lead in the first with his second homer of the year and second year shortstop Brandon Crawford's bases-loaded double completed the scoring for the Giants in the fifth.

The Giants are 1-3, tied with the Rockies and Padres in the NL West cellar. The only winless team remaining in the National League is Atlanta, losing their fourth straight, an 8-3 road loss at Houston.

In the American League, Minnesota is 0-4 after losing their home opener, 5-1, to the Angels.

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