Thursday, May 17, 2012

Adam LaRoche Leads Nationals Back to First in NL East; Edwin Encarnacion Wrecks Yankees

Players of the Day for Wednesday, May 16, 2012

American League

Edwin Encarnacion
Edwin Encarnacion belted a monstrous three-run homer to dead center field in the third inning off Yankee starter Hiroki Kuroda to put Tornoto up 5-0 en route to an 8-1 win in the first of a two game series at the Rogers Centre in Toronto.

The belt was Encarnacion's 13th of the season, which leads the team and is tied for second in the AL, as he went 3-for-4 in the game with a pair of singles and three RBI. He also is second in RBI with 34. Texas Ranger, Josh Hamilton, leads both power categories.

Toronto's win helped tighten up the contentious AL East, as both Tampa Bay and Baltimore won, expanding to a 3 1/2 game lead over the Yanks with the Blue Jays another 1/2 game back.

All four teams are above .500, the only AL division with such a stat. Boston is 6 1/2 games out with an 18-20 record. The Yankees will try to get even Thursday night. Game time is 7:05 pm EDT.

National League

Adam LaRoche
The Washington Nationals took back first place in the NL East, forging a 1/2 game lead over Atlanta, with a 7-4 win over Pittsburgh while the Marlins ran the Braves ragged, in an 8-4 victory.

Washington has accomplished the majority of their 23 wins (14 losses) because of their superior pitching, though, on a team in which more than half of their position players are batting under .250, first baseman Adam Laroche has been carrying the most productive bat, and Wednesday's win was no exception.

LaRoche singles, doubled and homered in four at-bats, driving in four runs, the key hit coming in the bottom of the seventh inning, when he cleared a bases-loaded situation with a double that broke open the game after the Pirates had scored two runs in the top of the frame to trail 4-3.

LaRoche leads the team in the three important categories, with a .339 batting average, seven home runs and 29 RBI.

The Nationals will try to maintain their slender lead when they complete their two-game series with the Pirates Thursday night before the weekend's interleague games.

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