Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Brett Lawrie, Adam Jones Star as Jays Down O's; Homer Bailey Shuts Down Pirates as Reds Cruise

Players of the Day for Tuesday, May 29, 2012

American League

As May slowly turns to June and a long hot summer of baseball commences, it's getting a bit streaky in the American League.

Brett Lawrie
In the West division, the Angels took a 5-1 win over the Yankees to extend the longest current winning streak in the majors to eight games. The Angels now trail Texas by 5 1/2 and are 3 1/2 clear of third place Oakland, losers of seven in a row.

Winners of seven straight, the White Sox have assumed command by 1/2 game over Cleveland in the Central division. In the East, first place Baltimore has lost four straight and are tied with Tampa Bay, though the Rays haven't taken advantage of the Orioles' losses, as they've lost two in a row, but are tied for the top spot. The Yankees have also lost two consecutive games - to the Angels - but, Toronto and Boston have each won their last two, making the Al East baseball's most competitive division, with all teams over .500 and within 3 1/2 games of each other.

Adam Jones
The latest of those two straight Toronto wins came last night, as the Blue Jays held on for an 8-6 win over Baltimore and will look for the sweep Wednesday at the Rogers Centre. Brett Lawrie, recently returned from a suspension, got his bat working with a 3-for-4 effort (two singles and a double). Lawrie, who played in 46 games for the Blue jays last season, so is still technically a rookie, drove in three runs and scored three times, personally accounting for six of Toronto's eight runs.

Toronto scored all of its runs by the fifth inning and had an 8-1 lead, but the O's battled back gamely, getting three in the sixth and two more in the ninth, on Adam Jones' 2-run shot in the ninth, his 16th homer of the year. Jones had a solo homer in the first, but his teammates didn't provide enough extra offense, falling short as Jones went 3-for-3, drove in three and scored three times.

National League

Homer Bailey
Having won nine of their last 11, including Tuesday's 8-1 rout of Pittsburgh, the Reds have taken command in the Central division of the NL, 1 1/2 games up on St. Louis.

The Reds' recent surge has been fueled mostly by exceptional pitching. Reds' hurlers have allowed opponents three or fewer runs in seven of their last nine wins, including a four-game sweep of the Braves in which Atlanta scored just eight runs.

Homer Bailey has picked up three wins during the current hot streak, and was on the bump Tuesday, throwing a complete game - the second of his career - at the Pirates, allowing just four hits and one earned run. Bailey needed only 103 pitches to keep Pittsburgh batters in check, as he fanned five and issued only one walk.

After a rough start to the season, Bailey's three straight wins have him above water, at 4-3. During his personal win streak, Bailey has allowed just six earned runs, over a span of 21 1/3 innings.

Cincinnati will be looking to complete the sweep when they conclude their series in Pittsburgh Wednesday night.

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