Saturday, May 5, 2012

Eric Hinske's Homer Gives Braves 9-8 win; David Price, B.J. Upton Lead Rays to Sixth Straight

Players of the Day for Friday, May 4, 2012

American League

Price: 5-1
Fans in New York and Boston my not want to face the facts, but the Yankees and Red Sox are struggling to keep pace in the rugged AL East. They are last and second last, 4 1/2 and 7 games behind, respectively, the Tampa Bay Rays, who won their sixth straight, taking a 7-2 victory over Oakland in the opener of their three-game series at Tropicana Field.

BJ Upton
Tampa Bay fell behind early, as the A's scored a run in the first, but the Rays got three runs in the third and four in the second to back the pitching of starter David Price, who worked eight full innings, allowing only the single run in the first, allowing three hits while fanning a season-high 12 batters. Price surrendered only one walk, getting his league-best fifth win (tied with teammate James Shields - 5-0) against one loss.

B.J. Upton was the driving force for the offense, doubling twice in four at-bats, driving in two and scoring a pair of runs. Batting .350, Upton has been stinging the ball, getting 11 hits in his last 26 at-bats, raising his average by 136 points.

The Rays winning streak includes two at Texas and a sweep of the Mariners on their current home stand. They lead the Orioles by 1 1/2 and Toronto by 3 games. The O's have won three straight and Toronto is currently riding a four game winning streak.

National League

There are only three teams with winning road records in the National League: Arizona, St. Louis and Atlanta.

Eric Hinske
The Braves improved to 8-6 on away games, winning 9-8 in 11 innings at Colorado to remain 1 1/2 games back of Washington in the NL East.

Colorado took an early lead with five runs in the first inning, but the Braves battled back, took the lead twice only to see the Rockies tie the game with single runs in the fifth and sixth innings.

Neither team scored in the final three innings, or in the 10th, but Eric Hinske blasted a two-run homer in the top of the 11th to put Atlanta up 9-7. The Rockies responded again in the bottom of the frame, but this time came up short, scoring just one run, as closer Craig Kimbrel struggled to earn his ninth save.

Hinske's homer was one of four hits for the Atlanta outfielder, in six at-bats. In addition to his game-winner, Hinske singled twice and doubled, finishing with three RBI for the game while raising his batting average to .412.

The Braves have two more games at Colorado this weekend.

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