Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Royals' Felipe Paulino Shuts Down Yankees; Austin Kearns, Giancarlo Stanton Power Marlins Past Rockies

Players of the Day for Monday, May 21, 2012

American League

All five teams from the AL East were in action Monday, with key match-ups in Baltimore - where the Red Sox rallied past the division-leading Orioles, 8-6 - and Tampa Bay, as the Blue Jays topped the Rays, 6-2.

The story of the night was in New York, however, where the Kansas City Royals took a 6-0 decision over the Yankees, dropping them into a tie with Boston for last place in the division at 21-21.

Kansas City set the tone in the first inning, when Mike Moustakas homered with a man aboard off NY starter Hiroki Kuroda for a 2-0 lead. The Royals scored another pair of runs in the seventh on Jeff Francoeur's two-run blast. In between Billy Butler doubled a run home in the fifth and later, Irving Falu scampered home with the final nail in the coffin on a wild pitch by Freddie Garcia.

While the Royals regulars were putting the Yankee staff through their paces, 29-year-old Dominincan, Felipe Paulino, was setting bombers down quietly and efficiently, throwing shutout ball for 6 2/3 innings on six hits with eight strikeouts and a pair of walks.

Felipe Paulino
Paulino (2-1), making just his fourth start of the year, had runners on base in every inning but the second, working out of jams repeatedly to hold the Yanks off the board. In the third, New York loaded the bases with nobody out, but Paulino cooly struck out Robinson Cano and Alex Rodriguez before getting Raul Ibanez on a routine fly ball to end the threat.

Besides the third inning Ks, Paulino struck out two of the Yankee deep threats, Nick Swisher and Mark Teixeira twice each.

Although they're only 17-24 and six games behind the Indians in the Central, the Royals have not been a pushover for the Yankees, having taken two of four from them earlier this month in Kansas City. Game two of the three-game set is scheduled for Tuesday night at 7:05 pm EDT.

The Orioles lead the East by two games over the Rays, with Toronto another game back. New York and Boston are 5 1/2 out. All five teams in the division are at least at .500, a stat unmatched by any other MLB division.

National League

Austin Kearns
The Rockies looked to put away the Marlins early, scoring four first inning runs off Miami starter Mark Buehrle, but their lead would not last long, as Miami powered back for a 7-4 home win that left them just 2 1/2 games off the pace being set in the NL East by Atlanta.

Giancarlo Stanton
Six of Miami's seven runs came off aging starter Jamie Moyer, who dropped to 2-4. Moyer lasted just 3 2/3 innings, his shortest outing of the season, after Giancarlo Stanton sent him to an early shower with a mammoth grand slam that knocked out a panel on the Marlins' state-of-the-art scoreboard.

Austin Kearns went 4-for-4 with four singles, drove in two runs, scored once and stole a base to pace the Miami hitters who piled up 13 hits and seven walks for the game.

The Rockies have lost five straight and remain tied with San Diego for last place in the NL West while the Marlins have won two in a row.

The second leg of the series is Tuesday, with the finale Wednesday night.

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