Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Angels Blast Texas Behind Kendrys Morales Two Homers; Arizona Gains in NL West Behind Paul Goldschmidt, Chris Johnson Homers

Players of the Day for Monday, July 30, 2012

American League

The Rangers and Angels opened a crucial four game series in Arlington Monday night, and the result moved the two AL West contenders closer together as the Angels romped in a 15-8 slugfest.

With neither manager willing to deplete their respective bullpens, only five pitchers were employed in the contest, the worst of it taken by Texas starter Roy Oswald, who allowed eight earned runs on 11 hits over 5 1/3 innings.

Kendrys Morales
The biggest blows came in the Angels half of the sixth inning, when LA sent 11 batters to the plate and knocked Oswalt out of the game, scoring nine times. After an Albert Pujols' leadoff double, Kendrys Morales went deep for a two-run homer, and finished the inning off with a grand slam that put the Angels up by a 12-3 score.

Morales's two homers and six RBI gave him 11 and 45, respectively. Mike Trout, who drove in four runs himself, and Maicer Izturis also homered for the Angels.

The result left Texas with a four game lead over the Angels, though Oakland, 4-3 winners in 15 innings over Tampa Bay, is just 3 1/2 behind the Rangers and can benefit from the head-to-head play between their two main rivals.

The series continues Tuesday in Texas, with an 8:05 pm EDT start.

National League

Chris Johnson
For the Arizona Diamondbacks, the time to make a move on the Giants and Dodgers in the NL West is now, as they opened a three game series in LA, 4 1/2 games behind the division co-leaders.

Paul Goldschmidt
It didn't take long for the D'Backs to take advantage of their opportunity. First baseman Paul Goldschmidt hammered a three-run homer in the first inning, and third baseman Chris Johnson banged a grand slam in the fifth, accounting for all of the scoring in a 7-2 victory for the Diamondbacks.

Johnson was playing in his first game for Arizona, having been acquired in a trade from Houston on Sunday. He flied out to right in his first at-bat and grounded into a bases-loaded double play the next time up, but quickly made amends with his 8th homer of the season.

The win, coupled with San Francisco's 8-7, 10-inning loss to the Mets, improved Arizona's position to just 3 1/2 back with a pair of games remaining against the Dodgers.

Arizona has ridden an 8-3 stretch to make up ground in the division and has finally gotten past the .500 mark at 52-51.

The series in LA continues Tuesday with a 7:05 pm PDT start and a 12:05 afternoon contest to close it out.

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