Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Mike Moustakas Leads KC Rout of Blue Jays; Garrett Jones, Andrew McCutchen Power Pirates

Players of the Day for Monday, July 2, 2012

American League

You'd never know it because they get so little coverage, but the Kansas City Royals are right in the middle of the hunt for the AL Central, hanging at 5 1/2 back after their 11-3 win over the Blue Jays Monday.

Mike Moustakas
At 36-42, the Royals aren't even a .500 team, but only division leader Chicago (42-37) and Cleveland (40-39) are above the break even mark in the AL's weakest division.

The Royals have patched together a contender with a combination of fair pitching and solid hitting. At .265, the Royals are tied for fourth in team batting average, though their home runs (65) and RBI (302) numbers rank near the bottom of the league.

One player who can contribute to making those power numbers better is third baseman Mike Moustakas, who doubled and socked a seventh-inning grand slam in five at-bats, driving in five runs to lead KC over Toronto.

In his second year with the Royals, Moustakas has 14 hoers and 43 RBI, to go with a .266 batting average.

National League

The Pittsburgh Pirates will not go away.

Garrett Jones
With their 11-2 win over Houston, the Pirates maintained their hold on second place in the NL Central, one game back of the Reds, who topped the Dodgers, 8-2, holding onto their slim lead.

Andrew McCutchen
The Pirates banged out 18 hits in their rout, six players having multiple-hit games, among them Andrew McCutchen, who went 4-for-5, scored three times and drove in a run, and Garrett Jones, hwo led the team with four RBI, also going 4-for-5 and scoring three runs with a double and a two-run homer in the fourth, when the Pirates broke the game open with four runs.

The win was the opener of a four-game set with the Astros, one of the league's worst teams at 32-48. Pittsburgh will host the Giants for three games following the series with Houston, leading up to the all star break.

Meanwhile, the Reds continue their three-game series at LA, and then move down the coast for four games with the Padres, another of the NL dregs, with a 31-50 record.

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