Friday, July 27, 2012

Starling Marte Homers for Pirates on First Major League Pitch; Chris Davis Leads Orioles Past Rays

Players of the Day for Thursday, July 26, 2012

American League

The chase continues in the AL East, with everyone looking up at the Yankees and their 7 1/2 game lead over the Orioles, who helped themselves out a bit with a 6-2 win over the Rays that avoided the series sweep and kept them alone in second place.

Chris Davis
Chris Davis carried the big bat for the O's in their win, as he socked a bases-loaded double in the fifth inning, breaking open what was a scoreless tie until Adam Jones knocked in a pair earlier in the inning.

Davis' two-bagger upped the lead to 5-0 and he added a solo homer in the seventh - his 16th of the year - as insurance.

With the Yanks cruising along with the biggest lead in the majors, teams like Baltimore and Tampa Bay may be eyeing the wild card race a bit more intently, but that race is very jumbled at present, with seven teams all within four games of each other, the current leader being the LA Angels.

In coming weeks, the situation may change, with one or two teams breaking away, or, the race could just remain tight until the final weeks of the season.

National League

If the Pittsburgh Pirates are going to stay in the NL Central race or vie for a wild card spot - they currently lead the Braves by two games in that department - it's widely accepted that they need a little help on the offensive side.

Starling Marte
That help may have arrived with the addition of Starling Marte, who took the first pitch he saw as a major leaguer deep into the stands beyond left-center field.

Batting in the leadoff spot, Marte gave the Pirates a quick 1-0 lead that promptly grew to 3-0 after Andrew McCutchen singled and Garrett Jones brought him around with his 15th long ball of the season.

Pittsburgh won the game, 5-3, with A.J. Burnett (12-3) picking up the win. Marte singled later in the game to go 2-for-4 in his major league debut.

The win - the first in a four-game series - put the Pirates two games behind the idle Reds in the Central. Houston, mired in one of their typically disappointing seasons, has dropped 23 of their last 25 games, their current losing streak now standing at 10.

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