Monday, July 9, 2012

White Sox, Alex Rios Fall Short in 11-9 Loss to Blue Jays; Neil Walker, Andrew McCutchen Keep Pirates in First Place

Players of the Day for Sunday, July 8, 2012

American League

Leading the Central division, the Chicago White Sox went looking for a sweep of their three-game series with visiting Toronto on Sunday, but, despite their best effort of Alex Rios, ended up falling short in an 11-9 loss to the Blue Jays.

Alex Rios
Rios socked a three-run homer in the first inning, but all that did was put the White Sox a run down, as Jose Bautista and Colby Rasmus has each blasted two-run shots in the top of the inning.

After the Blue Jays scored a run in the second, two in the third and another in the fourth, Rios doubled in a run and scored in the fifth, as the Sox plated four, again trailing the Jays by a run.

In the sixth, Rajai Davis walked, stole second and third (two of his three swipes in the game), and scored on a wild pitch. The Jays added two more runs in the frame, putting them up 11-7 and even though the White Sox scored a run in the sixth and Rios doubled and scored again in the seventh - capping a 3-for-5, three run, four RBI effort - it was still not enough to overcome the ten hit attack of the Blue Jays, which included four doubles and four homers.

Despite the loss, the White Sox head into the break with a three game lead in the division, as Cleveland lost but Detroit won their fifth straight, 7-1, over Kansas City, to get within 3 1/2 of Chicago.

Toronto remained in last place in the AL East, 9 1/2 behind the Yankees, but are now tied with Boston at 43-43, as the Yanks dumped the Red Sox, 7-3, taking three of their four games at Fenway Park.

National League

Walker: 5-for-5 4R
The story the Pittsburgh Pirates are writing is the best one in the National League, and, if they continue playing the way they are, it could be the best story in sports this year.

McCutchen: 2HR 4RBI
Winning for the 10th time in their last 12 games, the Pirates beat up on Tim Lincecum (3-10) and the Giants in a 13-2 blowout at home, ending their three game series with two wins as all teams head to the all star break.

Andrew McCutchen and Neil Walker personally accounted for eight of the Pirates' 17 hits, getting to Lincecum early as McCutchen drove in Walker with a two run homer, his first of two fence-clearers on the day.

Walker went 5-for-5 with a double and a home run, scored four times and drove in a pair of runs, while McCutchen was 3-for-5 with two homers, three runs and four RBI. Lincecum, who lasted only 3 1/3 innings, was rocked for six earned runs on seven hits, two of them homers by McCutchen and Walker.

The four RBI gave McCutchen 60 on the year, tied for third in the NL, to go with his league -leading .362 batting average. He's also creeping up on the home run leaders. His two on Sunday gave him 18, tying him with Cincinnati's Jay Bruce for fourth in the league.

The win kept Pittsburgh's hold on first place in the NL Central intact, a game ahead of Cincinnati and St. Louis, both winners on the day. San Francisco remained 1/2 game behind the Dodgers in the West.

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