Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Windy City Winners: Paul Konerko Leads Sox Past Twins; Jeff Samardzija 1-Hits Pirates Over 8

Players of the Day for Monday, July 23, 2012

American League

Paul Konerko
Remaining in the thick of the AL Central race, the Chicago White Sox took a 7-4 decision over the Minnesota Twins to stay one game behind Detroit, which has won five straight.

Chicago's victory was fueled by the long ball, as Adam Dunn and Alex Rios each cracked two run homers in the third inning, turning a 3-2 lead into a 7-2 bulge. Rios hit his 15th, while Dunn's was his 29th, which leads the major leagues.

The initial three runs for the Sox were supplied by Paul Konerko, who socked his 15th home run in the bottom of the first. In the third, Konerko followed Dunn's belt with a single and scored on the Rios big fly.

The game was the first of a three game set which continues Tuesday night in Chicago with a day game on Wednesday.

National League

Samardzija: 8IP, 1H
Somebody had to cool of the Pittsburgh Pirates, winners of five straight, and that somebody turned out to be Cubs' starter, Jeff Samardzija, who allowed only a one-out, fourth inning single to Andrew McCutchen over eight innings in a 2-0 victory.

As he improved to 7-8, Samardzija got support from Alfonso Soriano, who drove in Starlin Castro twice with a pair of doubles. Samardzija issued just one walk - also to McCutchen - in the first inning, struck out five and finished by retiring 13 straight batters after McCutchen was gunned down trying to steal second before turning the ball over to Carlos Marmol, who allowed a hit in the ninth but still managed to earn his 12th save of the season.

Around the plate all night, Samardzija threw 99 pitches, of which 71 were strikes.

The loss by the Pirates dropped them 1 1/2 behind the Reds in the NL Central. Cincinnati has won five straight, including Monday's 8-3 win over Houston.

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