Saturday, August 11, 2012

Ichiro Suzuki Helps Yankees in 10-4 Win; Chase Headley's Two Homers Thwart Pirates

Players of the Day for Friday, August 10, 2012

American League

General managers around the majors are probably still scratching their collective heads over how the Yankees managed to snag Ichiro Suzuki during the frenzy before the trading deadline.

Ichiro Suzuki
Money, playing in New York and the cache of being a Yankee were probably among the reasons one of the premier hitters of the last decade is now wearing pinstripes.

Ichiro certainly made the Yankee brass look good in Friday's 10-4 road win over the Blue Jays. Stationed in center field for the first time as a New Yorker, Ichiro responded with nearly-flawless play in the field and five RBI off a 2-for-5 night at the plate.

In the second inning, Ichiro made the score 2-0 by beating out a potential double play ball that scored a run off a bases-loaded situation. In the eighth, he singled home a pair and did the same in the top of the ninth as the Yankees turned a close game into a rout with three runs in the eighth and four in the ninth.

The win was in the opener of a three game series in Toronto and kept the Yanks 5 1/2 ahead of the Orioles and six clear of hot-pursuing Tampa Bay.

National League

While Ichiro getting into pinstripes was one of the best deals of late July, another head-scratcher is how San Diego's Chase Headley is still toiling for the underperforming Padres.

Chase Headley
A career .270 hitter with a modicum of power, Headley, 28, is likely heading into his best years as a player.

In San Diego's 9-8 win over the Pirates, Headley provided the winning margin with his second homer of the game, a two-run shot in the seventh, after tying the score in the fifth inning with a three-run blast.

Pittsburgh had built a 7-1 lead through the first four innings before the Padres struck for six runs in the top of the fifth, capped by Headley's long ball.

After the Pirates took the lead in the lead in the sixth, only to fall behind again on Headley's seventh inning shot, a trio of Padre relievers - Dale Thayer, Luke Gregerson and Huston Street - each pitched an inning of perfection to close out the game.

The loss to Pittsburgh pushed the Pirates a game further behind the Reds, 10-8 winners over Chicago. Cincinnati leads Pittsburgh by 3 1/2 in the NL Central.

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