Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Kevin Youkilis' Grand Slam Downs Yankees; Adam Wainwright Blanks Astros for 7-0 St. Louis Win

Players of the Day for Tuesday, August 21, 2012

American League

When the Red Sox traded Kevin Youkilis to the White Sox earlier this season, the Yankees were pleased to see a long-time nemesis traded out of their division.

However, as a part of their trip to the Windy City, Youkilis reminded New Yorkers that he remains a Yankee killer no matter where he's playing, smacking a grand slam in the fifth inning to provide the winning margin in Chicago's 7-3 triumph.

The opposite-field smash off starter Ivan Nova broke a 2-2 tie and was the only hit of the night for Youkilis. It was his 15th homer of the season, the 11th as a member of the White Sox, in 46 games with his new team.

Youkilis: Grand Slam
With the Yankees losing their second straight in Chicago, the AL East tightened a little more into a three-way race. Though Tampa Bay lost, 1-0, in 10 innings, to Kansas City, the Orioles dumped Texas, 5-3, and now find themselves just one game behind the Rays and five short of the division-leading Yanks.

The White Sox kept their two-game lead over Detroit - 5-3 winners over Toronto - in the Central, while the A's took a 4-1 decision over Minnesota to creep to within five games of Texas in the West. The wild card, led by the Rays and O's, has the A's 1 1/2 back, Detroit 2 1/2 out and the fading Angels five behind.

The White Sox will be looking for a sweep when they tangle with the Yankees at 8:05 pm EDT on Wednesday.

National League

Wainwright: 7-0 W
As long as the Cardinals keep trotting Adam Wainwright out to the mound every five days they're likely to stay in the wild card race until the very end, posing a significant danger to the rest of the National League teams who have visions of a World Series October.

The Cardinals got red hot in September last year, qualifying for the playoffs on the final day of the regular season, and are 3 1/2 behind Atlanta in the overall wild card race, but just 1/2 game behind Pittsburgh for the second slot after Wainwright tossed a complete game, 7-0, shutout against the Astros.

It was Wainwright's third complete game and second shutout of the season. As he improved to 12-10 on the year, Wainwright needed only 104 pitches for the win, allowing five hits, striking out a season-high 12 while issuing just one walk.

In his last six starts, Wainwright has earned the victory in five, and has four straight wins, helping to keep the Cardinals in the thick of the wild card race.

With the opening game win in their three game series with visiting Houston, the Cards seek to sweep the NL's weakest team. Houston has lost five straight.

Following the series with Houston, the Cards embark on their toughest road trip of the season, a ten-game stretch with three in Cincinnati, three in Pittsburgh and four games at Washington, taking them into September.

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