Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Rangers Stop Royals as Ian Kinsler Goes 3-for-3; Justin Upton Socks a Pair, Drives in Six in Atlanta Rout

Players of the Day for Monday, March 18, 2013

Grapefruit League

When the Phillies and Braves have gotten together for a ball game n recent years, the usual expectation is of a pitcher's duel of some kind. Playing an exhibition game at the Braves' Springtime home at Champion Stadium in Kissimmee, Florida, was a little bit different.

Upton: 2HR, 6RBI
The Braves pounded Philly pitching for 19 hits - four of them home runs - in a 17-10 romp in which the Braves scored in every inning except the sixth.

Justin Upton led the assault with a pair of homers. He socked a two-run, first inning blast off starter Rodrigo Lopez, and later pounded a three-run shot in the third off reliever Colton Murray. Upton was not done, however, connecting for an RBI single in the fifth off Antonio Bastardo to give him six RBI on the day. He also walked and scored in the second.

Upton was traded from the Diamondbacks to the Braves during the off-season and brings a lively bat to the Atlanta lineup. He batted .280 in 2012 with 17 homers and 67 RBI. He is expected to patrol left field alongside his brother, B.J., who was acquired via free agency by the Braves after eight seasons with the Tampa Bay Rays.

With rising star, Jason Heyward, in right field, the 2013 Braves will field one of the fleetest and productive outfields in the major leagues.

Cactus League
Kinsler: 3-3, HR

With the Kansas City Royals running away with the Cactus League, the Rangers took a step Monday at putting their reign to an end, topping the Royals, 8-2, with their second straight win, improving to 12-10 in exhibition play.

At the top of the order, where he's been a mainstay for nearly a decade, Ian Kinsler went 3-for-3, with a home run and two RBI. Kinsler also scored twice and stole his second base of the Spring. He's expected to start the 2013 season at second base for the Rangers.

Derek Lowe worked three innings of scoreless ball, getting the win, his first of the exhibition season. The Royals were held scoreless until the ninth, when they plated their only runs of the game.

The loss reduced KC's lead in the Cactus to just 1 1/2 games over Seattle, winners of five straight.

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