Monday, April 22, 2013

Erik Kratz Powers Phillies over Cardinals; Nelson Cruz Comes Alive as Rangers Hammer Mariners

Players of the Day for Sunday, April 21, 2013

American League

Nelson Cruz
With an 11-3 victory over visiting Seattle, the Texas Rangers grabbed first place in the AL West division away from the Oakland A's, who were beaten, 8-1, at Tampa Bay.

For the Rangers, the win was their third straight, while Oakland was losing their third in a row.

Nelson Cruz broke open a close game in the fifth inning with his third home run of the season, a towering 450-foot moon shot to center field that cleared the bases for a grand slam. Cruz also singled and scored, going 2-for-4 on the day.

Seeing Cruz find his swing and hit home runs is a solid sign for the Rangers because Cruz is a streaky hitter with immense power. Last season he socked 24 home runs and drove in 90 runs.

National League

Erik Kratz
It might be too early in the season to call Philadelphia's 7-3 victory over St. Louis a "must-win," but it was certainly important.

Instead of losing their four-game series with the Cardinals, three games to one, the Phillies salvaged a 2-2 tie and prevented a further fall in the NL East standings. At 8-11, the Phillies are already 5 1/2 games behind division-leading Atlanta.

Erik Kratz proved the hero when he singled and scored in the seventh inning on Lance Nix's double, tying the game at 3-3. Kratz followed that up with a three-run homer in the eighth that put the game out of reach. The homer was his second of the year and gave Philly a needed boost.

Kratz has been getting plenty of playing time in relief of injured catcher Carlos Ruiz, playing in all but two of Philadelphia's games this season.

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