Monday, April 29, 2013

Miguel Cabrera Homers as Tigers Sweep Braves; Pittsburgh's Russell Martin Cranks a Pair of Homers in 9-0 Rout of Cardinals

Players of the Day for Sunday, April 28, 2013

American League

Miguel Cabrera
In a game played during a relentless rain event, the Detroit Tigers completed their three-game sweep of the Atlanta Braves with an 8-3 victory, sending the Braves to their fourth consecutive loss while the Tigers won their third straight and closed to within 1/2 game of AL Central leader, Kansas City.

Reigning AL MVP, Miguel Cabrera, turned a close game into a no-doubter with his third home run of the season, a seventh-inning, three run blast that completed the scoring for the Tigers.

Following Cabrera's homer, Al Alburquerque and Jose Valverde slammed the door shut on the Braves, each turning in hitless inning stints. Cabrera's home run was his first since April 16, though his batting average (.375, tied for second in the AL with teammate Torii Hunter) and run production have not suffered. He has 26 RBI on the season, third in the AL behind Chris Davis (28) and Mike Napoli (27).

Cabrera also doubled in three official at-bats, scoring a tie-breaking run in the sixth inning on a sac fly by Victor Martinez.

National League

Russell Martin
Russell Martin homered twice as the Pittsburgh Piratestook over first place in the tight NL Central with a 9-0 slaughter of the St. Louis Cardinals.

Martin, who came to the Pirates during the off-season after two seasons with the Yankees, cranked a first-inning solo homer to get Pittsburgh on the board in the second inning and launched a two-run jack in the ninth to complete the rout. In between, he doubled, going 3-for-5 on the day, with three RBI. Martin, who averages just 13 homers per year, has hit five already this season.

While the Pirates were piling up 13 hits on four St. Louis pitchers, Pittsburgh starter Jeff Locke was humming, stifling the Cardinal bats on three hits over seven innings to get to 3-1 on the year. Reliever Justin Wilson closed folded the Cards with two innings of hitless ball.

The win put the Pirates 1/2 game up on the Cardinals with their second straight win over the redbirds after dropping the series opener in St. Louis with a 9-1 beating.

The division remains the most contentious in the majors. Following the Cardinals are Cincinnati, 1 1/2 back and Milwaukee, a mere two games behind the Pirates.

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