Sunday, May 26, 2013

Josh Donaldson's 4-for-4 Lifts A's over Astros; Mike Minor blanks Mets, Homers as Atlanta Rolls to 8th Straight

Players of the Day for Saturday, May 25, 2013

American League

Maybe this season wasn't exactly the right time for the Houston Astros to switch from the National to the American League. Their few successes have been mere footnotes in an 18-35 start to the season. They trail the Rangers by 18 games in the West division.

Donaldson: HR, 4-4
On Saturday, they dropped their second straight, at home, to Oakland, as the A's battered five Houston pitchers for 18 hits in an 11-5 beat-down.

The A's got off early, scoring six runs in the second inning and four more in the fourth. Pacing Oakland was third baseman, Josh Donaldson, who clubbed his eighth homer of the season in the midst of a 4-for-4 game, adding two singles and a double.

Donaldson scored two of Oakland's runs and drove in a pair, raising his batting average to .322, 10th in the league.

The A's have been the only team in the division to somewhat keep pace with the red-hot Rangers, who have the best record in the majors, at 32-17. Oakland is 5 1/2 back.

Oakland will be seeking a sweep of Houston on Sunday, at 2:10 pm EDT.

National League

Mike Minor
With Mike Minor on the mound, the Braves didn't need much offense to take their second straight from the Mets and eighth in a row, overall.

Minor shut out the Mets on three hits over 7 1/3 innings and broke open a scoreless tie in the fifth with a two-run homer, his first of the season, helping the Braves roll to a 6-0 win.

Minor, 6-2, struck out 10 and walked three, throwing 113 pitches before turning the ball over to the bullpen.

In his fourth year with the Braves, Minor is having his best season, posting a 2.34 ERA and an 0.93 WHIP with 61 strikeouts, having fanned 19 in his last 13 1/3 innings.

The Braves lead the NL East by 5 1/2 over the Nationals, with Philadelphia another game back. The Mets have fallen eight games off the pace and will try to avoid being swept on Sunday, when they conclude their series with the Braves, at 8:00 pm EDT at Citi Field.

STREAKERS: Besides the Braves' eight-game winning streak, other teams have also been on tears. The Angels have won seven straight, but still trail Texas in the AL West by 10 games. In the same division, Seattle has lost eight straight and dropped into fourth place, 12 out. The Cubs are challenging Miami - losers of four in a row - for the worst record in the NL. Chicago has dropped their last six.

Today's Trivia: Who was the last American Leaguer to win the MVP Award in consecutive seasons?

Yesterday's Answer: Starlin Castro, of the Cubs was the only NL player to appear in all 162 games in 2012.

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