Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Kelly Johnson Homers Twice as Rays Sting Marlins; Cubs' Jeff Samardzija Blanks White Sox on Two Hits

Players of the Day for Monday, May 27, 2013

American League

Johnson: 2HR, 6RBI
Memorial Day kicked off interleague play between regional "rivals," so it was Miami visiting Tampa Bay for the first of two games before the teams head South for two games in the national League city starting Wednesday.

The Rays, desperately chasing Boston, New York and Baltimore in the AL East, took full advantage of their meeting with the sub-par Marlins, topping Miami, 10-6.

While the Marlins actually out-hit the Rays, 11-10, they didn't have Tampa's Kelly Johnson, who had the Rays' only extra-base hits, going 4-for-5 with a double, two home runs and six RBI.

In the second inning, Johnson completed a six-run attack with his first homer of the day, a three run shot to right. Johnson also completed the scoring for the Rays in the eighth with another three-run homer. In between, came a single, double and, for good measure, Johnson's fifth stolen base of the season.

Johnson's been a pleasant surprise for the Rays, with a .298 average, 10 home runs and 32 RBI.

The win left the Rays five games out in the division, nestled snugly into fourth place, but with eyes on moving up as their four straight games against Miami should result in an extended winning streak.

National League

Samardzija: 2-Hitter
The start of Chicago's crosstown rivalry series between the Cubs and White Sox produced a lopsided victory for the visitors as Jeff Samardzija tossed a two-hit shutout for the Cubs in a 7-0 romp.

Samardzija fanned eight and walked two in his first major league complete game, limiting the White Sox to a pair of singles - one in the second inning and one in the ninth. The lanky, 6'5" right-hander was in control throughout, needing just 108 pitches over the nine frames.

The former All-American wide receiver from Notre Dame moved from the bullpen to the starting rotation last season, when he posted a 9-13 mark. Despite his unimpressive 3-6 record this year, Samardzija's other numbers are pretty solid: a 2.85 ERA and 80 Ks in 72 2/3 innings. Opposing hitters are batting just .196 against him.

The win moved the Cubs out of last place in the NL Central, 1/2 game ahead of Milwaukee, losers of three straight. The Cubs still are 13 games behind the Cardinals in the division, but Samardzija gives the Wrigley Field faithful hope that they have a #1 starter for the long haul.

The White Sox fell five games out in the AL Central. The series continues Tuesday at 8:10 pm EDT.

Today's Trvia: Who was the last catcher to win the AL MVP award? Hint: it was 1999.

Yesterday's Answer: Greg Maddux won the NL Cy Young Award four straight years, from 1992-1995 as a starter for the Atlanta Braves; Randy Johnson took home the award each year from 1999-2002 when he was with the Arizona Diammondbacks.

No comments: