Thursday, May 2, 2013

Mike Napoli, Clay Buchholz Throttle Blue Jays in 10-1 Win; Jordan Zimmermann Blanks Braves on Two Hits

Players of the Day for Wednesday, May 1, 2013

American League

Mike Napoli
When the season opened, a lot of people were hyping the Toronto Blue Jays as the new power team in the AL East, but, the pundits and prognosticators may have been sleeping on the Red Sox. With a versatile lineup and a capable pitching staff, Boston has risen to the top of the heap in the division, with a two-game lead over the Yankees, while the Blue Jays have fallen to the bottom, 9 1/2 games back after Boston throttled them, 10-1, to even their three-game series at a game apiece.

Clay Buchholz
The addition of slugging catcher/DH/first baseman, Mike Napoli, has been a godsend for the Sox. Napoli was 3-for-4 with a double, a pair of homers, four RBI and three runs in the Boston victory. Napoli's homers - his fifth and sixth of the season - were of the epic variety, at 467 and 472 feet, fueling the Boston offense in the rout. His four ribbies gave him the major league lead, at 31, two better than Detroit's Miguel Cabrera.

While the regulars in the lineup were racking up 15 hits off the Toronto staff, Boston starter, Clay Buchholz becamse the first pitcher in the majors to win six games (6-0), holding the Blue Jays to two hits over seven full innings of scoreless ball, walking three and striking out eight.

The 19-8 Red Sox hold the best record in either league. Their series at Toronto finishes up on Thursday, at 7:07 pm EDT.

National League

Jordan Zimmermann
In the first two games of their four-game home series against the Washington Nationals, the Braves came away winners both times, but the Nats turned the tables on them Wednesday night in a game which produced only five hits between the two teams.

Atlanta's Paul Maholm and Washington starter Jordan Zimmermann were locked in early on, but a two run homer by Ian Desmond in the fourth inning produced the only runs of the game, as Zimmermann held the Braves to two hits over eight innings, getting his fifth win against one loss, tying him for the NL lead in victories with St. Louis' Lance Lynn, a 4-2 winner over Cincinnati.

Zimmermann gave up a two-out single to Justin Upton in the first and a one-out double to Maholm in the third. After that it was lights out for the Braves, as Zimmermann set down the next 17 straight, striking out the side in the fifth. He finished with a season high eight Ks and did not issue any walks in the 2-0 victory.

The eight scoreless innings dropped Zimmermann's ERA to 1.64, fourth in the NL.

Rafael Soriano set the Braves down in order in the ninth for his eighth save.

The Nationals will try to even the score in the series and close the 3 1/2 game gap in the standings with the Braves in the series finale, Thursday night at 7:10 pm EDT.

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