Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Rays Just 4 Back in Al East as Desmond Jennings Delivers in Ninth; Hyun-Jin Ryu Throws Two-Hit Shutout in 3-0 Dodger Win

Players of the Day for Tuesday, May 28, 2013

American League

Tampa Bay has joined the fray in the AL East.

While the Red Sox, Yankees and Orioles were all losing Tuesday night, the Rays won their third straight and second in a row over the Marlins, leaving them four games behind division-leading Boston. With the Yankees a game out and Baltimore 3 1/2 back, it's turned into a true, four-team race.

Desmond Jennings
Tampa's decision was not a foregone conclusion, despite 17 hits against a parade of five Marlin hurlers. The game-winner eventually came with two down in the bottom of the ninth inning, when Desmond Jennings collected his third hit of the night, driving in Kelly Johnson for the 7-6 final.

Jennings finished 3-for-4 with a double and the lone RBI, but had earlier scored twice as the Rays battled back from 4-0 and 5-3 deficits to eventually tie the game in the sixth and again in the eighth before putting it away.

It was a rough night for the American League, which won only three of 13 games played between the leagues.

The interleague match-up shifts to Miami for two games, starting Wednesday night at 7:10 pm EDT.

National League

Ryu: 2-hit shutout
The LA Dodgers continue to wallow in the basement of the NL West, but they are just seven games out after 26-year-old rookie hurler, Hyun-Jin Ryu, threw a two-hit shutout and blanked the Angels, 3-0.

Ryu threw 79 of 113 pitches for strikes, struck out seven and didn't walk any batters, allowing just a second inning single to Howie kendrick and an eighth inning, two out double to Angels' catcher, Chris Ianetta. In between, the feisty lefty set down 19 batters in a row, improving to 6-2 on the season.

The big blow for the Dodgers came in the fifth inning, when Luis Cruz socked a two-run homer to left - his first of the year - bringing home Jose Uribe for a 2-0 lead and some breathing room for Ryu.

The win was the second straight for the Dodgers, both against the Angels, who saw their eight-game winning streak ended Monday at Dodger Stadium. The Dodgers are just 1/2 game behind San Diego, while the Angels have clambered into third place in the AL West, but still trail the Rangers by nine games.

Ryu is making a strong bid for rookie of the year, with a 2.89 ERA and 66 Ks in 71 2/3 innings.

Shifting to Anaheim for the next two games, the Dodgers and Angels face off at 10:05 EDT Wednesday night.

Today's Trivia: In the 1970s, the Reds won the NL pennant four times, the Dodgers, three, and the Pirates, twice. Which team was the only other to capture the NL flag in the decade?

Yesterday's Answer: Ivan Rodriguez was the last catcher to capture the AL MVP award when he batted .332 with 35 home runs and 113 RBI for the Texas Rangers in 1999.

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