Sunday, June 30, 2013

Chris Davis' Two Homers Powers Orioles over Yankees; Matt Adams, Adam Wainwright Lead Cardinals past A's, 7-1

Players of the Day for Saturday, June 29, 2013

American League

Chris Davis
In their 11-3 rout of the visiting New York Yankees, the Baltimore Orioles hammered out 15 hits, nine of them against start David Phelps, who gave up nine earned runs in 2 1/3 innings on the mound.

Chris Davis had but two of those hits, but they were both home runs: a three-run bomb in the first inning and a two-run jolt in the sixth. Those gave Davis 30 on the year, well ahead of his closest pursuer, which just happens to be last season's triple crown and MVP award winner, Detroit's Miguel Cabrera, who has 24.

Davis also closed the gap in RBI, where Cabrera leads, 81-79. The two power-pushers are also 1-2 in batting, though Cabrera's lead is substantial, at .375, to Davis' .333.

The victory was Baltimore's second straight over the Yankees at Camden Yard and helped close the gap on first place Boston, the AL East leader by 2 1/2 games over the O's. New York fell to 5 1/2 back in third place.

The series concludes at 8:00 pm EDT on Sunday, the game nationally-televised by ESPN.

National League

Matt Adams
Rookie first baseman, Matt Adams, struck a pair of homers and drove in four runs in support of Adam Wainwright's five-hit complete game pitching as the Cardinals tamed the Oakland A's, 7-1.

Adams belted a three-run shot in the sixth inning, upping St. Louis' lead from 3-0 to 6-0, then added a solo job in the eighth for the Cardinals' last run. Adams also scored the first St. louis run of the game when he scooted home of David Descalso's sac fly in the fifth.

Wainwright: 11-5
Oakland didn't score off Wainwright (11-5) until the eighth inning. Rebounding from two straight losses, Wainwright walked two and struck out eight for his fourth complete game of the season, tops in the National League. Wainwright also lowered his ERA to 2.22, tied for fourth in the league with Arizona's Patrick Corbin.

The win kept St. Louis a game behind the Central division-leading Pirates, 2-1 winners over Milwaukee on Saturday.

The Cards and A's will settle their differences in the rubber game of the three-game series, Sunday at 1:05 pm PDT in Oakland.

Today's Trivia: The longest winning streak by a major league pitcher is 24, spanning two seasons. Who accomplished this amazing feat? (answer tomorrow)

Yesterday's Answer: The record of 16 straight wins in a season by an AL pitcher is a four way tie between Smokey Joe Wood of Boston, and Walter Johnson of Washington AL, both in 1912, Lefty Grove of Philadelphia in 1931, and Schoolboy Rowe of the Tigers in 1934.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Jason Kipnis Powers Indians to Doubleheader Win over White Sox; Michael Young, Delmon Young Lead Phillies' 16-1 Rout of Dodgers

Players of the Day for Friday, June 28, 2013

American League

With a doubleheader on Friday, the Cleveland Indians and Chicago White Sox played seven hours and 53 minutes of baseball, churned out 59 hits and 46 runs, and two wins by the visiting Indians, 19-10 and 9-8.

Jason Kipnis
Cleveland's Jason Kipnis had a big day at the plate, going 3-for-5 with three doubles, two RBI and four runs in the opener, then going 1-for-3 in the nightcap, driving in Cleveland's first run and the tying run in the ninth on a sac fly as the Indians scored four times, rallying to take both games.

In the opener, the Indians totaled 21 hits, each starter getting at least two, except for right fielder Mark Reynolds, who singled in four at-bats. Other than Asdrubel Cabrera, all nine starters had at least one RBI; all nine scored at least once.

With the pair of wins, the Indians picked up 1/2 game on Detroit and trail the Tigers by just two games in the Central division. The White Sox fell deeper into last place, 10 1/2 off the pace.

The two teams will resume hostilities on Saturday. Game time is 4:100 pm EDT.

NOTABLE: Detroit's Max Scherzer won his 12th straight decision to open the season, the first time any pitcher has done that in 27 years, as he gave up three runs on four hits over seven innings, fanning nine in Detroit's 6-3 win over Tampa Bay. Roger Clemens started 14-0 for the Red Sox in 1986. Miguel Cabrera went 4-for-4 with a pair of homers and three RBI.

Scherzer is 12-0 with a 3.10 ERA. In 110 1/3 innings, he's struck out 131 batters, second most in the AL, behind Texas' Yu Darvish.

National League

Delmon Young
Michael Young
After dropping the opener of their four-game series in LA, 6-4, the Phillies came back with a vengeance in the second game, hammering out 21 hits to bury the Dodgers, 16-1.

LA starter Chris Capuano (2-5) to the brunt of the beating, allowing seven runs (five earned) on 10 hits in just 3 2/2 innings. All of the Philly starters got at least one hit, including starting pitcher John Lannan, who was 3-for-4 with an RBI. Lannan (1-2) worked seven innings, allowing one earned run on five hits for the win.

Michael Young, batting out of the leadoff spot, stroked four singles in six at-bats, driving in a pair of runs and scoring four times. Delmon Young was 3-for-6 with six RBI, driving in runs in the first, second, sixth and seventh innings.

The win kept the Phillies on pace in the NL East, as both Atlanta and Washington were victorious on Friday. The Braves lead the nationals by 5 1/2, and the Phillies by 7 1/2. Despite the loss, LA is just six games back in the NL West, though they are still in last place in the division.

Game three of the series starts at 7:10 pm PDT on Saturday.

Today's Trivia: What pitcher holds the AL record for most consecutive wins in a single season? (answer tomorrow)

Yesterday's Answer: No Cleveland player has won the AL MVP award since Al Rosen in 1953.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Derek Holland Blanks Yanks on Two Hits in 2-0 Texas Win; Chase Utley's 3-for-5 Effort Wasted as Phillies Fall to Dodgers, 6-4

Players of the Day for Thursday, June 27, 2013

American League

The Texas Rangers finished up their three-game road series with a 2-0 victory over the Yankees on a two-hit shutout by starter Derek Holland (6-4).

Holland: 2-Hit Shutout
Ichiro Suzuki started the Yankees off with a leadoff single in the first, but was erased by a double play that ended the inning. After that, Holland allowed just one more hit - to Austin Romine, with two down in the third inning.

Issuing leadoff walks in both the fourth and seventh innings, Holland twice retired nine straight, as the Yankees could not get good wood on any of the lefty slinger's 92 pitches, 63 of which went for strikes. Holland fanned seven, including Vernon Wells three times.

The win was the second straight for the Rangers and completed a two games to one series win. It was Holland's first win since May 31 and his first shutout and complete game of the season.

Texas took a 1/2 game lead over the idle A's in the AL West, while the Yanks dropped into third place, 4 1/2 games off the pace being set by Boston in the AL East.

Weather permitting, the Yankees open a three-game series in Baltimore Friday night at 7:05 pm EDT, while the Rangers head home to host the Reds for three, the first game Friday at 8:05 pm EDT.

National League

Chase Utley
Philadelphia collected 14 hits, but could only push across four runs against Zack Greinke and three Dodger relievers while the more-efficient hosts scored six runs on seven hits for a 6-4 LA win.

Chase Utley singled, doubled and homered in five at-bats, drove in two runs and scored one, but his efforts were for naught as the Phillies stranded seven had a runner picked off first base, another thrown out attempting to steal second and grounded into three double plays.

Greinke gave up 12 hits over seven innings but still was good enough to pick up his fifth win against two losses.

The Dodgers have won six straight but are still in the NL West cellar, though they are just six games off the pace being set by Arizona, the only team in the division with a winning record.

Philly dropped 7 1/2 behind Atlanta in the East, and trail second place Washington by two games.

The game was the first of a four-game series in LA. Game two is set for 7:10 pm PDT on Friday.

Today's Trivia: When was the last time a Cleveland player won the AL MVP award and who was it? (answer tomorrow)

Yesterday's Answer: George Bell is the only Toronto Blue Jay to ever win an MVP award. His came in 1987.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

A.J. Griffin, R.A. Dickey Toss 2-Hitters for A's, Blue Jays; Neil Walker Homer Helps Pirates Tie Cardinals for NL Central Lead

Players of the Day for Wednesday, June 26, 2013

American League

R.A. Dickey
Toronto's R.A. Dickey and Oakland's A.J. Griffin matched each other Wednesday afternoon, each throwing two-hit shutouts for their respective wins.

A. J. Griffin
In Tampa, Dickey (7-8) used a fluttering knuckleball to baffle would-be Rays hitters, walking one and striking out six in a 3-0 whitewash, Toronto's 12th win in their last 14 outings.

Putting away the first 13 batters he faced, Dickey surrendered a one-out single to James Loney in the fifth, but snuffed him out on a force play. In the sixth, Yunel Escobar singled and was doubled up to end the inning. Desmond Jennings led of the seventh with a walk and stole second (the only Ray to advance past first base) but that was all, as Dickey set down the final nine batters in order.

Toronto avoided being swept in the three-game series with the win.

While Dickey was blanking the Rays, A. J. Griffin was doing the same to the Reds, striking out seven and walking two for a two-hit, 5-0, shutout, the first of his short career.

Walking two of the first three batters he faced, Griffin was off to a rocky start, but settled in, giving up hits in the fifth and seventh, and getting the final seven outs in order, evening his record at 6-6.

Griffin threw 73 of 108 pitches for strikes and fanned Reds' right fielder, Jay Bruce, four times.

The win kept the A's tied with Texas for first place in the AL West.

National League

Neil Walker
Pittsburgh won its sixth straight with a 4-2 win at Seattle, catching the St. Louis Cardinals for first place in the NL Central in the process.

The Bucs improved to 48-30 on the season, tying St. Louis with the best record n the majors, atop the division. Pittsburgh has not been this many games over .500 since 1992, their last winning season.

To get to where they are, the Pirates had to overthrow a king, that being "King" Felix Hernandez, the ace of the Seattle staff and the 2011 AL Cy Young Award recipient, who fanned 11 over seven inning and did not figure in the decision. Neil Walker's fourth-inning, two-run homer gave the Pirates the lead, but Seattle scored single runs in the bottom of the fourth and seventh to tie the game at 2-all. Pittsburgh rallied for a pair of runs in the ninth off Seattle relievers, the final run coming on a wild pitch by Yoervis Medina.

Walker added a single to go 2-for-4 with two RBI.

Pittsburgh took both games in Seattle, finishing off their nine-game road trip with a 7-2 mark. After a day off Thursday, they open a home stand with three games against the last place Milwaukee Brewers.

Today's Trivia: Only once has a player from the Toronto Blue Jays won the AL MVP award. Who was it and in what year did he win it? (answer tomorrow)

Yesterday's Answer: Pete Rose took home his only NL MVP Award in 1973.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Allen Craig Powers Cardinals Past Houston, 13-5; Dustin Pedroia Keeps Boston in AL East Lead with 4 RBI

Players of the Day for Tuesday, June 25, 2013

American League

Dustin Pedroia
While the race in the AL East remains a tight one, one constant has been that the Red Sox stand atop the rest. Since taking over the top spot in May, that's where Boston has remained, despite pressure from the other four teams in the division.

Much of the success of this year's Boston team stems from their outstanding hitting throughout the lineup, as evidenced Tuesday, when they amassed 20 hits in an 11-4 hammering of the visiting Rockies.

Dustin Pedroia knocked in four runs and scored twice, going 3-for-5 with a double and two singles, leading the Boston attack.

Pedroia, who stands just 5'8", is one of the toughest outs in either league, batting .316 (9th in AL) with five homers and 44 RBI.

Boston's win was their first in a two game series with the Rockies, who are themselves in the heat of a pennant race in the NL West, but have recently taken it on the chin, losing six of their last eight. Despite that poor recent record, they remained tied for second in the division with San Diego, both three games behind Arizona. The Giants are 3 1/2 out.

The Red Sox, Yankees, O's and Rays were all winners on Tuesday, keeping the standings intact. Boston leads New York and baltimore by 2 1/2, the Rays are 4 1/2 out and Toronto is just 6 1/2 back, despite being in last place.

The series concludes Wednesday at Fenway with a 4:05 pm EDT start time.

National League

Allen Craig
Leading the NL Central Division by a game over the Pirates - who've won five in a row - the St. Louis Cardinals are probably the most balanced team in the National League. They lead the league in batting, with a .276 average, runs (385) and RBI, with 367. Four of their regulars are batting over .300, led by Yadier Molina, who leads the league at .355.

Their starting pitching has the lowest ERA in the league, but they have mound competition from Atlanta - which has the lowest total ERA in the league, at 3.21 - and Pittsburgh, whose starters have thrown 12 shutouts already this year and whose staff has allowed a league low batting average of just .226 to opponents.

Still, the Cardinals have managed to stay clear of their pursuers - primarily Pittsburgh and Cincinnati (3 1/2 games out) - with the best record in baseball, getting to 48-29 by virtue of Tuesday's 13-5 pounding of Houston, the first of a two-game series against the former NL Central Astros, now making their home in the basement of the AL West.

Allen Craig spearheaded the 15-hit St. Louis batting parade, going 4-for-5 with a two-run homer and three singles, totaling three RBI and scoring twice.

Along with Molina, Craig. at .321, is one of the four Cardinals batting over .300. Matt Carpenter is hitting .318 and Carlos Beltran checks in at .307.

The Cards will look to sweep the Astros and keep their lock on first place when they play ball at 8:05 pm EDT in Houston.

Today's Triva: Pete Rose was the NL Rookie of the Year in 1963. In what year did he win his only MVP award? (answer tomorrow)

Yesterday's Answer: "Shoeless" Joe Jackson hit .408 as a rookie in 1911, but did not win the batting title, as Detroit's Ty Cobb hit .420.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Michael Brantley's 4 RBI Drive Indians Past Orioles, 5-2; Dodgers Down Giants, 3-1, on Yasiel Puig's 2 RBI

Players of the Day for Monday, June 24, 2013

American League

Michael Brantley
In one of just two AL games played Monday, the Cleveland Indians got four RBI from Michael Brantley, sending the Orioles to their fourth straight loss, as the Tribe won the opener of a four-game series at Camden Yards, 5-2.

Down, 2-1 in the sixth, Brantley put the Indians in front with a two-run single and then padded the lead with a two-run homer in the eighth. Ubaldo Jiminez (6-4) took the win, allowing eight Oriole hits and two runs over 5 1/3 innings. Cleveland used a parade of four relievers over the final 3 2/3 innings to hold down Batlimore bats.

Brantley's homer was his fifth of the season and helped the second-place Indians pick up 1/2 game on the idle Tigers, who lead the AL Central by 3 1/2 games. Baltimore fell into a tie for second with the Yankees in the AL East, 2 1/2 games behind Boston.

The series resumes Tuesday at 7:05 pm EDT.

National League

Yasiel Puig
The classic West coast rivalry opened for a three game series in Los Angeles, where the Dodgers took a 3-1 decision over the invading Giants.

As has been the case for much of the last month, Yasiel Puig - who appears headed for the NL rookie of the year award - was the difference-maker, going 3-for-4 with a first-inning homer and two RBI, enough to support the one-run pitching of Hyun-Jin Ryu, who allowed eight hits and walked four over 6 2/3 innings, but received no decision.

Puig's single in the eighth inning drove in Nick Punto, breaking a 1-1 tie. Hanley Ramirez knocked in Mark Ellis with an insurance run later in the frame.

Puig, who began his major league career on June 2, played in his 20th game. He has hit safely in 17, going 34-for-77 (.447) with seven home runs, 14 RBI and 12 multiple-hit games.

Even with Puig and the recently-returned Ramirez, the Dodgers remain stuck in last place in the NL West. Monday's victory left them eight games off the pace being set by the Arizona Diamondbacks. San Francisco dropped into fourth-place in the division 3 1/2 off the lead, with the Padres and Rockies a half game ahead of them.

The second of the three-game set begins Tuesday at 7:10 pm PDT.

Today's Trivia: What was the highest batting average ever recorded by a rookie?

Yesterday's Answer: Sandy Koufax won the Cy Young Award in 1963, 1965 and 1966.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Blue Jays Win 11th Straight, Edwin Encarnacion Leads 13-5 Rout of Orioles; Anthony Rizzo, Ryan Sweeney Pace 14-6 Cubs Win

Players of the Day for Sunday, June 23, 2013

American League

Edwin Encarnacion
Toronto completed their three-game sweep of the visiting Orioles and won their 11th straight - the longest winning streak in the majors this season - with a 13-5 blowout, roughing up Baltimore starter, Freddie Garcia, for seven runs on seven hits in 2 1/3 innings.

Edwin Encarnacion had another fantastic game, going 3-for-5 with a single, double, home run, three runs and four RBI. Those totals move him into second place in the AL home run category (21) and third in RBI, with 63. Encarnacion has gone 12-for-36 (.333) over his last ten games, with three homrs, 10 runs and 10 RBI.

Combined with Boston's 7-5 loss to the Tigers, Toronto is now just five games off the pace in the AL East, tied with Tampa Bay. The Yankees are 2 1/2 back, with Baltimore in second place, two down to the Red Sox.

The Blue Jays have shaved seven games off Boston's lead during their winning streak, remarkable in that they were left for dead less than two weeks ago, but suddenly are right back in the mix, even though the calendar says there's more than three months of baseball left to play.

Having tied the franchise record, the Blue Jays will look to break it when they seek win #12 in a row, Monday night at Tampa Bay, where they open a three-game series with the Rays, starting at 7:10 pm EDT. The Jays close out the month with four games at Boston before returning home to host the Tigers for three.

National League

Ryan Sweeney
The Chicago Cubs took advantage of some very suspect Houston hurlers en route to a 14-6 rout of the Astros, taking the three-game series at Wrigley Field, two games to one.

Anthony Rizzo
Ryan Sweeney and Anthony Rizzo accounted for six of the Cubs' 16 hits and between them drove in 10 runs. Sweeney was 3-for-5 with two doubles and a home run, scoring twice while driving in a season-high six. Rizzo went 3-for-3 - two singles and a homer - scored four times and drove in four runs.

The win got the Cubs into a tie for last place in the NL Central with the Brewers, 7-4 losers to Atlanta. Houston, likewise in last place, though in the AL West, has the AL's worst record, at 29-48.

NOTABLE: David Wright could have hit for the cycle in Sunday's 8-0 win over the Phillies, if he had just stopped at first on one of his two doubles - one each in the fourth and fifth innings. Of course, Wright had no reason to believe that he'd triple in the seventh inning and sock a solo homer in the top of the ninth. The hard-hitting third baseman finished the day 4-for-5 with two runs, two RBI and 11 total bases.

Today's Trivia: From 1956 to 1966, the Cy Young Award went to the best pitcher in the majors, not the individual leagues. During those years, who won the award three times? (answer tomorrow)

Yesterday's Answer: With the Expos in 1997, Pedro Martinez won the Cy Young Award before winning back-to-back AL Cy Young's with Boston in 1999 and 2000.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Victor Martinez Grand Slam Leads Tigers over Red Sox; Ryan Howard Powers Phillies to 8-7 Win over Mets

Players of the Day for Saturday, June 22, 2013

American League

By virtue of having Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder in the middle of its lineup, Detroit lays claim to run-producing potency. If Victor Martinez gets into a groove, the rest of the league had better beware, because the Tiger offense will be a juggernaut, nearly impossible to contain for nine full innings.

Martinez: GS, 5RBI
That's what Boston found out the hard way on Saturday, as the Tigers loaded the bases with one out in the first inning for Martinez, who victimized starter, Allen Webster (0-2), with a grand slam homer, erasing a 2-0 Boston lead.

Detroit never trailed after that, piling on the runs in a 10-3 rout. Martinez added a double, going two for three on the day with five RBI. When he wasn't lashing balls to the outfield and beyond, Martinez was able to work out a couple of walks and scored three times.

A career .299 hitter with power to spare, Martinez has not fared well in 2013, batting just .231 and the home run and RBI totals are down, though his outburst against the AL East leaders shows that, at age 34, there's still plenty of pop in his bat.

Detroit's win kept them three games in front of Cleveland - winners of four straight - in the AL Central, while the Red Sox maintained their two-game edge over Baltimore in the East. The O's fell again to the red-hot Blue Jays, who have strung together ten straight wins and climbed out of last place, percentage points better than Tampa Bay, and are now just six games back.

Boston and Detroit conclude their four-game series on Sunday, the home-standing Tigers taking a 2-1 series lead into the 1:08 pm EDT finale.

National League

Howard: 2HR, 4RBI
Pinch-hitter Kevin Frandsen led off the bottom of the ninth with a solo, walk-off home run, as the Phillies downed the Mets, 8-7, at Citizens bank Park in Philadelphia, evening their three-games series at one win apiece.

Ryan Howard led the Philly assault, socking two solo homers and a two-run double to drive in four runs as the Phillies built a 7-1 lead, that the bullpen completely squandered.

The Mets scored four times in the seventh inning and twice in the top of the ninth to tie the game. The sixth Philadelphia pitcher, Jonathan Papelbon, gave up the two ninth inning runs (one earned), but was bailed out by Frandsen's homer in the bottom of the frame. The Mets also used six hurlers.

For the Phillies, an important win, as the division-leading Braves dropped their third straight and second-place Washington, fell to Colorado, 7-1, leaving the Nats five games backs and the Phillies 6 1/2 off the pace. The Mets are 11 1/2 off the lead.

Game three of the series commences at 1:35 pm EDT Sunday afternoon.

Today's Trivia: Who was the only player to ever win either a Cy Young or MVP award for the Montreal Expos? (answer tomorrow)

Yesterday's Answer: Willie Mays won two MVP Awards (1954, 1965), while Hank Aaron won just once, in 1957.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Paul Goldschmidt, Jason Kubel Power Arizona Past Reds, 11-5; Red Sox Down Tigers on 4-for-5, 5 RBI Output from Shane Victorino

Players of the Day for Friday, June 21, 2013

American League

Expanding their lead to two games over the Orioles in the AL East, the Boston Red Sox evened their series with the visiting Tigers with a 10-6 victory Friday night.

Victorino: 5 RBI
Recently returned from a stint on the DL, Shane Victorino went 4-for-5, getting things started with a solo homer in the first inning off Tiger starter, Doug Fister, followed by three one-base raps which kept the merry-go-round of Red Sox runners on the base paths going.

Victorino singled home two in the fourth, another in the sixth and grounded into a fielder's choice to tally his fifth RBI of the game in the eighth inning. Miguel Cabrera went 4-for-4 and smashed his 20th homer of the season - a three-run belt - in the fifth, to draw the Tigers within a run at 6-5, but Victorino and the Sox just kept hitting and scoring, knocking out 17 hits off five Tiger hurlers.

With the Orioles losing to Toronto, 7-6, on Rajai Davis' RBI single in the bottom of the ninth, the Red Sox may soon have to concern themselves with the Blue Jays, who are still in last place, but have pulled themselves to the .500 mark with nine straight wins and are just seven games back.

The O's and Blue Jays play a 1:07 pm EDT day game at the Rogers Centre. The Red Sox continue their series with the Tigers at 7:15 pm EDT on Saturday.

National League

Paul Goldschmidt
Arizona got all over Cincinnati starter, Johnny Cueto, knocking him out in just 4 1/3 innings on 11 hits and seven earned runs, en route to an 11-5 win in the the opener of a weekend series at Chase Field in Phoenix.
Jason Kubel

Paul Goldschmidt tied Philly's omonic Brown for second place in NL home runs with his 18th and 19th of the season and drove in three runs, going 3-for-5. Goldschmidt, the NL leader in RBI, upped his total to 65.

Jason Kubel added to the 15-hit Arizona assault, banging out a double and three singles in five at-bats, scoring three runs and driving in one.

The win kept the Diamondbacks in first place in the NL West, 2 1/2 clear of San Diego, winners of eight of their last ten. The Reds dropped into third place, 1/2 game behind the Pirates, who trail the Cardinals by three games in the Central division.

Cincinnati will try to even the series when the two teams take the field at 4:15 pm PDT, Saturday.

Today's Trivia: Who won more MVP awards, Willie Mays or Hank Aaron? (answer tomorrow)

Yesterday's Answer: Hall of Famer Wade Boggs won the AL batting title five times. In 1983 he hit .361, followed by four straight titles from 1985 to 1988, in which he hit .368, .357, .363 and .366, respectively.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Jordan Zimmermann Wins 10th as Nats Drop Rockies; Kyle Seager's Big Night Spoiled as Angels Tip Mariners, 10-9

Players of the Day for Thursday, June 20, 2013

American League

Kyle Seager
Kyle Seager may have had his best game as a major leaguer, but it went for naught as the Angels scored twice in the bottom of the eighth inning to overtake the Mariners, 10-9, and finish off their four-game series in Anahiem, winning three games to one.

Seager, a third-year pro out of Charlotte, NC, socked a home run, two doubles and a single in five at-bats, drove in three runs and scored three times, but Seattle pitchers could not take advantage of his effort, giving up 17 hits to the relentless Angels, who evened their home record at 20 wins and 20 losses.

Having a solid season as the regular third baseman, Seager has nine homers and 33 RBI to go with a .287 batting average.

The loss dropped the Mariners 10 1/2 back of the A's, who lead the AL West by a game over the Rangers. The Angels are nine out, with hopes of catching the two front-runners as the season wears on.

National League

Jordan Zimmermann
Jordan Zimmermann came up big, and the Nationals got some much-needed help in the standings from the Mets, as Washington dropped Colorado, 6-1, and the Braves lost for the third time in five games to the Mets, 4-3.

Tying Cardinal hurlers Lance Lynn and Adam Wainright for the league lead with his 10th win, Zimmermann blanked the Rockies - losers of four straight - through seven innings, giving up an unearned run in the eighth. Rafael Soriano pitched a perfect ninth in relief.

Zimmermann gave up six hits, fanned nine and allowed just one walk. The Washington hurler lowered his ERA to 2.26, fifth-best in the NL. He's stuck out 76 and walked just 15 batters in 107 2/3 innings, a K-BB ratio of better than 5-1.

David Wright belted a pair of homers to lead the Mets, helping the Nats pull to within six games of the runaway Braves in the NL East.

Colorado fell three off the pace set by Arizona in the NL West. They lost three straight in Toronto and will try to get back on track Friday in game two of the four-game series in Washington, Friday, at 7:05 pm EDT.

Today's Trivia: Who won his first AL batting title in 1983, and then won four straight from 1985-1988? (answer tomorrow)

Yesterday's Answer: The Designated Hitter rule was first used in the American League in 1973.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Chris Davis, Orioles Bash Tigers, 13-3; Hanley Ramirez Goes 6-for-8 as Dodgers Split Double-Dip vs. Yankees

Players of the Day for Wednesday, June 19, 2013

American League

Baltimore took two of three from the Tigers - in Detroit - with a 13-3 mashing of the AL champions Wednesday night with a 17-hit assault that left the Tigers a bit beaten and bruised, but still in first place in the Central division, 3 1/2 games up on the Cleveland Indians.

Chris Davis
The Orioles moved closer to the top of the AL East, now trailing Boston by 1 1/2 games, after the Red Sox dropped a 6-2 decision to visiting Tampa Bay. Tighter than ever, the five teams in the AL East are now separated by just 7 1/2 games, as the Blue Jays won their eighth straight and are only a game under .500, at 34-35.

Every starter in the Baltimore lineup had at least one hit in the Detroit rout, six players coming up with two or more. Chris Davis, quickly becoming regarded as one of the most-feared power hitters in the game, went 3-for-5, with a pair of homers - his MLB-leading 25th and 26th - and a double, driving in five runs to up his total to 66, just five behind Miguel Cabrera, who was 2-for-4 for Detroit, but didn't drive home any runs.

Baltimore gets a day off Thursday before heading to Toronto to see if they can cool down the Blue Jays in a three-game series which starts Friday at the Rogers Center. The Tigers remain home to host the Red Sox in a four game series, starting Thursday night at 7:08 pm EDT.

National League

Hanley Ramirez
The Dodgers and Yankees were rained out on Wednesday, resulting in a Thursday double-dip at Yankee Stadium, which apparently was just fine with Dodger shortstop Hanley Ramirez.

Although the teams split the two-game series, the Yankees winning the first game, 6-4, with the Dodgers coming back for a 6-0 triumph in the second game, Ramirez stole the slow by going 6-for-8 over the course of the double-header.

Ramirez, who started the year out on the DL, has played in just 15 games this season. He was 4-for-4 in the day game, belting his second home run to go with a double and two singles and two RBI. In the nightcap, he was 2-for-4 with another two RBI, as the Dodgers rode the arm of Chris Capuano, another Dodger just off the DL, who blanked the Yankees on three hits over six innings.

The Dodgers will surely benefit with some of their regulars now getting healthy, as they continue to languish in last place in the NL West, though they are only eight games back.

New York, another team missing various stars to injury, picked up 1/2 game on the Red Sox and remain in third place in the AL East, 3 1/2 games back. The win in the opener was just their second in their last eight games.

Today's Trivia: In what year did the American League adopt the Designated Hitter (DH) rule? (answer tomorrow)

Yesterday's Answer: In 1968, Bob Gibson, of the St. Louis Cardinals, recorded the ERA of 1.123, the lowest for a starting pitcher since 1914 and the fourth-lowest ever recorded. Nobody has come close since.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Edwin Encarnacion Powers Blue Jays to Seventh Straight Win; Marlon Byrd Leads Mets to DH Sweep of Braves

Players of the Day for Tuesday, June 18, 2013

American League

Edwin Encarnacion
Could the AL East be turning into a five-team race?

Nearly left for dead a month ago after a 13-24 start, the Toronto Blue Jays - much to the dismay of the Colorado Rockies - are the hottest team in the majors right now, winning their seventh straight - and second in a row over the visiting Rockies - with an 8-3 victory on Tuesday.

Edwin Encarnacion got the Jays off to a hot start, doubling in Melky Cabrera and scoring as the Jays put down four runs in the first inning.

In the fifth, again with Cabrera on base, Encarnacion socked his 18th home run of the season, followed by solo shots from JP Arencibia and Maicer Izturis in the sixth, all before the Rockies scored a single run off starter Esmil Rogers (3-2).

Encarnacion finished 2-for-4, with three RBI, giving him 58 on the season, third-best in the AL, behind Detroit's Miguel Cabrera (71) and Baltimore's Chris Davis (61).

The Blue Jays are still in last place in the division, but are just 8 1/2 behind Boston, and, at 32-34, trail fourth-place Tampa Bay by just 1 1/2 games.

Toronto will be looking for their eighth straight and a sweep of the Rockies (who are tied with the Giants, 1 1/2 behind Arizona in the NL West) when the two teams meet in the series finale Wednesday night. Game time is 7:07 pn EDT.

National League

Marlon Byrd
Just a day after losing a 2-1 heart-breaker on Freddie Freeman's walk-off homer, the Mets regrouped and took a double-header from the Braves at Turner Field in Atlanta, winning the first game 4-3, and powering to a 6-1 victory in the nightcap.

Well-traveled outfielder, Marlon Byrd, who has won a regular starting position with a determined presence, was a combined 5-for-8 in the double bill, going 2-for-3 in the opener with a run and an RBI, and 3-for-5 in the second game, with a run scored on a BJ Upton error.

Since breaking in with the Phillies in 2002, Byrd has played for five different teams, but has found a home in New York, and a regular spot in the middle of the Mets' lineup. A lifetime .278 hitter, Byrd has 11 homers and 33 RBI to go with a .264 batting average. He's hit safely in seven of his last eight games.

The Mets two wins on Tuesday leave them 12 1/2 games back of the Braves in the NL East. Atlanta, leading Washington and Philadelphia by seven, will try to get back on the winning track when they meet the Mets in the fourth of their five-game series, Wednesday night at 7:10 pm EDT.

Today's Trivia: In 1968, which starting pitcher led the majors with an incredible 1.123 ERA? (answer tomorrow)

Yesterday's Answer: Stan Musial batted .3308 in 22 seasons, but Tony Gwynn was just a little better hitter, with a career average of .3382 over 20 seasons.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Nelson Cruz Homers Twice, Leads Rangers over A's, 8-7; Freddie Freeman Homer Drops Mets, as Braves Extend NL East Lead

Players of the Day for Monday, June 17, 2013

American League

In the war for the AL West, the opening skirmish went to the Texas Rangers, though victory was hardly decisive.

Nelson Cruz
The A's and Rangers opened a four-game series in Texas, Monday night, with the Rangers holding home field for an 8-7 win.

Nelson Cruz struck the decisive blows, going 3-for-4 with a double and a pair of homers, scoring twice and driving in four runs. Cruz's home runs were his 17th and 18th of the season, tying him for third with Adam Dunn and Edwin Encarnacion. Miguel Cabrera is one ahead with 19, but Chris Davis leads the pack, belting a solo shot in Baltimore's 5-1 loss to Detroit, his 24th of the season.

Oakland put up a six-spot in the fourth inning to take a 6-3 lead, but that's when Cruz took matters into his own hands, socking a solo shot in the bottom of the fourth to cut into the lead, then hammering a 428-foot, two-run rip to center, driving in A.J. Pierzynski, who had already doubled home Ian Kinsler. Cruz's blast put Texas up by a 7-6 score.

In the seventh, Cruz struck again, doubling home Adrian Beltre with the Rangers' final run. Cruz has 48 RBI, sixth in the league, one behind Boston's David Ortiz.

The win ended a six-game Texas losing streak and cut Oakland's lead to two games in the division.

The teams engage again on Tuesday night in the second of the four-game series. Game time is 8:05 pm EDT.

National League

Freddie Freeman
New York's Dylan Gee and Atlanta's Tim Hudson locked into a spirited pitcher's duel Monday night in Atlanta, and, through eight full innings, Gee had the better of it, limiting the Braves to no runs on three hits and singling in the Mets' only run of the game in the seventh.

Hudson retired after seven innings of work, turing the ball over to Anthony Vavaro, who held the Mets in check, blanking them for the eighth inning.

In the bottom of the ninth, Gee, attempting to close out the shutout, got the first out, but then gave up a scratch single to Justin Upton, putting the winning run at the plate in the form of Freddie Freeman, who delivered with his third hit of the night, a two-run, walk-off, game-winning homer that crushed Gee's and the Mets' hopes, improving Atlanta's MLB-best home record to an incredible 24-8 with the 2-1 win.

Freeman's homer was his seventh of the season, but none has been bigger, pushing the Braves to a 7 1/2 game lead in the division over Washington, which dropped a 5-4 decision at Philadelphia (8 1/2 back) on Monday.

The Mets, already 14 1/2 game back, will try to recover when the two teams meet again at Turner Field in game two of the five-game series, Tuesday afternoon at 1:10 pm EDT.

Today's Trivia: Who had a higher career batting average, Stan Musial or Tony Gwynn?

Yesterday's Answer: The 2011 NL hits leader was Chicago's Starlin Castro, with 207.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Carlos Gonzalez Socks 20th Homer, Leads Rockies over Phils; Josh Reddick Powers A's past M's

Players of the Day for Sunday, June 16, 2013

American League

Teams in the American League better start taking the Oakland A's seriously.

Josh Reddick
Despite losing the first two games of their series against the Mariners, the A's came back to win Sunday's finale, 10-2, to remain in first place in the West, three games up on the Rangers, losers of six in a row.

Every batter in the A's starting lineup had at least one hit, totaling 17 over the course of the lopsided victory, and ageless Bartolo Colon gave them seven innings of work, allowing just two runs on eight hits, improving to 8-2.

At the top of his game was Jason Reddick, who went 4-for-5, slugging his third home run, tripling, singling twice, scoring two runs and driving in a pair. Reddick, despite his anemic .211 average, extended his personal hitting streak to four games, and he's hit safely in eight of his last ten. He's emblematic of the type of player the A's have all over the field: unassuming, non-superstars who put in their best effort game after game, day after day.

Over the past month, the A's have gone 22-7, rising to the top of the division as they prepare for a showdown with the second place Rangers. The four game series begins Monday night in Arlington at 8:05 pm EDT.

National League

Carlos Gonzalez
Colorado pulled to within 1/2 game of Arizona in the NL West, taking two of three from the visiting Phillies, with Sunday's 5-2 win.

Sending Philly starter, Cole Hamels, to his 10th loss in 12 decisions, the Rockies broke open a 1-0 game with two runs in the seventh inning and sealed the deal in the eighth as Carlos Gonzalez banged his league-leading 20th home run with a man aboard to make the score 5-0.

Gonzalez also singled and scored in the seventh, going 2-for-4 on the day with two runs and two RBI, tying him with Cincinnati's Brandon Phillips with 56 on the year, three behind league leader, Paul Goldschmidt.

Having a sound campaign, Gonzalez is batting a stout .316, putting him in contention for a run at a triple crown. A one-man wrecking crew of Philadelphia pitching, Gonzalez went 8-for-12 in the three-game series, scoring five runs, with two homers and four RBI.

The Rockies got eight scoreless innings from starter Jhoulys Chacin (5-3), who surrendered two runs in the ninth, getting to within one out of a complete game. Rex Brothers came on to get the final out and his third save.

The Rockies begin a nine game road trip starting Monday night in Toronto, where they open a three-game series with the Blue Jays, at 7:07 pm EDT. They then head to Washington for four games with the Nationals, followed by two in Boston.

Today's Trivia:: Who led the National League in hits in 2011? (answer tomorrow)

Yesterday's Answer: Boston's Adrian Gonzalez and Michael Young each had 213 hits - tops in the majors - in 2011.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Trevor Plouffe Leads Twins past Tigers; B.J. Upton's Two Homers Lift Braves over Giants

Players of the Day for Saturday, June 15, 2013

American League

Trevor Plouffe
Holding onto the lead in the AL Central division has been routine work by the Tigers, not because they're winning consistently, but because the rest of the division has been losing.

Saturday was a case in point: four of the five teams in the Central were losers, the only winner, the Twins, topped the Tigers by a 6-3 score in the middle game of their three game series.

Minnesota's 14-hit assault on Detroit pitching was spearheaded by third baseman, Trevor Plouffe, who singled, doubled and homered in three official at-bats, walked once, scored twice and drove in three runs, two of which came on his fourth-inning, two-run shot that tied the game at two.

Plouffe, who's played in just 38 games this season, was in his first game back since coming off the DL and is riding a nine-game hit streak in which he's gone 12-for-32 (.375) with eight RBI.

The Twins have lost six of their last ten outings, but still are only 6 1/2 off Detroit's pace. The Tigers lead Cleveland by 4 1/2, Kansas City by five.

The Tigers and Twins will play the rubber game of their series on Sunday at 2:10 pm EDT.

National League

B.J. Upton
Atlanta keep rolling along, extending their home record to 22-8 (best in the majors) with a 6-5 win over the Giants Saturday, evening the series at a game apiece and maintaining their 5 1/2 game bulge over the Nationals in the NL East.

While Justin Upton was the toast of the town in April and May, June is turning into brother B.J. Upton's time to shine. The elder Upton socked a pair of homers for the Braves, scored three times, stole a base and drove in three runs. In his last plate appearance, Upton took a bases-loaded walk to tie the game at 5-all, and watched from between first and second as teammate Freddie Freeman drove home the game-winner with a single as Giants' reliever, Sergio Romo, imploded, getting just one out in the ninth.

B.J. homered in the first inning to get the Braves on the board with a solo shot. In the sixth, his two-run shot cut the Giants' 5-2 lead to 5-4. Despite hitting just .166, the Braves have kept Upton in the lineup for his stellar work in center field. He has eight homers and just 15 RBI this season.

The Giants and Braves will settle their differences Sunday night at 8:00 pm EDT at Turner Field. The game will be nationally televised by ESPN.

Today's Trivia: In 2011, two players led the major leagues in hits with 213 each. Who are they? (answer tomorrow)

Yesterday's Answer: Colorado's Todd Helton has the highest career batting average among active National Leaguers, at .3186.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Rick Porcello Throws Seven Scoreless as Tigers Maintain Central Lead; Madison Bumgarner, Buster Posey Spark Giants over Braves

Players of the Day for Friday, June 14, 2013

American League

Rick Porcello
While the Indians and Royals each won their third straight, the Detroit Tigers stayed 4 1/2 clear of Cleveland and five up on KC with a 4-0 win over Minnesota in the opener of a three-game series at Target Field in Minneapolis.

Rick Porcello (4-3) fanned four of the first five batters he faced en route to seven scoreless innings, allowing three hits and no walks, striking out five.

The Twins never got a runner past second base as Porcello and a trio of relievers kept them in check the entire nine innings. Porcello finished strong, setting down the last eight batters he faced in order. Porcello threw 63 of 94 pitches for strikes, getting first strikes on 16 of the 23 batters he opposed.

Detroit - winners of six of their last eight games - scored all of its runs in the sixth inning, highlighted by Prince Fielder's two-run double which opened the scoring. Fielder has 54 RBI, fourth-best in the AL.

Game two of the three-game series is set for 7:15 pm EDT, Saturday night.

National League

Bumgarner:
7 Scoreless
Posey: 3 Doubles
San Francisco took the first of a three-game set at NL East leader, Atlanta, off a solid pitching performance by Madison Bumgarner, who improved to 6-4 with seven innings of scoreless ball in the 6-0 Giants' win.

Bumgarner struck out ten, issued just one walk and allowed two hits over his seven innings, throwing 69 of 108 pitches for strikes. The Giants built a lead with single runs in each of the first three innings, adding another in the fifth and two more in the seventh.

Buster Posey doubled three times in five at-bats, scoring in the third and fifth innings and driving in a run in the seventh, raising his average to a stout .313.

The win left the Giants 1 1/2 behind Arizona in the NL West. Colorado is 2 1/2 out, with San Diego four back, in the most contentious race in the majors.

Atlanta's loss was their fourth straight, but no teams in the division seem capable of taking advantage. The Braves continue to lead the East by 5 1/2 over Washington and 6 1/2 over the Phillies. The loss was just the eighth in 29 home games for the Braves.

San Francisco will look to upend the Braves again on Saturday, in a 4:05 pm EDT afternoon start.

Today's Trivia: As of today, who is the current active NL leader in batting average? (answer tomorrow)

Yesterday's Answer: On October 4, 1986, Minnesota's Greg Gagne hit inside-the-park homers in consecutive at-bats at the Metrodome, in a 7-3 win over the White Sox.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Ian Desmond, Ryan Zimmerman Lead Nationals Over Rockies; Elliot Johnson's Big Sixth Inning Rallies Royals

Players of the Day for Thursday, June 13, 2013

American League

Elliot Johnson
When second baseman Elliot Johnson came up to the plate leading off in the top of the sixth inning, there was no score between the Royals and Rays. By the time the inning was over, it was 8-0 Kansas City, and Johnson had gone around the bases twice.

Johnson got things started in KC's big inning with a simple single to right off Tampa starter Jeremy Hellickson and came around to score two batters later on Alex Gordon's single.

The Royals ended up sending 11 men to the plate, and Johnson made the most of his second crack of the inning, launching a three-run homer to right field, finishing off Hellickson, who took the loss as the Royals went on to the 10-1 win.

Adding a single in the eighth inning, Johnson finished up 3-for-4 with two runs and three RBI, helping the Royals (31-33) to their eighth win in their last nine games. picking up 1/2 game on idle second place Cleveland and first place Detroit.

The Royals are five games back and just 1/2 game behind the Indians in the division, and will look to make it two straight in Tampa when they face the Rays at 7:10 pm EDT Friday night.

National League

Ian Desmond
Ryan Zimmerman
After losing the opener of their three-game series in Colorado, 8-3, the Nationals fell below .500 and need to get their season back on track against the red-hot Rockies.

Taking the second game, 5-1, the Nats felt confident going into the rubber game; veterans Ryan Zimmerman and Ian Desmond led the way to a 5-4 victory, a 33-32 record and second place in the NL East, 5 1/2 behind the runaway Braves.

Zimmerman doubled and homered in four at-bats, driving in three of Washington's runs, while Desmond stroked four singles in four at-bats, stole a base, scored a run and drove in another.

Starting the month of June with a 1-4 mark, including back-to-back rain-outs against the Mets and Minnesota, the Nationals have turned the corner, going 4-1 in their last five.

Washington remains on the road, heading to Cleveland for a three-game series beginning Friday at 7:05 pm EDT.

Today's Trivia: Who was the last player to hit two inside-the-park home runs in one game? (hint: it was in 1986) (answer tomorrow)

Yesterday's Answer: In 1894, the Philadelphia Phillies batted .349, the highest ever by a National League team.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Brandon Moss Homers Twice, Powers A's to AL West Lead; Starling Marte, Andrew McCutchen Help Pirates Rip Giants, 12-8

Players of the Day for Wednesday, June 12, 2013

American League

Brandon Moss
With the Rangers losing their second straight to the Indians by a 5-2 score, Oakland took over sole possession of first place in the AL East with a 5-2 victory over the visiting Yankees.

The Oakland win was powered by Brandon Moss, who homered twice and drove in three runs while starter Dan Straily limited the Yankees to two runs on three hits over 6 2/3 innings, improving his record to 4-2.

Moss got the A's started with a two-run rip in the second inning, adding an insurance run with his 11th homer of the year in the eighth.

Batting an unimpressive .228, Moss, however has delivered well in the clutch. He has 33 RBI on the season.

The A's also took the opener of the series on Tuesday by a 6-4 score and will be seeking the sweep when they host the Yankees in the day-game finale, Thursday, at 12:35 pm PDT.

National League

Andrew McCutchen
The current version of the Pittsburgh Pirates is hardly similar to the teams the organization have put on the field for most of the past two decades. This one is serious, and contenting for the NL Central crown.

Marte: 4-5, 4 R
Proving they are worthy of the league's attention, the Pirates took their second straight from the world champion Giants, pounding Barry Zito (4-5) and four relief pitchers for 18 hits in a 12-8 triumph.

Sporting a 4.79 ERA, things didnt start well for Zito, despite taking the mound with a 1-0 lead, courtesy of a Hunter Pence RBI double in the Giants' half of the first.

Leadoff hitter Starling Marte singled and came around to score on the first of three Andrew McCutchen RBI. This became a recurring theme, as Marte finished 4-for-5 - all singles - scored four runs and swiped a pair of bases while McCutchen went 3-for-5 with a double and a duo of singles.

Marte, a rookie, after playing in 47 games for the Pirates last season, is having a solid year atop the Pirates' batting order, hitting .289 in 63 games. His two steals gave him 20 on the season, second most in the league, behing Everth Cabrera's 30.

McCutchen, hitting .297, has picked it up of late, riding a four-game hitting streak in which he's gone 8-for-14 (.571).

The Pirates will be looking for a sweep of the Giants Thursday night at 7:05 pm EDT.

Today's Trivia: The St. Louis Cardinals are leading the NL with a .275 team batting average. What team had the highest NL team batting average for a single-season? (answer tomorrow)

Yesterday's Answer: Francisco Rodriguez (K-Rod) recorded 62 saves in 2008 for the LA Angels.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Aaron Harang Shuts Out Astros on Two Hits; Tyler Colvin Leads Rockies over Nats with a Pair of Homers

Players of the Day for Tuesday, June 11, 2013

American League

If not for J.D. Martinez, Aaron Harang would have had a no-hitter in Seattle's 4-0 win over the Houston Astros.

Harang: 2-hitter
And, if shortstop Brendan Ryan hadn't flubbed a grounder in the sixth inning, Harang would have pitched a perfect game.

However, Martinez did have a couple of singles - the only hits off Harang - and Ryan's error was inconsequential, so, in a game that's more about "what is" rather than "if's," Harang had to settle for a two-hit shutout, which isn't such a bad thing.

Despite his 3-6 record, Harang has had his moments this season, especially of late. On May 27, he threw a four-hit shutout against San Diego, fanning eight. In Tuesday's effort, he struck out a season-high 10.

There wasn't a great deal of drama in Harang's outing. Martinez got his first hit with two out in the second, so there was no expectation of a no-hitter.

Seattle could use a few more outings like Harang's (s could the Astros). The Mariners are third in the AL West, 10 games behind co-leaders, Oakland and Texas.

The win was Seattle's second straight over the Astros. The Mariners will be looking for the series sweep when they take the field Wednesday night at 7:10 pm PDT.

National League

In Colorado, everybody's getting into the swing of things.

Colvin: 2HR, 4RBI
Tyler Colvin socked a pair of two-run homers as the Rockies buried the struggling Nationals, 8-3, taking the series opener from their guests at Coors Field.

Colvin, recently recalled from AAA Colorado Springs, was playing in just his third big league game this season, but proved he belongs in the majors with a winning performance.

His fifth-inning homer tied the game at two and started a five run uprising, culminating in Carlos Gonzalez's 18th of the year, a three-run blast. Colvin homered again in the eighth with a man aboard to put the game out of reach.

The Rockies' win, combined with Arizona's loss to the Dodgers and the Giants' defeat at Pittsburgh, tightened the NL West race yet again. Colorado is a game behind the Diamondbacks. San Fran is another game back, followed by San Diego, five out and LA, 7 1/2 behind.

Colorado, winners of two straight and seven of their last ten, will look to take Washington (31-32) further below the .500 mark when they meet in game two of the three-game series, Wednesday at 8:40 pm EDT.

Today's Trivia: The record for saves in a single season is an incredible 62. Who set that mark? (answer tomorrow)

Yesterday's Answer: Detroit's Justin Verlander was AL rookie of the year in 2006 and won the MVP award in 2011.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Adam Dunn Homers Twice in Foggy Chicago Win; Brandon Phillips Drives in All Six Reds' Runs in Win over Cubs

Players of the Day for Monday, June 10, 2013

American League

Adam Dunn is never going to compete for a batting title, and the White Sox, like three other AL Central teams, are already in a desperate chase to catch the Tigers, but on a foggy Monday night in Chicago, Dunn went 4-for-4 and the Sox picked up a game on Detroit with a 10-6 win over Toronto.

Adam Dunn
Dunn homered twice and added two singles, drove in five runs and scored three times as Chicago won its third straight. Meanwhile, the Tigers were losing, 3-2, to a resurgent Kansas City squad that's won six straight.

The game was delayed an hour and ten minutes in the third inning due to fog, but that didn't seem to bother Dunn, who apparently was seeing the ball just fine. He launched a 452-foot tape-measure bomb in the third, a solo shot, followed by a three-run job in the fourth that "only" went 432 feet.

In the eighth, Dunn collected his fourth hit of the night, singling home Alexei Ramirex with the game's final run.

Dunn's four hits raised his batting average from an embarrassing .165 to a still-pathetic .181. The Sox are tied with Minnesota at the bottom of the division, seven games out. Kansas City and Cleveland trail Detroit by 5 1/2 each.

Game two of Chicago's three-game set with Toronto starts at 8:10 pm EDT Tuesday.

National League

Phillips: GS, 6 RBI
After losing two of three to Colorado and St. Louis last week, the Cincinnati Reds were probably relieved that their schedule sent them off to the Windy City for four games with the Cubs to start this week.

They're also happy that Brandon Phillips is having an all-star season.

Phillips, who spent most of the past seven seasons batting either in the leadoff or two-spot, has flourished batting fourth, behind Joey Votto, this season. In Monday's 6-2 win, Phillips drove in all of the Reds' runs, while Homer Bailey stifled Chicago on four hits, fanning eight over eight innings.

Phillips got the Reds rolling with an RBI single in the opening frame, then stroked a grand slam in the third, putting Cincy up by a 5-0 margin. The Cubs didn't score until the sixth, and Phillips tacked on another run and RBI, grounding out in the eighth with runners on first and third.

Phillips has 10 homers and 52 RBI, second in the league behind Paul Goldschmidt's 59.

The Reds took sole possession of second place in the Central division, 3 1/2 back of the Cardinals. They resume their rivalry with the Cubs at 8:10 pm CDT on Tuesday.

Today's Trivia: Who was the last American League rookie of the year to later win the MVP award? (answer tomorrow)

Yesterday's Answer: In 1974, St. Louis' Lou Brock set the single-season standard for steals, swiping 118 bases.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Boston Downs LA on Jarrod Saltalamacchia's Two Homers; Dexter Fowler Polishes off Padres for Rockies

Players of the Day for Sunday, June 9, 2013

American League

Jerrod Saltalamacchia
With a splendid balance of pitching and hitting, the Boston Red Sox keep winning, over the weekend taking another series from the Angels, two games to one, with Sunday's rubber game going Boston strong, 10-5.

At 39-25, the Red Sox have the league's best record and are 1 1/2 clear of the Yankees in the AL East. Baltimore is 3 1/2 back; Tampa Bay, four out.

Sunday's romp at Fenway was a mini home run derby, as LA socked two, but the Red Sox put four out of the park, two of them off the bat of catcher Jerrod Saltalamacchia, who was on the front end of back-to-back solo jacks by him and Mike Carp in the sixth inning, followed by a three-run rip that capped Boston's scoring in the seventh.

Saltalamacchia's homers were his seventh and eighth of the year. David Ortiz got things going with a three-run donk in the third inning, his 12th.

The Angels continue to languish in the West, 10 1/2 behind the Rangers. Boston heads to Tampa Monday, for a series with the Rays, starting at 7:00 pm EDT.

National League

Dexter Fowler
After missing the opener of the Rockies' four-game series with the Padres, Dexter Fowler made his presence felt from the leadoff spot with three superior efforts, going 9-for-16 (.563) with six runs as Colorado earned a split and cut into Arizona's lead in the NL West.

Fowler finished off the Padres with a 4-for-6 performance Sunday, slapping three singles and a double, scoring three runs and driving in the game-winner in the top of the tenth in Colorado's 8-7 triumph.

Down, 7-4, in the ninth, Fowler scored the tying run after singling - sending Tyler Colvin to third - and swiping second base, on a double by Carlos Gonzalez, then slashed the game-winner with two down in the tenth and runners on first and third, singling to center.

The three games against the Padres boosted Folwer's batting average 20 points, to .304.

With the Giants knocking off the Diamondbacks, 6-2, San Francisco and Colorado each picked up a game, ending the weekend 1 1/2 behind the Daimondbacks in the West.

Today's Trivia: The modern era (1900-present) record for stolen bases in a season is 118. Who accomplished that fleet-footed feat?

Yesterday's Answer: Albert Pujols led the majors in runs three straight years (2003-2005) and then led again two straight, 2009 and 2010.