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.

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