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.

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