Saturday, June 8, 2013

Josh Donaldson's Grand Slam Lifts A's to 1st Place in AL West; Todd Helton, Nolan Arenado Power Rockies

Players of the Day for Friday, June 7, 2013

American League

Josh Donaldson
Combined with the Rangers' 6-1 loss at Toronto, the A's 4-3 decision over the White Sox earned Oakland a 1/2 game lead in the AL West, a spot long occupied by Texas.

The result was not always assured, as Chicago had built a 3-0 lead through the first five innings, and Sox Starter, Chris Sale, was cruising along with a two-hit shutout. But, in the top of the sixth, Adam Rosales and Jed Lowrie singled, with Rosales moving to third on a throwing error. Yoenis Cespedes walked to load the bases with one out for third baseman, Josh Donaldson.

With one swing, Donaldson changed the outcome of the game, belting a 364-foot grand slam to right, putting the A's up 4-3 and headed for the top of the division standings. From there, the A's pitching staff took over, slamming the door shut on White Sox hitters. Starter Jarrod Parker worked into the eighth, followed by Ryan Cook and Grant Balfour, who picked up his 15th save by setting down the Sox in the ninth.

The A's have been steaming since dropping two of three to Texas on May 15. Since then, they've been the hottest team in the AL, winning 18 of 21 games, including their last three in a row.

Oakland will look to make it three straight over the White Sox in Chicago at 4:10 pm EDT, Saturday.

National League

Nolan Arenado
Paul Goldschmidt's 3-run, eighth-inning home run lifted the Diamondbacks to a 3-1 win over the Giants, and the Rockies gladly rode Todd Helton's bat and Nolan Arenado's walk-off homer to take a 10-9 win over the visiting Padres and second place in the NL West.

Helton, who turns 40 in August, was 3-for-4 with three RBI, all off San Diego starter, Edison Volquez, who was bombed by the Rockies for 11 hits and nine earned runs in 2 1/3 innings. Colorado's pitchers could not hold their 9-3 lead after the third, however, as San Diego came back with a run in the fifth and five more in the seventh.

Todd Helton
The game tied 9-9 in the bottom of the ninth, Arenado, the rookie third baseman who had singled in a run in the second inning, led off the inning with his fifth home run of the season, a towering solo shot to left.

The result left the Rockies 2 1/2 behind the Diamondbacks in the three-way race that is the NL West. The Giants dropped the opener of a three-game series at Arizona to fall 3 1/2 off the pace.

The Rockies play at home against San Diego in the third of their four-game series at 7:15 pm EDT. Arizona hosts San Francisco in the second game of their series at 10:10 pm EDT.

Today's Trivia: Everyone loves an RBI guy. Who had more RBI in his career than any other major league player? (answer tomorrow)

Yesterday's Answer: Willie McCovey had 521 homers to Ernie "let's play two" Banks' 512, but Banks played three fewer seasons (19) than did McCovey (22)

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