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.

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