Monday, July 15, 2013

Orioles' Chris Davis Ties pre-All Star AL HR record with 37th; Yadier Molina Leads Cardinals and NL in Batting

Players of the Day for Sunday, July 14, 2013

American League

Chris Davis
If not for Detroit's Miguel Cabrera, Baltimore's Chris Davis would be mentioned singularly in talk of triple crown possibilities. Even still, Davis is having a season unlike any other, one that could be record-breaking.

Davis cracked his 37th home run of the season and drove in four runs in the Orioles' 7-4 victory over the Blue Jays, the final game for both teams prior to the All Star break, giving Baltimore a 2-1 edge in the series and leaving them solidly in third place in the AL East, 4 1/2 behind Boston and two games back of second-place Tampa Bay.

Launching #37 to the opposite field in the third inning, Davis gave the Orioles a 6-0 lead. He already had driven in two runs with a double in the bottom of the first, as Baltimore built a 4-0 advantage, shelling Toronto starter, Josh Johnson, who ended up working six innings and allowing all seven runs.

Davis tied Reggie Jackson for the American League record for home runs by the All Star break. Jackson hit 37 dingers by mid-July in 1969. Only two other players have ever hit so many before the summer classic. Barry Bonds hit 39 homers pre All Star game in 2001. Mark McGwire belted 37 in 1998. Both were National Leaguers suspected of using performance-enhancing drugs.

With four RBI on Sunday, Davis totaled 93, the seventh-highest total in major league history prior to the All Star break, though he is still two behind Cabrera, who has 95, tying him with Josh Hamilton for fifth place all-time, who had that many in 2008.

National League

Yadier Molina
St. Louis' Yadier Molina is having himself a Hall of Fame season, leading the National League in batting at a .341 clip, after going 4-for-6 in the Cardinals' 10-6 hammering of the Cubs at Wrigley Field Sunday night. The Cards dealt out 21 hits.

After the Cubs tied the game at six with a pair of runs in the eighth inning, Molina put the finishing touch on the win with a three-run homer for the final score. Prior to hitting his seventh long ball of the season, Molina had singled three times, driven in a run and scored twice.

The win put St. Louis back into sole possession of first place in the NL Central, a position they've held most of the year, after the Pirates lost a 4-2 decision to the Mets.

At the break, Molina and teammate Allen Craig are 1-2 in batting, Craig checking in at .333. Leadoff hitter Matt Carpenter is not far back at .321, sixth-best in the league.

Molina will be the starting catcher for the National League in the 2013 All Star game, Tuesday night at New York's Citi Field.

Today's Trivia: Who played in more All Star games, Reggie Jackson or Johnny Bench? (answer Wednesday)

Yesterday's Answer: George Foster led the NL in RBI in 1976, 1977 and 1978.

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