Thursday, August 22, 2013

Reeling Royals Downed by Dayan Viciedo Slam in White Sox Win; Ichiro Gets 4,000th Hit; Shin-Soo Choo Leads Reds Rout of Arizona

Players of the Day for Wednesday, August 21, 2013

American League

Dayan Viciedo
Now is not the time for a contending team to go into a funk, but it seems that is just what is happening to the Kansas City Royals, who have hung around the upper echelons of the AL most of the year, but have now lost four straight, dropping 6 1/2 games back from the second wild card.

That wild card slot is held currently by Oakland, Tampa Bay in control of the first wild card, 1 1/2 better than the A's. In front of the Royals are the Indians, Orioles and Yankees, so, it's going to be an uphill battle.

The latest loss for Kansas City came against the lowly White Sox, who have the worst record in the AL Central division. Chicago has taken the first two games of the three-game series in KC, winning Wednesday's event by a 5-2 score, fueled mainly by a grand slam homer by Dayan Viciedo. The blast came in the fifth inning, when the Sox scored all five of their runs.

Viciedo's homer was his 11th on the year. He also singled twice, going 3-for-4 on the night.

Kansas City and Chicago wrap up their series with the White Sox seeking the sweep, Thursday night at 8:10 pm EDT.

NOTABLE: "Omedetou" to Ichiro Suzuki, who had his 4,000th hit as a professional ball player with a single in the first inning off Toronto starter, R.A. Dickey. Ichiro had previously been 0-for-10 against Dickey. Pete Rose, with 4,256 hits, and Ty Cobb, with 4,191, are the only two players that have reached 4,000 hits in the major leagues. With the single, Suzuki broke a tie with Lou Gehrig for 59th all-time, his his 2,722nd major league hit coming in his 13th season. The speedy outfielder amassed 1,278 hits in Japan's Pacific League, where he played nine seasons with Orix.

National League

Shin-Soo Choo
En route to a 10-7 win over Arizona, the Reds built an 8-0 lead through the first four innings, powered by leadoff hitter, Shin-Soo Choo, who led off the game with his 16th homer of the season and proceeded to go 4-for-5, adding two singles and a double, scoring three runs and driving in three.

Choo is batting .281 on the year, with 83 runs, third in the league behind teammate Joey Votto (84) and league leader Matt Carpenter (92) of the Cardinals.

Cincinnati starter Mike Leake took the win (11-5), cruising through the first four innings, but was tagged for four runs in the fifth.

The Reds took a 2-1 lead in the four-game series with the Diamondbacks and have a secure hold on the second wild card position, six games ahead of Arizona. Cincinnati is still in the midst of the best race in the majors, trailing the Pirates by 2 1/2 games. St. Louis is in second place, a single game behind Pittsburgh.

Arizona closes out their series in Cincinnati, Thursday afternoon. Game time is 12:35 pm EDT.

Today's Trivia: With Ichiro reaching the career 4,000 milestone, which player was next-closest to that mark, Hank Aaron, Tris Speaker or Honus Wagner? (answer tomorrow)

Yesterday's Answer: Willie Mays and Hank Aaron each led the National League in home runs four times. The two dominated from 1962 through 1967, each leading the league three times. In 1963, Aaron tied with Mays' teammate, Willie McCovey, each hitting 44 homers.

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