Thursday, July 30, 2015

Yasiel Puig Rallies Dodgers; Troy Tulowitzki Finds New Home Atop Blue Jays' Lineup

Players of the Day for Wednesday, July 29, 2015

American League
Yasiel Puig
Troy Tulowitzki

In the AL East, everybody's chasing the Yankees.

Following Wednesday's results, which included a 5-2 loss by New York to the Rangers, the Orioles are in second place, six games back; Toronto is third, seven behind, and the Rays are 7 1/2 out.

Toronto made a roster move just prior to the trade deadline (Friday at 4:00 pm EDT), picking up Troy Tulowitzki from the floundering Rockies.

In his first game with the Blue Jays, Tulo appears to have found a new home - batting leadoff for the Jays, going 3-for-5 with a pair of doubles and a two-run homer. Toronto topped the Phillies, 8-2 and get Thursday off before hosting a three-game weekend series with the Royals.

It's an important series for both teams, as the Royals will be starting a new player - Johnny Cueto - who arrived via Cincinnati and is expected to bolster an already solid Kansas City rotation.

National League

The tightest race in the majors is currently the one between the LA Dodgers and San Francisco Giants, where the Giants trail their southern neighbors by a mere 1/2 game, after Jake Peavy led the Giants to a 5-0 win over Milwaukee and the Dodgers held onto first place with a come-from-behind, 10-7, win over the visiting Oakland Athletics.

The A's had taken a 6-3 lead in the top of the seventh with a four-run outburst, but the resilient Dodgers came back with five runs in the bottom of the frame, keyed by Yasiel Puig's run-scoring single. Puig earlier put the Dodgers on the board with a two-run homer (his 7th) in the fourth inning.

Puig, who is batting .254 with 25 RBI, has been rumored to be available for a trade by the Dodgers. Thus far there have been no takers.

Both the giants and Dodgers have Thursday off, but resume play on Friday, the Giants traveling to Texas for a weekend series, while the Dodger host the Angels.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Chris Young Slams vs. Rangers in 21-5 Yankee Romp; Mets Closing In on First Place after Noah Syndergaard Gem

Players of the Day for Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Young: GS, 5RBI
American League

When starter Chris Capuano couldn't get out of the first inning and the Texas Rangers put up a five-spot on the NY Yankees, the situation looked dire for the Al East leaders.

But, the feeling didn't last long, as the Yanks put up 11 runs in the second inning and four more in the third on Chris Young's grand slam en route to a smashing, 21-5 victory.

Young, who walked and scored in the second inning, followed up his slam with a pair of doubles and another RBI, finishing the evening with a line score of 3-for-6 with four runs and five RBI.

The game was the second of a four-game series at Texas. The Rangers have the worst pitching staff (highest ERA) in the league and the Yankees are certainly taking advantage of the Rangers' weakness, taking the first game by a 6-2 score.

Noah Syndergaard
Game three of the set begins Wednesday night at 8:05 pm EDT at Globe Life Park in Arlington, Texas.

National League

Opening a three-game series with the visiting Padres, the Mets gained to within one game of the first place Nationals, whipping the Padres, 4-0, while the Nats were held down by the Marlins, 4-1.

New York got an excellent pitching performance from starter Noah Syndergaard (5-5), who went eight innings, allowing just three hits and no earned runs.

The 6'6" rookie out of Mansfield, Texas, goes by the nickname "Thor," and he certainly looked like the god of thunder on the mound Tuesday night, tossing a perfect game through six innings before Will Venable led of the seventh inning with a sharp single up the middle.

Syndergaard allowed an infield single to the next hitter, Yangervis Solarte, but escaped the frame with the shutout intact. Yonder Alonso started the eighth with a single for the Padres, but Syndergaard shut down the side in order after that.

Tyler Clipart came on in the ninth in a non-save situation.

The Mets host the Padres for game two of the series on Wednesday, 7:10 pm EDT at Citi Field.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Eric Hosmer, Royals Crush Indians; Cubs' Kris Bryant Walks Off Rockies with 9th Inning Homer

Players of the Day for Monday, July 27, 2015

American League

Eric Hosmer
The first-place Kansas City Royals wasted little time taking control of the first of their three-game series at Cleveland.

Eric Hosmer cranked a three-run homer in the top of the first inning, helping the Royals cruise to a 9-4 triumph.

Hosmer's 10th home run was part of a 3-for-5 night for the Royal first baseman. Subsequently, he added two singles and finished with four RBI, scoring three times.

Homer finished the night with a .308 batting average, 10 HRs and 53 RBI.

The Royals have opened up an eight-game lead over second-place Minnesota in the AL Central, the largest advantage in the majors. Mired in last place in the division, the Indians languish, 15 games back.

Game two of the series is slated for 7:10 pm EDT on Tuesday.

National League

Kris Bryant:
Rookie of the Year?
In Chicago, there's plenty of hope for the future of the Cubs. Rookie third baseman Kris Bryant is a big part of that hopeful future, as he smashed a two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth inning at Wrigley Field Monday, giving the Cubs a walk-off, 9-8 win over visiting Colorado.

Bryant delivered with two down in the ninth and teammate Dexter Fowler aboard, sending his 15th home run of the season over the wall in center field.

Batting .254 with 15 HRs and 59 RBI, Bryant is a serious candidate for NL rookie of the year. He was 2-for-5 with three RBI on the night, his RBI single in the fourth inning accounting for Chicago's first run.

Unfortunately for the Cubs, this doesn't look like the season in which they'll be making history, looking tend the longest World Series drought in the majors. They trail the Cardinals by 11 1/2 games in the NL Central division and have the Pirates five games in front of them. Looking at a wild card, however, the Cubs are just 2 1/2 games behind the Giants for the second spot.

Game two of the three-game series is set for an 8:05 first pitch, Tuesday night.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Mike Trout's 4-for-4, Grand Slam Lifts Angels; Carlos Gonzalez Smacks Two Homers, Drives in Six for Rockies

Players of the Day for Sunday, July 26, 2015

American League

Trout: 4-4, Grand Slam
Regaining the major league home run lead from teammate Albert Pujols, Mike Trout helped the Angels salvage a win in their three-game series with Texas, going 4-for-4 with a pair of singles and two homers (#s 30, 31), one of which was a grand slam.

After dropping the first two games of the series, 4-2, and, 7-6, the Angels roared back on Sunday with a 13-7 rout.

Combined with Houston's 5-1 loss at Kansas City, the win pushed the Angels back into sole possession of first place in the AL West with a one-game lead over the Astros.

Trout socked a solo homer in the first inning, then followed up with the grand slam in the sixth, blowing open a game that the Angels led by only a run - 3-2 - entering the inning.

By the time the Rangers got to bat again in the top of the seventh, it was 8-2, and the outcome largely determined.

Gonzalez: 2HR, 6RBI
Trout's 4-for-4 effort boosted his batting average to .315, among the league leaders, and his five RBI gave him 64 on the season, fifth-best in the American League.

National League

After singling home the first run in Colorado's half of the third inning, Carlos Gonzalez capped a 10-run outburst by the Rockies with a two-run homer, giving Colorado a 12-4 lead over the visiting Reds.

Gonzalez smashed another homer - this time a three-run shot - in the fifth inning, tallying six RBI on the day and helping the Rockies to a 15-hit, 17-7 victory, taking two out of three from the visiting Reds.

The homers were Gonzalez's 17th and 18th of the season, his 3-for-4 effort giving him a .270 batting average with 47 RBI.

The win didn't help Colorado much, as they still are last in the NL West, 12 games behind the LA Dodgers, who hold a one-game edge over he Giants.

One of the more prolific hitters in the National League, 29-year-old Gonzalez has 154 homers and 504 RBI with a .291 average in eight major league seasons.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Cole Hamels Tosses No-Hitter for Phillies; A-Rod Goes Yard Three Times as Yanks Down Twins

Players of the Day for Saturday, July 25, 2015

American League

A-Rod: Three Bombs
Trailing the home-standing Twins, 5-0, with two down and nobody aboard in the top of the fourth inning, Alex Rodriguez launched the first of what would be three home runs, helping the Yankees erase the five-run deficit and proceed to an 8-5 victory, evening their three-game series with Minnesota at one game apiece.

A-Rod went yard again in the seventh inning, this time belting a two-run shot off starter Tommy Milone, as the Yankees scored three times in the inning.

In the top of the ninth, Rodriguez tied the game with his third homer of the game, a solo shot to center field off would-be closer, Glen Perkins. Later in the frame, John Ryan Murphy completed the comeback with a three-run shot off Perkins. The Twins failed to score in the ninth as Andrew Miller set them down in order for his 23rd save of the season.

A-Rod's homers were numbers 21, 22, and 23 on the year. It was the fifth time Rodriguez - who turns 40 on Monday - has hit three homers in a game. That's one short of the major league record, held jointly by Johnny Mize and Sammy Sosa, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

The Twins and Yanks play the rubber game Sunday at 2:10 pm ET. New York leads the AL East by 5 1/2 games over Toronto; the Twins trail the Royals by 6 1/2 in the Central division.

Hamels tosses No-Hitter
National League

Cole Hamels set down 27 of the 29 Cubs' batters he faced, walking two while throwing a no-hitter in a 5-0 Philadelphia win.

Ryan Howard's third-inning, three-run homer provided more than enough offense for the 31-year-old Hamels, one of the game's premier pitching stars and currently the subject of a slew of trade rumors.

Hamels fanned 13 Cubbies, getting the top five in the order a total of nine times. Chicago's cleanup hitter, Jorge Soler, went down three times on strikes.

Camels threw 83 of 129 pitches for strikes, improving his record to 6-7. the tall lefty was involved in another Philadelphia no-hitter, teaming with three relievers for a September 1 win over Atlanta last season.

The gem by Hamels was the first no-hitter against the Cubs since Sandy Koufax pitched a perfect game at Dodger Stadium in 1965.

Philly has taken two straight from the home-standing Cubs and will look to sweep the series when the two teams take to Wrigley Field at 2:20 pm ET Sunday afternoon.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Nick Castellanos, Ian Kinsler Lead Tigers to 9-4 Win over Seattle; Mike Leake Goes Eight Strong in Victory over Cubs

Players of the Day for Wednesday, July 22, 2015

American League

Castellanos: Grand Slam
Kinsler: 4-for-5
Ian Kinsler rapped out four hits and Nick Castellanos smacked a grand slam as the Detroit Tigers hammered Seattle starter Mike Montgomery for eight runs (six earned) in the third inning, en route to a 9-4 victory in the third game of their four-game series.

The Tigers took a 2-1 lead in the series which concludes Thursday afternoon in Detroit.

For Castellanos, the homer was his eighth this season and got the scoring started for the Tigers. Kinsler, who was 4-for-5, finished the eight-run barrage with an RBI double. He added another double and two singles, scoring twice in the contest, the first time, on Castellanos' slam, after reaching on a bunt single.

The Tigers continue to struggle, but regained the .500 mark at 47-47, They trail the Royals in the AL Central by 10 1/2 games and are also three games behind the second-place Twins.

Nelson Cruz homered twice for Seattle, his 23rd and 24th both coming off Detroit starter - and winning pitcher - Anibal Sanchez (10-7).

National League

Leake Improves to 8-5
Mike Leake allowed four hits and only one run as the Reds took the first game of a double-header against the visiting Cubs by a 9-1 tally.

Kyle Schwarber drove in Addison Russell in the third inning for Chicago's only run.

Leake (8-5) didn't issue any walks, struck out six and threw 74 of 111 pitches for strikes.

Later, the Reds dropped the nightcap, 6-5, furthering the woes of the Cincinnati franchise, falling 17 1/2 behind the division-leading Cardinals in the NL Central. The Reds have struggled throughout the season, and currently have a mark of 42-51.

Chicago is nine games behind St. Louis, good for third place in the division.

St. Louis topped the White Sox, 3-2 on Wednesday.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Matt Holliday's Grand Slam Lifts Cardinals; Matt Shoemaker Delivers as Angels Win Sixth Straight

Players of the Day for Tuesday, July 21, 2015

American League

Shoemaker: 6IP, 10Ks
Rolling to their sixth straight win, the LA Angels maintained a two-game lead in the AL West over Houston with a 7-0 shutout of the visiting Minnesota Twins.

Starter Matt Shoemaker improved to 5-7 with a solid six-inning performance, blanking the Twins on two hits over six innings. The Angels staked their hurler to a 2-0 lead with single runs in the second and third innings, but, after Chris Ianetta keyed a five-run sixth inning with a three-run homer, manager Mike Scioscia decided he had gotten all he needed from his starter and sent Fernando Salas out for the seventh inning.

After Salas put down the Twins in order, Jose Alvarez completed the whitewash with two hitless innings.

Shoemaker walked three and fanned 10, matching his season high. Off to a slow start in 2015, Shoemaker was 16-4 last season with the Halos. The win was Shoemaker's first since June 9.

Holliday: Grand Slam

National League

Michael Wacha didn't have his best stuff, but still improved to 11-3, allowing five runs on four hits over five innings as teammate Matt Holliday boosted the Cardinals to an 8-5 win over the White Sox with a fourth inning grand slam.

The homer was just Holliday's fourth of the season, but it came at a most opportune time, lifting the Cardinals to a five-game lead over Pittsburgh in the NL Central. The Pirates fell at Kansas City, 3-1.

While Holliday is batting a healthy .302, his power numbers are way down. He's hit 20 or more homers every season since 2009.

Still, the Cardinals continue to bowl over the opposition. Their 59-34 mark is the best in the majors.

St. Louis faces the White Sox in the completion of their two-game series, Wednesday night in Chicago.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Travis Ishikawa Powers Giants Past Royals; Albert Pujols Goes Yard Three Times as Angels Sweep Red Sox

Players of the Day for Monday, July 20, 2015

American League

Pujols' 3 HR passes
Mike Schmidt
Albert Pujols took over the AL home run lead from teammate Mike Trout on Monday, socking three homers as the Angels swept a double-header from visiting Boston, slaughtering the Red Sox, 11-1 in the first game and completing the four-game series sweep with a 7-3 win in the nightcap.

Pujols whacked a solo shot in the second inning of the first game, when the Angels piled up seven runs routing starter Eduardo Rodriguez, who was tabled for all of the runs and lasted only 1 2/3 innings.

In the second game, Pujols sent two balls out of the yard - a solo homer and a two-run shot - securing a two-game lead over idle Houston in the AL West. Pujols has 29 homers on the season, already surpassing last year's total of 28.

Pujols was a combined 4-for-7 in the two games, driving in four runs. He has 60 RBI on the season, good for fifth place in the AL, behind Kansas City's Kendrys Morales (65).

The Angels have won five straight since the All-Star break. Trout was named MVP of the All-Star Game, won by the American League, 6-3.

Pujols passed Mike Schmidt (548) on the all-time home run list with 549 dingers.

National League

Ishikawa: 4 RBI
The Pittsburgh Pirated continued their relentless pursuit of NL-Central-leading St. Louis, with a 10-7 road win at Kansas City.

Pittsburgh trails the Cardinals by four games in the division race, but has the second-best record in the league. Their mark of 55-38 has them 5 1/2 games up on the Giants in the Wild Card standings.

The Pirates got a big boost from the bat of Travis Ishikawa, a .174 hitter who delivered four RBI with a home run and pair of doubles in five at-bats.

Ishikawa dd his damage early, with a two-run double in the second inning and a two-run homer in the fifth.

The Pirates face the Royals again on Tuesday night at 8:10 pm ET in the second of their three-game set.