Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Jose Altuve Swipes 35th Base, Leads Houston over Seattle; Adrian Gonzalez Hero in Dodgers Win over Giants

Players of the Day for Monday, August 31, 2015

American League

Altuve: 35 SB leads AL
Gonzalez: Game winner!
Not to belabor the point with a poor pun, but the stolen base race in the American League is a complete runaway, as Jose Altuve of the Astros swiped his 35th base in Houston's 8-3 win over the visiting Mariners.

Altuve, who went 3-for-5 and scored twice also raised his batting average to .316, tying him for fourth in the league with Prince Fielder of the Rangers. Only 12 players are batting over .300 in the AL this season.

With a lead of nine in a season in which stealing a base has become something of a novelty, Altuve should have no problems keeping his legs and lead well ahead of the remainder of the league's speedsters. Second in the AL is Kansas City's Lorenzo Cain, with 26 steals, followed by Oakland's Billy Burns, who has 25. It's doubtful either will even get to Altuve's current level, much less catch him as he's on pace for over 40 thefts.

Houston's victory in the opener of their three-game series with Seattle, boosted their lead in the West to four games over the Texas Rangers, who lost to San Diego, 7-0. Also falling further off the pace were the Angels, who lost their fourth straight - dropping an 11-5 decision at Oakland - and are 7 1/2 back.

Game two of the series with Seattle is Tuesday night at Minute Maid Park in Houston, beginning at 8:10 pm EDT.

National League

Adrian Gonzalez had just two hits in seven official at-bats in Monday's 5-4, 14-inning LA win over the Giants, but they made the difference as the two NL Californian teams faced off in the first of a three-game series in Los Angeles.

Whacking his 25th home run of the year in the sixth inning, Gonzalez's two-run shot evened the score at 3-all, but his big blow came in the bottom of the 14th, deep into the night, singling in the game-winner with the bases loaded and nobody.

A.J. Ellis trotted home as Gonzalez stroked a single to left, helping the Dodgers get a little more breathing room in their quest for the NL West pennant, dropping second-place San Francisco 4 1/2 games back.

The three RBI for Gonzalez gave him 78 on the season, tying him with Chicago's Anthony Rizzo for 7th in the league.

The Giants will try to get even with their rivals to the South when the series resumes, Tuesday at 7:10 pm PDT.

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