Friday, April 21, 2017

Ryan Zimmerman Homers As Nats Sweep Braves; Steven Souza Jr. A Single Short Of Cycle For Rays

Players of the Day for Thursday, April 20, 2017

American League

Souza Jr: Single Short
Normally, when one comes close to hitting for the cycle, it is the triple or home run that's the elusive part.

For Steven Souza Jr., a simple single kept him out of the record books in Tampa Bay's 8-1 trouncing of the Detroit Tigers.

Batting in the leadoff spot for the Rays, Souza countered Ian Kinsler's leadoff homer for the Tigers in the first inning by doubling and scoring in the bottom of the first to tie the game at 1-1. He followed up by tripling in a pair of runs in the second, putting the Rays ahead, 3-1.

After flying out in the fourth and striking out in the sixth, with a 5-1 lead, Souza wasn't likely thinking about the cycle, but he managed to come as close as one can by socking a solo homer in the eighth inning to complete the scoring for the Rays. He finished 3-for-5 with three runs and three RBI.

Souza ended the day batting .349 with three homers and 15 RBI.

Ryan Zimmerman
Sweeping the three-game series from the Tigers, the Rays are 9-8 and remain home for a three-game set with Houston, starting on Friday night at 7:10 pm ET

National League

Thanks largely to the effort of Ryan Zimmerman, Washington's Stephen Strasberg pitched just well enough to win his second game without a loss and keep the Nationals the clear leader in the NL East.

Strasberg allowed six hits and two runs over seven innings, striking out 10, but Zimmerman's two-run homer in the sixth inning - his fifth of the year - off Atlanta's R.A. Dickey helped give Strasberg the 3-2 win, sweeping the Braves three straight, while leaving the Nationals atop the NL East by two games over the idle Miami Marlins. Zimmerman also doubled in the second inning, scoring the Nationals' first run on a sac fly by Michael Taylor. He finished 2-for-4 with two runs and two RBI.

Zimmerman, a stalwart at either first or third base for the Nats since entering the majors in 2005, is batting .389, with six doubles and 13 RBI and is yet another reason the Nationals are looking more and more like the class of the National League.

With the sweep, the Nationals have the best record in the league at 10-5, and begin a three-game series with the Mets on Friday. Game time is 7:10 pm ET.

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