Friday, May 12, 2017

Mike Napoli's Two Homers Blast Rangers Past Padres; Nolan Arenado Leads Rockies Over Dodgers, 10-7

Players of the Day for Thursday, May 11, 2017

American League

Everybody's chasing Houston the in AL West, including the Texas Rangers, who are in last place, 8 1/2 out, but just 1 1/2 out of second place (Houston leads Seattle by seven games).

Napoli HRs sink Padres
Given their lineup, Texas ought to be a contender, but, while their division rivals, the Astros, have blazed a path to prominence, the Rangers have struggled to a 16-20 mark, which gets you nothing but fan anger and finger-pointing.

The Rangers won their third straight on Thursday, defeating the Padres by a 5-2 score. The game was won almost entirely on the bat of DH Mike Napoli, who homered in the bottom of the eighth off Padre starter, Clayton Richard, with a solo shot to left center, halving San Diego's lead to 2-1.

In the ninth, Napoli again came plate-ward, this time with the score tied, 2-2, with one out, after Texas scratched out a run off reliever Brandon Maurer. The well-traveled slugger delivered a three-run, walk-off blast sending the Padres to their thrid straight loss and seveth defeat in their last eight games (San Diego is 13-23 and arguably the worst team n the majors).

Napoli's big, four-RBI game maight signal a breakout for both him and the Rangers. Napoli is batting just .178 with seven homers and 17 RBI, well shy of what is considered his career year, last season with the Indians, when he socked 34 home runs and knocked in 101 runs.

Having finished with three straight wins in the interleague games against San Diego, Texas continues its eight-game home stand on Friday with the first of three games, hosting the A's at 8:10 pm ET.

National League
Arenado key for Rockies

The Rockies continue to make converts to their cause in the NL West, the latest coming at the expense of the LA Dodgers, who helplessly watched Colorado pile up a 10-0 lead en route to a 10-7 victory, hiking their lead in the division to 2 1/2 games.

Pounding starter, Hyun-Jin-Ryu (1-5), for all 10 runs (only five earned), the Rockies took advantage of six walks and banged out eight hits in the first four innings. They scored two in the first, five in the second and three in the fourth before the Dodgers mounted a challenge in the latter stages of the game, eventually falling short.

Keying the run barrage was third baseman and two-time all-star, Nolan Arenado, who stroked a single and a pair of doubles in four at-bats, scoring three times and driving in a pair.

Arenado was a major contender for NL MVP last season when he socked 41 homers and drove in 133 runs. He's led the NL in home runs and RBI in each of the last two seasons and is currently riding a six-game hitting streak, batting .309 with eight dingers and 24 RBI.

The Dodgers will have a chance to redeem themselves Friday, when the Rockies host game two of the four-game series, starting at 8:40 pm ET at Coors Field.

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