Monday, May 8, 2017

Sandy Leon's Two Homers Lead BoSox; Scott Feldman Blanks Giants For Cincy Sweep

Players of the Day for Sunday, May 7, 2017

American League

Leon: 2 HR, 4 RB
Boston defeated Minnesota, 17-6, to take their series in Minneapolis two games to one, but despite their 17-14 record, they're having a tough time remaining relevant in the AL East, where the Yankees have a 1/2 game lead over Baltimore. Boston continues to hang in, but they're four games out.

With the departure of David "Big Papi" Ortiz last season, many wondered where the Red Sox would find the power stroke to replace the future Hall of Famer. That question was answered in part on Sunday as the Sox hammered five balls out of Target Field, two of them by catcher Sandy Leon, who broke a 4-4 tie in the sixth inning with the first of two two-run blasts. In the ninth, Leon again homered with one aboard as the Red Sox tallied a 10-spot in the final frame.

Boston finally got some run support for ace starter Chris Sale, who didn't have his best stuff, allowing four runs on four hits over six innings. Striking out 10, he took the win, improving to 2-3.

National League

Feldman: CG, 4H, 0ER
With a record of 11-18, it wasn't as though the San Francisco Giants weren't having problems enough heading into Cincinnati Friday for a three-game series with the Reds, but by the time they left on Sunday, their issues had magnified, as the Reds swamped them three straight, by a combined score of 31-5, including Sunday's 4-0 whitewash.

The shutout was delivered courtesy of Scott Feldman, the 6'6" right-hander who tossed his fifth career complete game and third career shutout, blanking the Giants on four hits. Feldman, who walked one and struck out five, got tougher as the game progressed, giving up just one hit over the final three innings, getting the last three on ground balls to the right side.

Improving to 2-3 as he threw 81 of 119 pitches for strikes, Feldman gave the Reds their fifth straight win. Much later, when the Yankees beat the Cubs, 5-4 in 18 innings Sunday night, the Reds found themselves in first place in the NL Central division by 1/2 game over the Cardinals and a full game ahead of the Cubs.

The Reds absolutely dominated the slumping Giants, who now hold the worst record in the NL, at 11-21. Friday's 13-2 score and Saturday's 14-3 score indicate that not only are San Fran's pitchers having problems, but the bats aren't exactly humming either. San Francisco is dead last in the NL West, nine games behind division leader, Colorado.

The Reds host the Yankees for two games beginning Monday at 7:10 pm ET at Great American Ball Park. The Yankees have also won five straight including a three-game sweep of the Cubs. At 20-9, they have the best record in the majors.

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