|Bautista: Leading Man|
Toronto's good fortune is only partly due to their play, since they're 4-4 recently and just avoided a sweep in Kansas City with an 8-2 win on Sunday. Mostly, the position in the standings is due to the Yankees having lost 10 of their last 12 and the Red Sox going 4-6 in their last ten. It also didn't hurt that Baltimore and Tampa Bay played each other over the weekend, with the Orioles prevailing, two games to one.
The Blue Jays re-jiggered their lineup in a most unusual way in their series-ending win at KC, putting one of their power hitters, Jose Bautista, at the top of the order, when he's most accustomed to batting third or fourth.
Toronto's move paid off in spades as Bautista tied the game at 2-2 in the fifth with a two-run homer, his 13th of the year. Drawing a walk with the bases loaded in the sixth, Bautista gave the Jays a 3-2 lead, and capped off his effort at the leadoff spot with an RBI single in the ninth, going 2-for-4 with four RBI.
Kansas City's loss dropped the Royals back to .500 (37-37), 2 1/2 games behind Minnesota, which took over the AL Central lead with a three-game sweep at Cleveland, including Sunday's 4-0 win. Kansas City hits the road for three games in Detroit on Tuesday, while the Blue Jays begin an important stretch Tuesday, starting with three games at home with Baltimore, followed by a three-game visit from the Red Sox. After that, they head to New York for a three-game series with the Yankees.
By all appearances, the AL East is about to become even more interesting.
|Bellinger: 25 HR leads NL|
Now that the Dodgers have won 10 straight, including a sweep of their three-game series with visiting Colorado, LA has opened a two-game lead over Arizona, dropping Colorado 4 1/2 back.
Completing the sweep emphatically with a 12-6 mauling of the Rockies, the Dodger bats were live, getting 13 hits off six Colorado hurlers. Rookie phenom, Cody Bellinger, socked a pair of home runs to enhance his National League-leading total to 25. Bellinger's shots were both of the two-run variety, pumping his RBI total to 55.
The Dodgers have now swept their last three series, taking three from the Reds and four from the Mets before shutting down the Rockies. Prior to a 12-5, June 12 loss at Cleveland - their last taste of defeat - the Dodgers had won six straight, so they're on a 16-1 run and are 18-5 in the month of June.
Next up for the Dodgers are a pair of two-game series with the Angels, with two hosted by the Dodgers before heading to Anaheim for the return dates. The home-and-home series starts Monday at 10:10 pm ET.