Thursday, June 22, 2017

Salvador Perez Grand Slam Propels Royals Past Red Sox; Brandon Drury's 6 RBI Lead Arizona's 16-5 Romp At Colorado

Players of the Day for Wednesday, June 21, 2017

American League

Perez: Grand Slam
Boston's hold on first place in the AL East didn't last very long. In fact, it was just one day.

When the Red Sox topped Kansas City, 8-3, on Tuesday, the Yankees were losing their seventh straight, in an 8-3 loss to the Angels. That put Boston in first place by 1/2 game. Wednesday night's results were the opposite, with the Yankees ending their skein with an 8-4 win over LA, while Boston was losing to the Royals, 6-4, giving the Yankees a 12 game edge.

What turned out to be the biggest issue for the Red Sox in their road loss to KC was the inability to successfully retire Royals' catcher Salvador Perez.

Perez was 3-for-3, but really didn't do much damage until the eighth inning. In the second, he singled, moving Eric Hosmer to third, but was thrown out at second base on a double play as Hosmer scored. Perez walked and was left stranded at first in the fourth inning, and singled again in the seventh, eventually advancing to third, but the Royals ended the inning with the bases loaded, failing to cut into a 4-2 Boston lead.

After three consecutive walks to open the bottom of the eighth, Perez came to the plate with the bases full. Perez made a huge impact, launching his 15th home run of the season, a 412-foot left field grand slam that put the Royals ahead for good, 6-4.

The leading vote-getter at catcher in the American League all star balloting, Perez will likely be the starter. He has more than a 400,000 vote lead over Houston's Brian McCann and the Yankees' Gary Sanchez and will be making his fifth straight all star appearance when the two leagues meet July 11 at Marlins Park in Miami.

Kansas City's win kept them in third place, 3 1/2 behind the Indians in the AL Central. Minnesota is second, 1 1/2 back. The Royals took the series, two games to one. Since their 10-20 start, the Royals have gone 25-16 and will have a chance to reach .500 when they host Toronto Friday at 8:15 pm ET in the opener of a three game series.

Boston heads home for a seven game home stand, beginning Friday against the Angels.

National League

Drury: 4-for-6, 6 RBI
The Dodgers won their sixth straight game to take over first place in the torrid NL West as Arizona did the LA boys a favor, ending Colorado's six-game win streak in a 16-5 rout.

Coupled with LA's 8-2 win over the Mets, LA has a 1/2 game lead over Colorado. Arizona is 1 1/2 back.

What made the difference for the Diamondbacks in the second game of the three-game series in Denver was, significantly, Colorado's pitching. Arizona hammered four Rockies' hurlers for 20 hits, a relentless attack spearheaded by second baseman Brandon Drury who was 4-for-6 and drove in six runs.

After Mark Reynolds gave the Rockies a 1-0 lead in the second, the Diamondbacks responded, putting up a 10-spot in the fourth inning. Drury got the scoring started with a two-run double and ended the inning's tally with an RBI single. 14 players went to the plate in the frame, which included nine hits (three doubles) and a pair of walks.

Drury was far from done. however, singling home a run in the sixth and two more in the ninth.

In his third year with Arizona, Drury is on pace for a solid season, batting .304 with eight homers and 36 RBI.

Arizona and Colorado meet in the rubber game of the three-game series, Thursday, 3:10 pm ET. Later, the Dodgers will be going for a sweep of the Mets in their four-game series. Game time is 10:10 pm ET.

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