Friday, June 2, 2017

Yankees Paste Blue Jays, 12-2, Aaron Hicks Plates 6; Adam Wainwright Paces Cards Win Over Dodgers

Players of the Day for Thursday, June 1, 2017

American League

Hicks: 3 doubles, 6 RBI
The first place New York Yankees opened a four game series in Toronto in style, routing the Blue Jays, 12-2.

Highlighting the offensive explosion was Aaron Hicks, who belted three doubles and a single, driving in six runs and scoring twice.

Hicks began his barrage in the first inning, stroking a bases-clearing double to the gap in right-center, driving in three runs to put the Yanks up, 4-0. In the seventh, Hicks doubled in another run and scored, and doubled again in the ninth, plating two and scoring again. Hicks also singled in the third inning, but was stranded, one of the four innings in which the Baby Bombers didn't score.

Batting .317 with eight home runs, 30 RBI and seven steals, Hicks has managed to fit into a crowded starting outfield, largely replacing Jacoby Ellsbury. Hicks has improved vastly from last year when he batted .217. He's already tied his home run total from 2015 and is one behind the 31 RBI from last season.

With the win, the Yankees improved their lead in the AL East to three games over Boston, 7-5 losers at Baltimore. They also slowed the progress of the Blue Jays, which had crept to within 5 1/2 games prior to Thursday's defeat.

Game two of the series is slated for a Friday 7:07 pm ET start at the Rogers Center.

National League

Wainwright: Power stroke
Adam Wainwright may not have been at his best on the mound in St. Louis' 2-0 victory over the visiting Dodgers, but he made sure of his sixth win against three losses with a second inning two-run home run and made it stand up.

Wainwright needed 101 pitches to get through six innings, but he throttled the power-packed Dodger lineup on four hits, walking two, striking out six.

Hitting for power is no fluke for Wainwright, now in his 12th year as a pro, all with the Cardinals. Thursday's belt was his second of the season, and he hit two fingers last year and has 10 in his career.

Last season might have been his best at the plate, driving in 18 runs, though batting just .210.

The St. Louis win finalized the four-game series with LA at two games apiece. The Dodgers took the first two, but St. Louis won the final two, leaving the Dodgers 1/2 game behind Arizona and Colorado in the NL West and the Cardinals 1 1/2 behind Milwaukee in the Central. Three games back are the Cubs, losers of six straight.

St. Louis heads to Chicago for a three-game series starting Friday. The Dodgers are at Milwaukee this weekend for three games.

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