Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Edwin Encarnation Powers Indians Over Angels, 11-7; Willson Contreras HR Leads Cubs Past White Sox

Players of the Day for Tuesday, July 25, 2017

American League

Encarnacion: walk-off GS
Kansas City has won seven straight, but they're still haven't caught the Indians, who lead by 1 1/2 in the AL Central, Cleveland winning their fifth straight in dramatic fashion Tuesday night at Progressive Field.

The Indians built a 7-0 lead in the second inning, started by Edwin Encarnacion, who doubled to lead off the inning and subsequently scored. As the Angels fought back to erase that lead, he would play a critical role in Cleveland's 11-7, 11th-inning victory.

LA scored four runs in the third, two in the fifth and one in the sixth to tie the game, their bullpen doing yeoman's work keeping Cleveland bats at bay.

Finally, the game reached extra innings, and, in the bottom of the 11th, Encarnation again appeared at the plate, this time with the bases loaded due to a pair of walks and a third intentional base on balls to Michael Brantley, loading the bases.

Big mistake.

Encarnacion took Bud Norris' offering into the center field stands, clearing the bases with a walk-off grand slam. It was Encarnacion's 21st home run, increasing to his RBI total to 59.

The Angels will try to shake off Tuesday's shining defeat and bounce back when the teams take the field for game two of the series, Wednesday at 7:10 pm ET.

National League

Contreras: 3-5, HR, 4 RBI
Taking in the all-star break seems to have been a positive for the Chicago Cubs, as they've been red hot since, going 9-2 following the mid-summer classic and drawing to within 1/2 game of the NL Central leader, Milwaukee, with a 7-2 win over the White Sox

The Brewers haven't had such good fortune, winning on Tuesday for just the fourth time in the 11 games after the break with an 8-0 win at Washington, clinging to first place in the division.

Chicago starter John Lackey and four relievers got more than enough runs off the bat of catcher Willson Contreras, who got the Cubs going with a three-run homer in the opening inning at Wrigley, later adding a couple of singles, one of them driving in another run in the sixth inning.

The second year receiver is gaining attention as budding star in the NL. He's already surpassed last season's totals with 16 home runs and 56 RBI, and, since the all-star break he's been a major factor in the success of the Cubs, going 15-for-44 (.341) with six homers and 14 RBI.

He's also durable, playing in 89 of the Cubs' 99 games this season.

After splitting the series a game apiece, the Windy City squads take their interleague rivalry to the home of the White Sox, Guaranteed Rate Field, for another pair of games, Wednesday and Thursday. On Friday, the Cubs travel to Milwaukee for a three-game showdown with the Brewers.

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