Saturday, October 1, 2011

Today's MLB Postseason Game Balls

Game Balls are traditionally given to the player who turns in the best performance in a particular game. We had four playoff games today so let's hand out some hardware:

BREWERS 4 DIAMONDBACKS 1 - Milwaukee leads 1-0

Ryan Braun went 3 for 4, scored a pair of runs and threw out Willie Bloomquist at home in the first inning, and Prince Fielder broke the game open with a 2-run homer in the bottom of the 7th, but my Game Ball goes to Yovani Gallardo. The 25 year old right-hander took a shutout into the 8th against a tough Arizona lineup and outpitched 21 game winner Ian Kennedy in leading Milwaukee to a big Game 1 win. In 8 innings of work, Gallardo allowed just one run on four hits while striking out 9. Of the four hits that Gallardo gave up, two of them came in the first inning, but after Justin Upton's first inning single Gallardo wouldn't give up another hit until Bloomquist singled with one out in the 6th.
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PHILLIES 11 CARDINALS 6 - Philadelphia leads 1-0

Kyle Lohse, backed by a 3-run homer in the first from Lance Berkman, was more or less cruising until the 6th inning. But Ryan Howard changed the complexion of the game in one swing of the bat. Down 3-1 with Hunter Pence and Jimmy Rollins aboard and one out, Ryan Howard launched a 3-run home run into the second deck in right field giving the Phillies a lead they would never relinquish. Howard would add a 7th inning sacrifice fly giving him 4 runs batted in as the Phillies went on to win 11-6 and took a 1-0 lead in the series. Howard did not homer in 33 postseason at bats last year.
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RANGERS 8 RAYS 6 - Series tied 1-1

After Tampa's Kelly Shoppach stole the show in Game 1, Game 2 was Texas catcher Mike Napoli's time to shine. Napoli tied the game in the 4th with a 2-run single off of James Shields, scored a pair of runs, and threw out B.J. Upton at third on a stolen base attempt. In a 2-run game, and with the never-say-die Rays in it until the end, it was Napoli's contributions that made the difference.
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YANKEES 9 TIGERS 3 - New York leads 1-0

Rookie Ivan Nova was terrific as he shut the Tigers down until the 9th inning when he started to tire, but I'm going to give my Game Ball to Robinson Cano. Cano broke a 1-1 tie with an rbi double off the top of the left-field wall with 2 outs in the 5th, and then crushed a slider from Al Alburquerque over the right field wall for a 2-out grand slam in the 6th turning a close game into a blowout. And then just for good measure, he added another rbi double off of Daniel Schlereth in the bottom of the 8th. All six of Cano's rbis came with two outs as the Yankees took an early lead in the series.
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