Kinsler Has Game Of Lifetime
Ian Kinsler had the kind of game that most baseball players only dream about. He hit for the cycle with two doubles, a triple, a homer and two singles and was 6 for 6 at the plate. Kinsler was the second player to hit for the cycle in three days as Orlando Hudson had accomplished the same feat on Monday in the Dodgers 11-1 defeat of the Giants.
Kinsler drove in four runs during the game yesterday and had 13 total bases. He started the game hitting .375 and ended it hitting .474. His slugging percentage increased from .719 to .947 which is third in the majors behind Nick Swisher and Evan Longoria. Kinsler is now leading the majors in hits with 18, doubles with 7, is tied with Albert Pujols for the lead in runs batted in with 13, total bases with 36, his .474 batting average is third in the majors behind Cristian Guzman at .515 and Miguel Cabrera at .486 and he also leads the majors in extra basehits with 11.
Kinsler has never played in more than 130 games in a season and in 2008 was on his way to a career season when he had a season ending injury. He had 18 homers and 71 RBI’s in 2008 despite missing 41 games. He leads or is tied with Josh Hamilton in every major offensive category this season. He is almost 500 points ahead of Hamilton in slugging percentage with Kinsler having a .947 percentage while Hamilton is slugging .459.
It was ironic that Kinsler would be wearing No.42 in memory of Jackie Robinson since Robinson was the first black player to hit for the cycle on August 29, 1948. On September 1 of 2008 Stephen Drew and Adrian Beltre hit for the cycle on the same day for only the second time in major league history. That feat had not been accomplished since 1920 when Bobby Veach and George Burns became the first players to hit for the cycle on the same day.
Armando Galarraga 2-0, 0.68 pitched the Tigers to a 9-0 win over the White Sox….Tim Wakefield 1-1 came within five outs of pitching a no-hitter as the Red Sox took a 8-2 win over the A’s as Wakefield limited the A’s to four hits in a complete game victory….Marlon Byrd and Nelson Cruz may not have hit for the cycle like their teammate Ian Kinsler but they still had a very productive game in the Rangers 19-6 defeat of the Orioles. Byrd and Cruz combined to drive in nine runs with Cruz driving in six and Byrd driving in three. Byrd was 5 for 6 in the game as his batting average rose to .417. Andruw Jones scored four times in the game and has four runs batted in already after only eleven at bats. Last season he had only twelve extra basehits in 209 at bats and he already has four this season.
The Blue Jays smashed the Twins by a 12-2 score behind a 16 hit attack with Aaron Hill having a 4 for 5 game and driving in three runs. Scott Richmond 1-0 only allowed one earned run in 6 1/3 innings to take the victory….Ichiro Suzuki hit a grand slam as the Mariners won their sixth game in a row and extended their AL West lead to three games over second place A’s and Rangers. Ken Griffey Jr. hit his 400th homer as a Mariner and the 613th of his career in the 11-3 Mariners win over the last place Angels. The Angels starters have given up 17 runs in 48 innings but the Angels bullpen has allowed 19 runs in 22 innings.
Jason Marquis 2-0, 1.93 defeated his former team as the Rockies outscored the Cubs 5-2. The only bright spot for the Cubs was that Derrek Lee had came into the series with the Rockies hitting .080 with 2 hits in 25 trips to the plate. In the last two games he has been 5 for 7 and has improved his average to .219….Joel Pineiro 2-0 didn’t have his best stuff as he allowed five runs and nine hits in five innings but the Cardinals offense picked him and he took the 12-7 win over the Diamondbacks….The Marlins and Braves were tied 4-4 after five innings but the Marlins scored six unanswered runs to win the game 10-6 as the Marlins stretched their lead over the Braves to two games in the NL East.
Mike Hampton 1-1 pitched six scoreless innings while striking out eight as the Astros defeated the Pirates 4-1….Oliver Perez 1-1 took the 7-2 win as the Mets defeated the Padres 7-2….Mike Cameron homered twice and drove in three runs as the Brewers took a 9-3 win over the Reds….The Dodgers defeated the Giants by only one run in their 5-4 win over the Giants but outhit them 13 to 4. Orlando Hudson who was hitting .250 before hitting for the cycle on Monday followed up his 4 for 5 game when hitting for the cycle with a 3 for 5 game yesterday and is now hitting .368. Clayton Kershaw has pitched well in both of his starts but still has no decision. He has a 1.50 ERA after two starts. Kershaw struck out 13 batters yesterday in only seven innings while allowing only one run and one hit.
Jackie Robinson Day Observed Yesterday
Major league players paid tribute to Jackie Robinson yesterday as major leaguers wore his No.42 in his memory. Robinson became the first black player in the majors after 78 years of blacks not being allowed to play in the majors. Now thanks to Branch Rickey who was willing to break the color barrier by signing Robinson to a Dodgers contract blacks have been playing baseball for 62 years.
Robinson endured the taunts of players and fans after becoming the first black player in major league baseball and was hurt physically when players would spike him intentionally. It took a special person to succeed in baseball despite facing racism every time he stepped on the field.
The following paragraph tells about how some of his own teammates refused to play with Robinson on the team and how Leo Durocher took a stand against this racism on the team:
Some Dodger players insinuated they would sit out rather than play alongside Robinson. The brewing mutiny ended when Dodger management took a stand for Robinson. Manager Leo Durocher informed the team, “I do not care if the guy is yellow or black, or if he has stripes like a zebra. I’m the manager of this team, and I say he plays. What’s more, I say he can make us all rich. And if any of you cannot use the money, I will see that you are all traded.”
Jackie had this to say about Pee Wee Reese:
“What a decent human being,” Robinson said, speaking about Pee Wee Reese, who befriended him and supported his transition into the major leagues. “How much he helped me. But he refuses to take the credit.”
Robinson missed several years of playing baseball in the majors because he was 28 when he played his first game. He won the NL MVP in 1949 which proved he had persevered and still was able to become the best player in the league. Robinson had great plate discipline since he struck out only 27 times in 704 at bats in 1949 and during his career walked 740 times and struck out only 291 times in 5802 plate appearances.
Branch Rickey knew he had to find the perfect player to integrate baseball and he found him in Jackie Robinson. No other baseball player had more pressure on them at the start of their career than Robinson but he was the special person that had what it took to succeed and enable the black players today to wear a major league uniform.
Robinson was admitted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1962 only ten years before his death in 1972. There may be players who had more hits and home runs than Robinson but no one player has made the lasting impact on the game that Robinson has made.