3 Stars of the Games: Games 99 & 100

Ryan MacLeod
Contributing Writer

The Red Sox went into the first weekend after the All Star break needing only 1 win over the Yankees to win their 20th series of the season, and their 60th game. On Saturday they handed in a disappointing performance, losing 5-2 with a lackluster display of hitting. Sunday was a different story, it was a game that if the Sox had lost could have sent their season on a downward spiral, but instead gave them another boost of confidence. The Tampa Bay Rays were just 1 game back when the game started, and after a well over 4 hour, into the early Monday morning the Rays were back to 1.5 games back due to the bat of Mike Napoli. Sunday into Mondays game was another classic Red Sox vs Yankees game, one that everyone there will soon not forget. Here are the 3 stars of the 2 games:
Game 99:
Star 3: Brett Gardner
Gardner went 3-5 on Saturday, tying Overbay and Nunez for getting on base the most for the Yankees. He had 1 RBI, his 33rd of the season. It was the first run scored of the game on a single in the 5th inning.
Star 2: Robinson Cano
Cano only went 1-4 but had 2 RBI's, one that came on a single in the 7th inning and another that came as an insurance run in the 9th inning, a sacrifice fly. The 2 RBI's increased his total to 67 on the season.
Star 1: Hiroki Kuroda
Kuroda was dominant in his performance against the Sox on Saturday. He pitches 7 innings of 5 hit baseball allowing only 7 runs, before handing the ball over to the bullpen who did the rest for their starter, helping him improve to 9-6 on the year.
Game 100:
Star 3: Brett Gardner
Gardner had a good weekend for the Yankees, collecting 3 hits agiain in the Sunday night game. He went 3-4 with 1 RBI and 1 run scored. Gardner scored in the 1st inning and then singled in the 6th inning on a single.
Star 2: Shane Victorino
Victorino went 205 collecting 2 RBI's and increasing his season total to 26 on the year. He hit a 2 run single with the bases loaded in the 4th inning.
Star 1: Mike Napoli
Napoli stepped up to the plate in the 11th inning and turned on a 3-2 pitch and put it to straight away center field, all of Fenway knew that the ball was gone and the game was over. The ball landed 3 or 4 rows deep in one of the deepest parts of the ballpark for Napoli's second home run of the game. He went 2-6 with 2 home runs, 4 RBI's and 3 strikeouts. His 2 home runs increased his total to 13 on the season and his 4 RBI night increased his RBI total to 62.

The Sox are now only 9 wins away from their total last season, quite the turn around that almost nobody expected. While the Yankees series that just finished at Fenway was extremely important the team now plays the Tampa Bay Rays, who are only 1.5 games back in the standings. Some may say that this series is more important than the last, but when you are in the best division in baseball, and are one of the best teams in baseball every series is important. What do you think the key is to the Sox beating Tampa in the coming series? Leave your answer in the comments section below or tell me on twitter @RyanMacleod15.