Cubs manager Joe Maddon issued a vote of confidence for struggling second baseman Addison Russell.
Russell's going through a major slump right now and has just two hits in his last 31 at-bats. Joe Maddon didn't seem worried when asked about the 22-year-old, though, saying "I think he looks good at the plate" and professing confidence that Russell will snap out of the slump soon enough. He's hitting .229/.294/.361 this season.
Wilson Ramos clobbered a solo home run in the sixth inning on Sunday, powering the Nationals to a 3-1 victory over the visiting Giants.
His blast off George Kontos broke a 1-1 and gave the Nationals a lead they wouldn't relinquish. The hard-hitting backstop even provided a valuable insurance run with an RBI single in the eighth inning. He finished the night 2-for-3 plus a walk and scored a pair of runs. He's now hitting .266/.294/.411 with eight homers and 38 RBI on the season.
Drew Storen secured his league-leading 25th save on Sunday, retiring the heart of the Giants lineup to preserve a two-run advantage.
Storen dispatched of Brandon Belt on a swinging third strike to start the inning, but walked Buster Posey to bring the tying run to the plate. He battled back nicely though, getting Brandon Crawford and Gregor Blanco to end the proceedings. Storen owns a terrific 1.97 ERA and 37/7 K/BB ratio over 32 innings.
Jordan Zimmermann pitched brilliantly in Sunday's victory over the Giants, allowing just one run on three hits over seven strong innings.
The right-hander racked up eight strikeouts on the evening while issuing just one walk. The only blemish on his night came on a solo home run by Brandon Crawford in the fourth inning. The 29-year-old is enjoying another terrific season, compiling a 3.04 ERA, 1.23 WHIP and 77/20 K/BB ratio over 106 2/3 innings. He'll look to wrap up the first half on a high note when he squares off against the Orioles in Baltimore on Saturday.
Brandon Crawford swatted his 12th home run of the season in a losing effort against the Nationals on Sunday Night.
The solo blast off Nats starter Jordan Zimmerman produced the extent of the Giants offense on the night, and was Crawford's lone hit in four at-bats. He has already bettered his previous career best in home runs (10 in 2015) and is well on his way to a career year in his age-28 season. The slick-fielding shortstop is slashing .265/.339/.473 with the aforementioned 12 long balls and 49 RBI.
Albert Pujols blasted his 25th home run of the season on Sunday as the Angels routed the Rangers 12-6 in Arlington.
Pujols finished the night 2-for-5. He had an RBI single as part of a three-run uprising in the first inning, then tagged Colby Lewis for a solo shot in the fourth to put the Halos up 8-1. He's having a terrific first half, slashing .265/.337/.557 with 25 bombs and 53 RBI.
Kole Calhoun had a nice day at the dish in Sunday's victory over the Rangers, going 2-for-5 with a homer and four RBI.
Calhoun also scored a pair of runs in the ballgame. His three-run blast off Anthony Ranaudo in the fifth inning increased the Angels lead to 12-1. With the two-hit attack, he's now hitting .266/.320/.403 on the season with nine long balls and 46 RBI.
C.J. Wilson cruised to an easy victory over the Rangers on Sunday, allowing three runs on six hits in his six frames.
Wilson walked two and punched out four in the contest. The Angels provided 12 early runs of support for the left-hander, and all he had to do was throw strikes and keep the Rangers from mounting any major rallies. He's enjoying a nice first half, compiling a 3.82 ERA and 93/34 K/BB ratio in 108 1/3 innings. He'll make his final start of the first half on Saturday against the Mariners in Seattle.