They were 5 1/2 games out of first in the NL East on June 17, but thanks to a 21--8 record from the All-Star break through Sunday, they had a commanding eight-game lead.
Orlando Hernandez, RHP, Yankees
Since joining the Yankees' rotation on July 11, El Duque was 5--0 with a 2.08 ERA in his first seven starts.
Sidney Ponson, RHP, Orioles
After going 3--12 in the first half of the season, he was 5--0 with a 3.24 ERA in six starts since the All-Star break.
Texas starters had a 5.87 ERA in their last 44 games through Sunday and were a big reason why the team had blown a 4 1/2-game lead in the AL West.
Lance Berkman, LF, Astros
After slugging 14 home runs in April and May combined, he had knocked only four balls over the fence in 217 at bats.
The defending champs were 28--38 after May 30 largely because of an underachieving offense, which ranked ninth in the National League in hitting (.263).