Jimmy Rollins Wins N.L. MVP

NEW YORK (AP) -- Jimmy Rollins won the National League MVP award Tuesday in a close race over Matt Holliday, boosted by speed and steady all-around play that drove the Philadelphia Phillies to their first playoff berth in 14 years.

The Gold Glove shortstop received 16 of 32 first-place votes and finished with 353 points in balloting by the Baseball Writers' Association of America.

Holliday, who led Colorado's surprising charge to the World Series, got 11 first-place votes and 336 points. Milwaukee slugger Prince Fielder came in third, with five first-place votes and 284 points.

It was the closest election for NL MVP since Atlanta third baseman Terry Pendleton beat out Pittsburgh's Barry Bonds by 15 points in 1991.

Rollins batted .296 with 30 homers, 94 RBIs and 41 steals from the leadoff spot, helping Philadelphia rally from a big September deficit to win the NL East. He led the league in runs (139) and triples (20), becoming the second consecutive Phillies player to win the MVP following Ryan Howard last year.

Rollins, left off the All-Star team in July, proved a prophet after saying in spring training that Philadelphia was the team to beat in a competitive division.

Holliday, the NL championship series MVP, hit .340 with 137 RBIs -- becoming the third player since 1967 to lead a league in both categories. He also had 36 homers and topped the NL in hits (216), total bases (386) and doubles (50).

"It's Jimmy Rollins' day and I don't want to step on his day," Holliday said in statement through the Rockies.

Voting took place before the postseason, when Holliday and the Rockies pulled off a three-game sweep of Philadelphia in the first round.

Holliday's performance in the wild-card tiebreaker against San Diego did count, however. He hit a tying triple off career saves leader Trevor Hoffman in the bottom of the 13th inning and scored the winning run on a shallow sacrifice fly with a headfirst dive at the plate. Still, it wasn't enough to catch Rollins.

New York Mets third baseman David Wright finished fourth in the balloting and Howard came in fifth. Braves slugger Chipper Jones, the 1999 winner, was sixth and Padres ace Jake Peavy, who won the Cy Young Award unanimously last week, finished seventh.

It was the seventh time a Phillies player took the honor. In addition to Rollins and Howard, Mike Schmidt won three times (1980, '81, '86), pitcher Jim Konstanty won in 1950 and outfielder Chuck Klein in 1932.

Rollins and Howard became the 11th pair of teammates to win the NL MVP in consecutive seasons, the first since Jeff Kent (2000) and Bonds (2001) with the San Francisco Giants. The previous NL shortstop to win the prize was Cincinnati's Barry Larkin in 1995.

AP Sports Writer Pat Graham in Denver contributed to this report.


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