Saturday, September 29, 2007

Phillies in first; Cubs, Bosox clinch; Arizona is in

National League With the conclusion of Friday's games, the playoff picture in the National League suddenly became much clearer. The Phillies took a one-game lead over the Mets in the NL East - the first time they've been in first place all season. The Cubs clinched the Central division title and the Diamondbacks assured themselves of a playoff spot with a win over the Rockies, ending their 11-game win streak, the longest in the majors this season. The Brewers are out and San Diego leads Colorado and the Mets by 2 games in the wild card hunt. The Phillies, who were 7 games behind the Mets as of September 12, are 12-3 since, while the Mets have stumbled to a 4-11 record over the same span. Philadelphia needs just one more win or one Mets loss to clinch at least a tie in the NL East. Washington 0 Philadelphia 6 - Phillies' ace Cole Hamels (right) was at his best when it counted the most, slicing through the Nationals lineup for eight innings, fanning 13 and allowing just 6 hits and no earned runs. Without a win since August 16, Hamels' (15-5) 8 inning blanking was his best this season. Florida 7 NY Mets 4 - The Mets lost their 5th straight and 11th in their last 15 games, as their extended team slump sent them tumbling into second place and in danger of missing the playoffs completely. Still with slim hope, the Mets can reach the playoffs under a variety of situations. If they win both of their remaining games and the Phillies lose theirs, New York would take the NL East title. One loss and one Philly win gives the division to the Phillies. If the Mets win both and San Diego loses both of their games, they would tie the Padres for the wild card and force a playoff on Monday. Arizona 4 Colorado 2 - Brandon Webb (right) did what no other pitcher could do against Colorado over the past 12 games - he got a win. Webb (18-10) gave up two runs over 7 gritty innings while his teammates scored four times off Rockies' starter Jeff Francis, the big blow being Conor Jackson's two-run homer in the third which staked Webb to a 3-0 lead that he would not relinquish. The D-Backs are still being dogged by the Padres and they need just one more win or a San Diego loss to clinch at least a tie for the NL West title. They have already clinched at least the wild card spot. Colorado must win both of their remaining games and have San Diego lose theirs to earn are share of the wild card spot.
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Chi Cubs 6 Cincinnati 0 - Carlos Zambrano (18-13) shut out the Reds for 6 innings, propelling the Cubs to the NL Central crown. Alfonso Soriano hit his 32nd home run and Derek Lee smashed a 2-run shot for his 22nd of the season. Amazingly, the Cubs, with the worst record of any remaining playoff contender, become the first to clinch a division. San Diego 6 Milwaukee 3 - Shortstop Khalil Greene (right), who's been providing big hits all season, doubled home Adrian Gonzalez in the sixth inning to break a 3-3 tie and then sealed the win with a 2-run homer in the 8th - his 25th - to end Milwaukee's playoff hopes and keep the Padres one game behind Arizona in the NL West. No matter what they do the next two games, the Padres are assured of at least a tie for the wild card. They lead both the Rockies and Mets by 2 games. Other NL Scores St. Louis 6 Pittsburgh 1 Atlanta 7 Houston 2 San Francisco 3 LA Dodgers 8 American League Minnesota 2 Boston 5 - The Red Sox wrapped up their first AL East title in 12 years as Daisuke Matsuzaka (right) improved to 15-12, allowing 8 hits and 2 runs over 8 innings of work, fanning 8 Minnesota batters. David Ortiz was 3-4 and smashed his 35th home run of the season. The Red Sox will host the LA Angels in the first round of the playoffs. NY Yankees 9 Baltimore 10, 10 innings - Baltimore tied the game with 3 runs off closer Mariano Rivera and Melvin Mora squeezed home Tike Redman with the game winner in the 10th. The Yankees had the bases loaded in the top of the 10th but could not get a run home and end up as the wild card entrant in the playoffs, scheduled to start Tuesday at Cleveland. Alex Rodriguez hit his 54th homer, drove in four runs and scored twice, capping a brilliant season, sure to win the MVP award. Rodriguez pushed his RBI total to 155, tying him with Joe DiMaggio for 10th place on the Yankees' all-time list. The number is a career high for A-Rod and the most by a Yankee in 70 years. Rodriguez also set a career mark for runs scored with 142, one better than he had with Seattle in 1996. Other AL Scores Tampa Bay 4 Toronto 5 Cleveland 5 Kansas City 3 Detroit 2 Chi White Sox 5 LA Angels 2 Oakland 0 Texas 4 Seattle 6

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