Thursday, September 11, 2008
Angels Clinch West; Pena Homer Tops BoSox; Wright Powers Mets
Players of the Day from Wednesday, September 10, 2008 American League A former Red Sox, Carlos Pena blasted a Mike Timlin offering over the green monster in Fenway, lifting Tampa Bay to a 14-inning, 4-2 win over the Red Sox. Pena's 3-run homer gave the Rays a little more breathing room atop the AL East, as they took 2 of 3 at Boston and re-established a 2 1/2 game lead in the division. While the Red Sox remain in second place, they still have a firm grip on the wild card, holding a 5-game advantage over Minnesota. The Red Sox have one series remaining with Tampa, on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of next week. Notes: The LA Angels clinched the AL West title on Wednesday with a 4-2 win over the NY Yankees. The Angels had to wait for the Mariners to drop Texas, 8-7, to begin the celebration, but with 17 games left on the schedule, they had plenty of time on their hands. The Sept. 10 clinching is the earliest ever for the Western division. The previous mark was held by Oakland, which clinched the 1971 title on Sept. 15. Minnesota and Chicago both won, so the White Sox remain 1 game ahead in the Central. Chicago ended Toronto's 10-game win streak, 6-5, while the Twins romped past KC, 7-1. National League David Wright may be on his way to being named the NL MVP, but the competition is tough, especially from his own teammates. Wright hit his 28th home run of the season, doubled, singled twice, scored four times and drove in three runs as the Mets topped Washington, 13-10, and improved their lead in the NL East to 3 1/2 games over the Phillies. Wright is hitting .296 and has 109 RBI, but that's just a little better than the guys who are normally in front of and behind him in the lineup. Carlos Delgado has 104 and Carlos Beltran has 102 RBI. No other team in the majors has three players with 100 or more RBI. In fact, only one team, Houston, has two. Carlos Lee and Lance Berkman have both driven in exactly 100. Notes: The Dodgers keep rolling toward the post-season, winning for the 10th time in their last 11 games - a 7-2 mash of the Padres. The Diamondbacks continue to slump in second place, losing their 6th straight. What makes this LA story so intriguing is that prior to setting off on their current winning way, the Dodgers had lost 8 straight and 10 of 11. With that kind of consistency, even the current 3 1/2 game lead isn't safe in baseball's wackiest division. The Cubs and Brewers both won, so Chicago remains 4 1/2 ahead. Milwaukee has a 4-game edge on the Phillies for the wild card.