Friday, September 19, 2008
Longoria's 3 HRs Can't Top Twins; Baker Leads Marlins to 8th Straight
Players of the Day from Thursday, September 18, 2008 American League Evan Longoria was probably going to win the Rookie of the Year award anyway, but his performance Thursday night against Minnesota probably clinched it. Unfortunately, Longoria's 3 home runs and 4 RBI weren't enough to prevent Tampa Bay from losing to the Twins, 11-8. Longoria hit a two-run homer in the first inning, and solo shots in the 4th and 7th, the last one giving the Rays an 8-6 lead. Minnesota, however, scored five runs in the 9th inning to ruin the Rays' night and tighten the races in the AL East and Central. The Yanks spanked the White Sox on Bobby Abreu's 2-homer, 6-RBI effort, 9-2, shrinking Chicago's lead over the Twins to 1 1/2 games. The Red Sox were idle, so they now trail the Rays by the same margin. Notes: LA's Francisco Rodriguez picked up save #59 in the Angels' 6-4 win at Oakland, extending his own record. National League Talk about flying under the radar. While all eyes have been focused on the Phillies and Mets, the Florida Marlins won their 8th straight, thanks to rookie catcher John Baker's 2 double, 1 single, 4 RBI night in the Marlin's 7-1 win over Houston. Even more amazing to those of us who watch the standings religiously is that Florida's win over the Astros was Houston's 5th straight loss, yet the Astros are just 3 1/2 games behind the flagging Brewers. Both the Marlins and Astros have shots at the wild card, albeit long ones. Currently, they trail the Mets by 5 games in the wild card. The Marlins, in particular, can help themselves out beginning Friday when they begin a 3-game series with the Phillies in Florida. After a make-up game with Cincinnati, they play 3 at Washington before closing out the season with 3 at New York. The Marlins are 5 1/2 behind the AL East-leading Phillies. Notes: Derrek Lee singled home Jason Marquis in the bottom of the 12th inning to send the Cubs home winners and shave their magic number for clinching the Central down to 2 after taking two of three from Milwaukee. The Brewers' hopes are fading fast. They are 1 1/2 behind the Mets in the wild card and an impossible 9 games behind the Cubs in the division. In the West, the Dodgers and Diamondbacks both won, but the Dodgers took another step closer to the divisional title, dropping their magic number to 7. They lead Arizona by 3 1/2 games. Arizona's 3-2 home win over the Giants may have significance toward the Cy Young award. The D-Backs did what no other team had been able to do since July 20: they beat Tim Lincecum (17-4), who pitched all 8 innings for the Giants, ending his 6-game win streak.