Monday, September 15, 2008

A-Rod Has a Shot at HR Title; Zambrano No-Hits Astros

Players of the Day from Sunday, September 14, 2008 American League Alex Rodriguez hasn't had his best season, but the Yankees may still have some impact on the races and A-Rod might win the home run title. Rodriguez staked the Yankees to an early lead with his 17th career grand slam in the first inning of New York's 8-4 win over Tampa Bay. It was his 34th home run of the season, putting him just two behind league-leader Carlos Quentin. Rodriguez also reached the 100-RBI total for the 11th straight year. The Red Sox beat Toronto, 4-3, putting them just one game behind the Rays in the Eastern division race. The Red Sox have a 6-game lead on Minnesota for the wild card, so whether Boston catches the Rays or not will only matter in the seedings for the playoffs. Whichever team finished second in the East is almost assured of taking the wild card. Notes: In the Central, the White Sox took both ends of a double header with Detroit while the Twins dropped a 7-3 decision at Baltimore, leaving Minnesota 1 1/2 games back with time running out. National League Could this really be the Cubs' year? The omens are beginning to say yes, especially after Carlos Zambrano hurled a no-hitter at the Astros in a game that was delayed twice by hurricane Ike and eventually moved to Milwaukee. The Cubs won, 5-0, as Zambrano mowed down the Astros hitters, fanning 10 and walking just one. The outcome was almost never in doubt as the Cubs scored all of their runs by the third inning. While the Cubs spent most of the weekend dealing with winds and rain, they got plenty of help from the Phillies, who swept the Brewers four straight and tied Milwaukee for the wild card. Those wins help put the Cubs up by 7 1/2 in the Central, dropping their magic number to 7. The Phillies also closed to within one game of the Mets in the East. New York lost to Atlanta, 7-4, on Sunday. Notes: The Dodgers finally lost another game, 1-0, in 10 innings at Colorado, but Arizona was losing 2-1 to the Reds, so LA remained 4 1/2 in front in the West. Their magic number is now 10.

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