Sunday, September 14, 2008

Rodriguez Breaks Saves Mark; Morneau Ties Hamilton; Lincecum a Cy Young Candidate

Players of the Day from Saturday, September 13, 2008 American League Justin Morneau has been on an RBI tear. On Saturday, he ran down Texas slugger Josh Hamilton to tie for the AL RBI lead with a pair of RBI in each of the Twins' wins over Baltimore, topping the Orioles 12-2 in the opener and 12-6 in the nightcap. Morneau has driven in 15 runs in his last 8 games, He and Hamilton have 124 each. Hamilton has no RBI over his last six games. The twin killing of the O's put Minnesota into a tie with the White Sox, who have been rained out for two straight days. They will play a double-dip with the Tigers on Sunday. In the East, the Rays split two with the Yankees, as did Boston with Toronto. The Red Sox trail the Rays by 2 games in the division, but have a 5-game bulge over both Chicago and Minnesota in the wild card. Notes: Of course, out West, the Angels have already sewn up the division, but some unfinished mound work was taken care of as the Angels beat Seattle, 5-2, with Francisco Rodriguez earning his record-breaking 58th save, topping the major league mark of 57, set by Bobby Thigpen of the White Sox in 1990. Rodriguez' appearance wasn't his prettiest. Despite allowing a walk and a hit, K-Rod kept the Mariners off the board, getting two of the three outs in the ninth via strikeouts. National League Tim Lincecum isn't about to concede anything, especially not the Cy Young award. The NL competition is pretty much down to just him and Arizona's Brandon Webb, but Lincecum (17-3) boosted his stock considerably with a 4-hit, 12 strikeout, complete game shutout over the Padres on Saturday, as the Giants won, 7-0, at San Diego. Considering that Lincecum has accounted for 1 of every 5 Giants wins this season and also leads the NL in strikeouts (237) and ERA (2.43), he's going to be considered right up there with Webb, the NL's only 20-game winner. As for the NL West pennant race, the Dodgers continued to separate themselves from the competition, winning their 4th straight and 13th of their last 14 with a 5-1 triumph at Colorado. The Diamondbacks lost to the Reds, 3-2, and now trail by 4 games. The Dodgers' magic number is 11. Notes: In the Central, the Cubs and Astros were shut down again due to Hurricane Ike. At least two of their 3-game series is now scheduled for Sunday and Monday in Milwaukee. The 3rd game will be played at the conclusion of the regular season, if necessary. That game may not be needed, as the Brewers dropped their second straight to the Phillies, 7-2. The Brewers are now 6 games behind the Cubs. In the East, the Mets split with Atlanta, so the Phillies gained to within 2 1/2 games of the lead, but the Phillies are also just 2 games behind Milwaukee in the wild card race. The Phillies and Brewers play a double-header today in Philadelphia.

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