Sunday, September 7, 2008

Zaun Slam Tops Tays; Soriano Blasts 3 HR to End Cubs Slide

Players of the Day from Saturday, September 6, 2008 American League Gregg Zaun spent a long night as catcher in the Blue Jays game with the Rays, but when he stepped to the plate in the bottom of the 13th, he ended it with a bang - a grand slam home run that gave Toronto a 7-4 win over first place Tampa Bay. Zaun handled all 229 pitches from 9 different hurlers in the marathon. He singled twice prior to his game-winning slam, and finished the night 3-for-5 with 4 RBI. While the Jays win didn't change the standings, as the Red Sox lost and the Yankees won, Toronto kept the pressure on the Rays, who remained 2 1/2 ahead of Boston. The Blue Jays are 10 1/2 back, but only 1/2 behind the Yankees. Finishing in third place in the tough AL East would constitute a moral victory for the Blue Jays, who have won 7 straight. Notes: The White Sox got a big win when Jim Thome swatted his 30th home run of the season, a solo shot in the bottom of the 15th, producing a 7-6 win over the Angels and giving Chicago some breathing room in the AL Central. Minnesota lost to Detroit, 6-4, and now trail the Sox by 2 1/2. With Texas beating Boston, 13-8, the Angels' magic number remained at 5 in the West. National League The Cubs had lost 6 straight before Alfonso Soriano led Chicago to a 14-9 win at Cincinnati with three home runs and five RBI. Soriano added a single and scored another run n the 8th. His line was 5 at-bats, 4 hits, 4 runs and 5 RBI. Milwaukee dropped San Diego, 1-0, as Ben Sheets tossed a 5-hit shutout, besting the Padres' Jake Peavy in a mound duel. The Brewers remain 4 games behind the Cubs and lead the wild card race by 4 1/2 over Philadelphia. Notes: The Dodgers beat Arizona for the second straight time and won their 7th straight overall to take command in the NL West by 1/2 game over the Diamondbacks. Manny Ramirez drove in five runs as the Dodgers won 7-2, preventing Brandon Webb from winning his 20th. Webb was 19-4 on August 21, but has lost each of his last three starts, allowing 21 earned runs in his last 13 2/3 innings. The Phillies and Mets were rained out and will play a day-night double-header at Shea Sunday. The Mets hold a 2-game edge on Philadelphia. New York's closer Billy Wagner, out since August 3 with a strained right forearm, may return as early as Tuesday, though Friday or Saturday seems more probable.

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