Sunday, September 20, 2009

Garland Stops Giants; Teixeira Pounds Two in Yankee Win

Players of the Day for Saturday, September 19, 2009 American League Is the race for the AL East pennant over? If Mark Teixeira has anything to do with it, it is all but a done deal. In Saturday's 10-1 thumping of Seattle, Teixeira blasted his 36th and 37th home runs of the season, single and tripled in 5 at-bats, drove in 5 runs and scored twice while C.C. Sabathia was on the mound, grinding down the Mariners on 4 hits for his 18th win against 7 losses. Sabathia worked 7 innings and did not allow an earned run. Tsixeira is two homers behind league-leader Tony Pena, who is out for the season, and his 118 RBI lead the AL. He has a solid lead over Evan Longoria (108) and Boston's Jason Bay (107). The Yankees lowered their magic number to 9, but the Red Sox are still lurking, just 6 games back. With the wild card pretty much assured, Boston can play loose and take aim at their long-standing rival over the final two weeks of the season, and the schedule says they have a shot to catch New York. After the Yanks close out their series in Seattle Sunday, they head to LA for three games with the Angels, who have a history of beating even the best Yankee teams. After that, the Yanks head back to the Bronx, for three game with Boston and then three with the Royals. They close out the season in Tampa for 3 games in October. The Red Sox have it a little easier. Once they close out in Baltimore Sunday, it's 4 games in Kansas City, then the Yankee series, followed by a 7-game home stand: three against Toronto and four with Cleveland. National League The Dodgers took another step closer to the NL West title with a resounding 12-1 win over the Giants, as Rafael Belliard slugged a first-inning grand slam and Jon Garland evened his record at 11-11 with 8 solid innings on the mound. Garland was on his game, allowing just 7 hits while fanning 3. The Gaints' only run came in the first inning and was unearned. The win kept the Dodgers 5 games ahead of Colorado in the division, dropping their magic number to 9. Once the Dodgers are done with the Giants - their series ends tonight in Chavez Ravine - it gets a lot easier for LA, with their next 9 games at Washington, Pittsburgh and San Diego before they finish up at home with Colorado for three games. The Dodgers hope that by the time October rolls around and the Rockies come to town, those games will have no meaning in the divisional race. NOTES: The Rockies continue to press closer to the wild card spot, beating up on Arizona Saturday, with a 10-4 win. That win, coupled with the Giants' loss, has them 3 1/2 up in the wild card. The Rockies play their next nine games at home, hosting the Padres, Cards and Brewers. In the AL, the Twins beat Detroit for the second straight game, winning 6-2, to pull to within 2 games of the division-leading Tigers. Michael Cuddyer's 3-run homer in the 8th provided insurance as Minnesota rallied for 5 runs in the inning. The Tigers and Twins finish their series at the Metrodome on Sunday

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