Monday, September 7, 2009
Inge Slams Rays' Post Season Hopes; Fielder KO's Giants in 12th
Players of the Day for Sunday, September 6, 2009 American League For all the ups and downs in the year following their first AL pennant, the Tampa Bay Rays will probably remember Labor Day weekend as a watershed moment in team history, for it was then that the Detroit Tigers took three straight from the Rays - in Tampa - and ended their hopes of repeating as AL champs. After losing the first two games of the series, 4-3 and 8-6, the Rays seemed to be on their way to salvaging a win in the final game of the set, taking a 3-1 lead into the ninth. Four relievers could not keep the Tigers off the basepaths, eventually loading them for Brandon Inge with one out in the inning. Inge did what all good power hitters like to do when the bases are jammed, he unloaded them with a grand slam to left-center, putting the Tigers in front, 5-3, securing the sweep and a 7-game lead in the Central division. Inge's homer - his fifth career grand slam and 27th of the 2009 campaign - was especially rewarding since he had struck out in his three previous trips to the plate. His late-inning blast was his only hit of the day. The loss dropped kept the Rays 7 games behind Boston in the wild card race, with only 26 games left in the regular season. National League Prince Fielder is a pretty big star in Milwaukee, but after what he did on Sunday, the citizens and fans may just want to give him the mayor's job. The Brewers aren't going to make the post-season, but it surely isn't because of Fielder's play. The big man is batting a solid .298 and entered Sunday's game with the Giants with 36 homers and 122 RBI, the most ribbies in the National League. Aided by a 6th-inning triple play turned by the Brewers' infield, the Giants and Brewers battled into the 12th, tied 1-1, when Fielder stepped into the batter's box with one out and the bases empty and untied it with a walk-off homer into the right field stands for the 2-1 win. The blast knocked the Giants 2 games back of the Rockies in the wild card and brought some joy to the Milwaukee fans. Fielder's 37th homer upped his RBI total to 123, just 3 shy of Cecil Cooper's franchise record of 126, set in 1983.