Saturday, September 12, 2009

Jeter Sets New Yankee Hits Mark; Torrealba Rallies Rockies

Players of the Day for Friday, September 11, 2009 American League On a night most Yankees would otherwise like to forget, losing to Baltimore, 10-4, shortstop Derek Jeter gave the franchise and its fans a memorable moment, becoming the all-time Yankee hits leader when he lashed a single down the first base line for the 2722nd hit of his career, every one of them while wearing a Yankee uniform. The game was delayed twice by rain and played mostly under a constant drizzle, but the gloomy weather didn't diminish the accomplishment. Jeter had tied Lou Gehrig for most hits by a Yankee on Wednesday night, but fans had to wait through a day off and a rain delay for their hero to shatter the mark and lift himself into pinstriped immortality. The loss sidetracked New York's stampede toward another AL East crown, leaving the Yankees' magic number at 14, as the Red Sox were rained out at home. At 91-51, the Yanks have the best record in the AL and an 8 1/2 game lead over the Red Sox. National League Stymied by a gaggle of five San Diego pitchers who kept the Rockies off the scoreboard for 8 innings, Colorado erupted for 4 runs in the ninth off closer Heath Bell, to win their 8th straight, 4-1, and remain 2 games behind the West division-leading Dodgers. Entering the game in the 7th inning as a replacement for catcher Chris Ianetta, Yorvit Torrealba made the most of his only plate appearance, delivering a bases-loaded double with one out in the top of the 9th to put the Rockies ahead to stay. Torrealba would later score on Paul Phillips' single, posting the Rockies' 4th run. By winning their 8th straight, the Rockies kept the pressure on the Dodgers, who were busily bashing the Giants, 10-3, to remain 2 games in the lead. The Giants continued to fade, now 7 1/2 behind the Dodgers and 5 1/2 back of Colorado in the wild card race. With just three weeks left in the regular season, it appears as if the NL West and wild card will be decided by the Rockies and Dodgers. One will win the division; the other will likely enter the playoffs as the wild card. The only other team with any kind of wild card chance is Florida, but they are 6 1/2 in back of Colorado. Since losing 5 straight to end the month of August, the Rockies have found new vigor in September, winning 10 of their 11 games thus far. Following their series with San Diego, Colorado plays at San Francisco Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of next week. They don't play any other contenders until their final three games of the season, October 2nd, 3rd and 4th, at the Dodgers.

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