Friday, October 2, 2009

Carpenter Hammers Reds; Baker Cooks Tigers; Rockies Are Wild

Players of the Day for Thursday, October 1, 2009 American League Staving off elimination once more, the Minnesota Twins topped the Detroit Tigers in the finale of their four-game series with an 8-3 victory, earning a split and leaving the final playoff spot still undecided. Scott Baker gave the Twins the opportunity, working 5 strong innings. Baker (15-9) gave up 5 hits while walking 3. The Tigers scored an unearned run in the second inning, but the Twins were busy building a 4-1 lead after 4 and expanding it to 8-1 with a 4-run outburst in the top of the 8th. Baker struck out 3 and Minnesota used five relievers to secure the win. Detroit has three games remaining with the White Sox in Detroit. The Twins head back to the Metrodome to fill out the remaining schedule - three games with the KC Royals. Detroit leads the Twins by 2 games with 3 remaining. National League Chris Carpenter made the most of his final start of the season for St. Louis. Not only did the righty work five scoreless innings for his 17th win against just 4 losses, but he added some punch at the plate in the Cardinals' 13-0 tour de force. Not only did Carpenter gave up three hits, strike out six and walk one batter in his five-inning stint, his three plate appearances netted him 6 RBI with a grand slam homer in the 2nd and a two-run double in the 5th. Carpenter, along with teammate Adam Wainwright and San Francisco's Tim Lincecum, are the leading candidates for the NL Cy Young award. The win for the Cards was their 91st of the season, but they still trail Philadelphia and Los Angeles for the best record - and home field advantage - in the league. With three games remaining, the race is tight. LA leads at 93-66; Philly is a game back at 92-67, and the Cardinals one more behind at 91-68. NOTES: The Colorado Rockies secured the wild card slot in the National League with a 9-2 win over the Brewers, setting the stage for an intriguing 3-game series in Los Angeles with the Dodgers over the season's final weekend. Despite taking the wild card, the Rockies may not be completely satisfied with their position, two games behind the Dodgers in the NL West. The Rockies need a sweep of the three games to take the division, while the Dodgers need just one win to complete their dominating season. They've led the division continuously since June, only to watch their lead diminish gradually over the last two months as the Rockies caught fire. The two teams seem headed in opposite directions. The Rockies have won four straight; the Dodgers have been on the opposite side of the score their last four.

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