Saturday, October 3, 2009

Tigers Lose, Twins Win; Rockies Beat Dodgers; Upton Cycles Out

Players of the Day for Friday, October 2, 2009 American League There was plenty of pennant race action in the AL Central on Friday night, as the Tigers were completely befuddled by Jake Peavy, who threw 8 innings of shutout ball at the division leaders, allowing just 2 hits and two walks while fanning 5 in an 8-0 White Sox win. Later, at the Metrodome, the Twins scored 10 runs in the first four innings and coasted to a 10-7 win over the Royals. Delmon Young cranked out a grand slam in the 1st, drove in another run on a fielder's choice in the second, and singled and scored the Twins' final run in the 4th. That left the race for the division title as close as it has been all season. Though the Tigers have led the way since early May, the Twins have won 14 of their last 18, since September 13, to pull to within 1 game of Detroit with two games to play. The Tigers face the White Sox Saturday and Sunday, while the Twins fill out the schedule with the Royals. Despite all the excitement over the divisional race, down in Tampa, B.J. Upton was accomplishing the unusual against C.C. Sabathia and the NY Yankees. In Tampa's 13-4 win, Upton collected 5 hits in five at-bats, including two singles, a double, triple and his 11 home run of the season. Besides hitting for the cycle, Upton drove in 6 runs and scored three times, for one of the best single-game performances of the season. National League The Colorado Rockies are known for having a late-season burst, but this is getting ridiculous. On Friday, a day after capturing the wild card, the Rockies won their fifth straight game, this one over the LA Dodgers in the first of their season-ending, three-game series. It seems that the Rockies will not be content with the wild card; they want the NL West title and right now appear to have all the momentum swinging their way, as they topped LA, 4-3. The Dodger loss was their fifth straight, and, with two games remaining, are, like the Tigers in the AL Central, in danger of losing control of the division they have dominated since early in the season. The Dodgers need only one win over the Rockies to clinch the division. Unlike the situation in the AL, where the Tigers and Twins could end up in a tie, either the Rockies or Dodgers will win the division outright over the course of the next two days. If the Rockies win on Saturday, it would put both teams at 93-68, with Sunday's game deciding the post-season seeding. The team that does not win the division will be the NL wild card. Arizona's Eric Byrnes hasn't been heard from much this season. After all, he's playing on a last place team, has played in only 82 games and entered Friday's contest batting just .216. But Byrnes apparently still has some pop left in his bat. In Arizona's 12-3 win over the Cubs, he singled twice and homered twice driving in 5 runs, earning him one of the last few POTD honors of the season. NOTES: There will be no 20-game winner in either league this season. The only two pitchers who had a chance at the mark - C.C. Sabathia and Adam Wainright - failed in their quests on Friday. Actually, Wainwright pitched well enough to win, allowing just 3 runs over 6 innings and leaving with a 6-3 lead, but the St. Louis bullpen allowed another 9 Milwaukee runs for a 12-6 loss. Sabathia lasted only 2 2/3 innings in his finale, allowing 8 hits and 9 runs (5 earned) in NY's 13-4 loss at Tampa.

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