Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Price Blanks Baltimore, Rays, Yanks Clinch; Bruce Walks-off Astros, Igniting Celebration in Cincy

Players of the Day for Tuesday, September 28, 2010

American League

David Price hurled eight innings of shutout ball at the Baltimore Orioles, assuring the Tampa Bay Rays of a spot in the 2010 playoffs with a 5-0 win at Tropicana Field.

Scattering six hits, Price fanned eight while his teammates scored single runs in each of the 2nd, 3rd and 4th innings, and two in the 5th. Carl Crawford and Carlos Pena hit solo homers for the Rays who will be making their first appearance in the playoffs since 2008, when they won the AL East by two games over Boston and advanced to the first World Series in the history of the franchise, losing to the Philadelphia Phillies in five games.

The win was the 19th for Price, against 6 losses. He threw 113 pitches, 81 of them for strikes.

In Toronto, the Yankees also clinched a playoff berth, as C.C. Sabathia worked a three-hitter for 8 1/3 innings in New York's 6-1 win over the Blue Jays. Sabathia fanned eight and allowed one earned run, improving his record to 21-7.

The Yankees trail Tampa Bay by 1/2 game in the division. New York has four games left to play while the Rays have five remaining. The wins by the top two teams in the division eliminated the Red Sox from post-season contention. Boston lost to the White Sox, 5-4, finally giving up on their slight chances.

National League

Jay Bruce's 9th inning, leadoff home run sparked a celebration in Cincinnati as the Reds downed the Houston Astros, 3-2, clinching the NL Central for the Reds.

Brandon Phillips singled in Orlando Cabrera to tie the game at two in the 6th inning. The two teams battled scorelessly into the 9th until Bruce's heroic shot over the center field wall.

It's the first time the Reds have reached the playoffs since 1995, when Marge Schott owned and badly mismanaged the team. The futility of fifteen years were suddenly wiped away with one swing of Bruce's bat.

Who the Reds will play in the opening round of the playoffs is still up in the air. The Giants took a two-game lead in the NL West with a 4-2 win over Arizona, while the Cubs dropped the Padres, 5-2 in San Diego.

Atlanta holds a 1 1/2 game lead over the Padres in the wild card chase. The Braves have four more games to play, three of them hosting the Phillies - who've already clinched the NL East with the best record in the league - this weekend. The final series of the regular season opens Friday night. Atlanta has one more game with Florida on Wednesday and a day off Thursday.

The Padres face the Cubs twice more at Petco Park before heading up the coast to play the Giants in a final, three-game series that will decide the champion of the NL West. The Giants play Arizona Wednesday and Thursday prior to the climactic showdown.

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