Tuesday, September 14, 2010
Rays Lead AL East on Brignac HR; Lowe Stuffs Nats
Players of the Day for Monday, September 13, 2010 American League In Tampa, the Rays and Yankees got a look-see at what the post-season may be like when they matched up their aces - David Price and C.C. Sabathia - in the opener of a three-game series. Both starters worked eight full innings without giving up a run. Sabathia allowed just two hits, Price, three, before the relievers took over and the game went to extra innings. Leading off in the bottom of the 11th, Reid Brignac, who was inserted at 2nd base in the 10th inning and moved to short in the 11th, delivered a game-winning, walk-off home run to down the Yankees, 1-0. Brignac's shot to right-center was his only hit of the night, in his only at-bat, but it propelled the Rays into first place in the AL East, a position they surrendered back in June and regained for only one day since then. Tampa Bay now leads the Yankees by 1/2 game, but the two teams will meet six more times in the next ten days, a stretch that will almost certainly determine the AL East winner. Even though the Yanks are temporarily out of first place, they hold a seven-game lead over Boston in the wild card race. Whichever team finishes second in the division will almost certainly be the wild card, though they will not meet their AL East counterparts in the ALDS. According to MLB rules, the wild card cannot face a team from the same division in the opening playoff round. National League With the Phillies hammering Florida, 11-4, the Atlanta Braves, trailing the Phillies by one game, needed a win to keep pace in the division and got a superlative performance from Derek Lowe, who pitched eight shutout innings in a 4-0 win over the Nationals. Atlanta scored all of their runs in the second inning, and Lowe made them stand up, as he won his second straight start, improving to 13-12 on the year. Lowe fanned a season-high 12 batters, allowed just six hits and didn't walk a batter. Even though the Braves didn't gain any ground on the Phillies, they helped themselves to a 1 1/2 game lead in the wild card standings over the idle Giants. PENNANT NOTES: Miguel Tejada homered, singled and drove in four runs to pace the Padres over the Rockies, 6-4, ending Colorado's 10-game win streak and taking back sole possession of first place in the NL West by 1/2 game over the Giants, who had the night off. Colorado is 2 1/2 back. Cincinnati won and the Cardinals lost, stretching the Reds' lead in the Central to seven games. Texas, Minnesota and Chicago all took the day off. The Rangers lead the AL West by eight games. Minnesota leads the White Sox by six in the Central. The Twins open a three-game series at Chicago on Tuesday.