Saturday, September 18, 2010
Rodriguez Powers Yanks Past O's; Yadier Molina Paces Cardinals Slaughter of Padres
Players of the Day for Friday, September 17, 2010 American League Even though his team has been in front or close to the top of the AL East all season, the name of Alex Rodriguez hasn't been seen here too often; surprising, since A-Rod is having a very productive season. In the Yankees' 4-3 win at Baltimore Friday, Rodriguez provided all of the offense, with a solo homer in the second inning and a dramatic, two-out, three-run home run in the top of the 9th which erased a 3-1 Oriole lead. With that, and Tampa Bay's 4-3 loss to the Angels, the Yankees resumed control of first place, though only by 1/2 game over the Rays. The home runs were Rodriguez' 24th and 25th of the season, leaving him five short of becoming the first player in major league history to hit 30 or more and drive in 100 or more run in 13 straight seasons. Last year, he had exactly 30 and 100, hitting two home runs and driving in seven runs in one inning of the final game of the season. He'll need another dose of drama to get the five more long balls needed, having just 15 games remaining in the regular season. National League Teams vying for the NL West crown may have to rethink their strategies. The two top teams, San Francisco and San Diego, both took losses on Friday, while the Rockies continued to close in from third place. The Giants were shut out by Milwaukee's Randy Wolf, 3-0, while Yadier Molina and the St. Louis Cardinals pounded the Padres, 14-4. Molina delivered four hits in four at-bats, two singles and two doubles, and drove in five runs in the Cardinal rout. It was an explosive offensive performance for a player normally notable for his defense behind the plate. While the two teams ahead of them were stumbling, the Rockies were going about the business of rallying late in the season, getting a 7-5 win over the Dodgers to pull to within 1 1/2 game of the first place Giants. It's the closest the Rockies have been all season. San Diego is in second place, 1/2 game out. Colorado's surge has been sensational. Since August 22nd, they've gone 18-6, but since September 2nd, their record is 12-2. PENNANT NOTES: The Twins and White Sox both lost, so Minnesota remains 9 games in front in the AL Central. Texas lost and the A's beat the Twins, so Texas is back to a 9-game lead in the West. The Phillies and Braves both won, keeping Philadelphia's lead at three games in the NL East. In the Central, the Cardinals still appear to have something left, but despite winning and the Reds losing, still trail Cincy by six. The Cardinals will have to get help from other teams if they hope to catch the Reds, however, as they don't face them head-to-head. Of the 14 games Cincinnati has left to play, only three - against the Padres - are with teams with winning records. The remaining games are against Houston (5) and Milwaukee (6).