Sunday, September 26, 2010

Texas Clinches on Cantu HR; Tulowitzki Saves Season for Rockies

Players of the Day for Saturday, September 25, 2010

American League

Acquired from Florida on July 30, Jorge Cantu has played only 25 games for the Texas Rangers, but on Saturday, with his first home run in a Texas uniform, he sent the Rangers into the post-season with a 4-3 win over the Oakland A's.

Cantu, playing first base, wnet 3-for-4 at the plate, his 6th inning single driving home a run that put the Rangers up, 2-1. After Texas scored another in the 7th, the A's tied the game in the bottom of the inning. Cantu's 8th-inning, solo blast to center field, off A's reliever Michael Wuertz, provided the winning run, clinching the AL West division for the Rangers.

National League

Colorado's been playing catch-up all season, but after losing five straight this week, it seemed like the magic was gone and the Rockies would spend October watching the playoffs and World Series from their homes on TV.

Down, 9-6, in the 6th inning to the Giants, all appearances suggested the season was about to be over for Colorado, but they manufactured a run in the bottom of the inning and then Troy Tulowitzki put the team - and the season - on his back.

In the 8th, Tulo creamed a double to right, plating two runs to tie the game at 9-9, and then doubled home Carlos Gonzalez with the game-winner in the bottom of the 10th, sending the Giants back to their hotel rooms unhappy and in second place with a 10-inning, 10-9 loss. The Rockies remained in third, four games behind the Padres, but still alive, the losing streak over, with hope for tomorrow and the remainder of the season.

Tulowitzki, having a September to remember, crashed his 27th home run in the fifth inning. He finished the game 4-for-5, with five RBI, putting his total for the month at 40, with 15 homers. His 40 RBI in one month set a new Rockies' record.

The Rockies will look to make their move in the final week of the season with one more against the Giants on Sunday, then three at home against the Dodgers before hitting the road for four games at St. Louis. They'll need either the Giants or Padres to falter in order to reach either the wild card or win the NL West.

PENNANT NOTES: San Diego held off Cincinnati, 4-3, denying the Reds the NL Central for at least another day, and vaulting themselves back into first place in the contentious NL West. They lead the Giants by 1/2 game and Colorado by four. The Reds still have a 6 1/2 game lead over the Cardinals, and a magic number of two.

In the East, the Mets' snapped the Phillies' 11-game win streak with a 5-2 win and Atlanta won, dropping Philadelphia's lead back to six. Their magic number stands at two.

Suddenly without a pitching staff, the Yankees lost their second straight to the Red Sox and 4th overall, falling 1 1/2 games behind the Rays, 9-1 winners over Seattle. The 7-3 Boston win kept faint Red Sox hopes alive. They play one more in New York on Sunday before heading to Chicago for a four-game series with the White Sox. Then they return to Fenway Park to close out the regular season with a weekend three-game series with the Yankees.

Boston trails New York by 5 1/2 for the wild card and needs to keep winning in order to make the final weekend series meaningful. The Sox didn't do themselves any favors losing 2 of 3 to both the Blue Jays and Orioles last week, but they seem to have found new life against the Yankees. In Saturday's win, Jon Lester picked up his 19th win with seven shutout innings. The Red Sox out-clubbed the Yankees in the series opener, 10-8.

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