Sunday, September 12, 2010
Thome Passes Frank Robinson, Twins Win; Votto Walk-Off Paces Reds
Players of the Day for Saturday, September 11, 2010 American League Nick Blackburn and Carlos Carrasco put up goose-eggs over 8 and 7 1/3 innings, respectively, and the Twins and Indians' relievers took their scoreless battle into extra innings. In the 12th inning, Jim Thome had seen enough pitches and hammered an 0-2 offering from Justin Germano into the Cleveland bullpen beyond the center field wall for the game's only run. It was Thome's 23rd home run of the season, the 587th of his career, passing Frank Robinson on the all-time list for 8th place. Better yet, after Matt Capps set down the Indians in order in the bottom of the inning, it proved to be the game-winner, as the Twins endured, 1-0. With the White Sox falling to Kansas City, 8-2, Minnesota re-established a six-game lead in the Central, lowering their magic number to 15. The solo shot was Thome's only hit of the night, out of four at-bats, but it was typical for the big slugger out of Peoria, IL, who turned 40 just two weeks ago. Acquired from the Dodgers in the off-season, Thome has proven a worthwhile addition. Of his 68 hits, 41 have been for extra bases and he's driven in 53 runs in just 245 at-bats. National League The Reds don't seem to be worried about the Cardinals any more; while their Central division foes flounder, Cincinnati just keeps winning games. Their 5-4, 10th-inning victory, provided by Joey Votto's walk-off home run, stood in sharp contrast to St. Louis' 12-inning, 6-3 loss to the Braves. Where the Reds are winning, the Cardinals are losing. Cincinnati has been getting the big hits in key situations all season long; the Cardinals have fallen in crunch time. Votto, who still may be entertaining thoughts of a triple crown, smashed his 33rd home run of the season off Pirates' reliever Justin Thomas to lead off the extra frame. The blast put him four behind Albert Pujols (37) and gave him 101 RBI on the season, one behind Pujols. Votto's .320 batting average is good for third-best in the league, behind the Colorado duo of Carlos Gonzalez (.335) and Troy Tulowitzki (.324). Cincinnati's win, coupled with the St. Louis loss, put the Reds seven games ahead in the division. They have just 20 more regular season games remaining; their magic number is down to 15. PENNANT NOTES: The Padres took back first place in the NL West with a 1-0 win over the Giants and lead by a game. Colorado won their 9th straight and trail San Diego by 2 1/2. In the East, Atlanta beat the Cardinals, 6-3, in 12 innings, tying for the lead, as Philadelphia dropped a 4-3 decision to the Mets. The Rays pulled to within 1/2 game of the Yankees, winning their second in a row over Toronto with a 13-1 laugher. The Yankees, meanwhile, have dropped two straight, losing to Texas, 7-6. The Rangers continue to run loose on the lead in the West, leading Oakland by 7 1/2 games. The Rangers' magic number is 14.