Friday, September 17, 2010

Young Powers Twins to 9-Game Lead in AL Central; Giants Take First in NL West, Huff Shines

Players of the Day for Thursday, September 17, 2010 American League For all intents and purposes, the Minnesota Twins wrapped up the Central division title this week, taking three straight from their closest pursuer, the Chicago White Sox. After blasting them by identical 9-3 scores in the first two games of the series, the Twins let them get a little closer, but still managed the sweep with an 8-5 win Thursday in Chicago. Delmon Young was the slugging hero for the Twins, going 3-for-5 with a couple of singles, a two-run homer and two runs. Young's 5th inning shot put the Twins up, 6-2, but the Sox made a game of it scoring three runs before the Twins answered with two more in the top of the 9th. Carl Pavano worked five innings to record his 17th win against 11 losses, and the Twins stretched their divisional lead to nine games while shrinking their magic number down to eight. Young's homer was his 18th, and the two RBI gave him 102 on the year. National League Aubrey Huff went 2-for-4, belted a three-run homer, scored twice and led the San Francisco Giants to a 10-2 win over the LA Dodgers. The fifteen-hit assault vaulted the Giants into first place in the NL West, 1/2 game better than the Padres, who were shut out at St. Louis, 4-0. Huff got the Giants on the scoreboard in the bottom of the first, after the Dodgers had taken a 1-0 lead, when he scored on Buster Posey's double. In the 3rd inning, Huff found the stands with his 25th home run, followed by Posey's 15th. The back-to-back wall-clearings staked the Giants to a 5-1 lead. Starter Jeffrey Sanchez went seven innings for his 11th win against 8 losses. He fanned 13, allowing just four hits and one earned run. San Francisco will try to retain their hold on first place when they host Milwaukee for three games over the weekend. After that they head to Chicago for three with the Cubs, then three at Colorado, who are just 2 1/2 back and in position to vie for either the division or the wild card. The Giants have the good fortune to finish with six games at home, three each against the Diamondbacks and Padres, playing the latter the final three games of the season. PENNANT NOTES: The Yankees, Rays, Braves and Phillies were all idle Thursday night, so no changes occured in either of the East divisions. The Rays lead the Yankees by 1/2 game; Atlanta trails Philadelphia by 3 games. The Cardinals won while the Reds lost, so St. Louis still clings barely to life, seven games behind the Reds. The Rangers lead the A's by 10 games in the AL West, with a magic number of eight. Texas should have things wrapped up by next weekend as they close out their season with 17 straight games against division rivals. They play three games each at Seattle and then at Anaheim, then head up the coast for four games at Oakland. After that, they close out at home. A three-game series with the Mariners is followed by four games with the Angels.

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