Saturday, October 2, 2010

Bruce Chen Blanks Rays; Idle Yanks Take Lead; Padres Stay Alive

Players of the Day for Friday, October 1, 2010

American League

In Kansas City, nothing was conceded as the Royals took their second straight game from the Tampa Bay Rays, sending them to their third straight loss and vaulting the Yankees into first place in the AL East.

Bruce Chen twirled a dazzling two-hitter against the feckless Rays, who never threatened to score, getting only a double from B.J. Upton and a bunt single by Sean Rodriguez as the Royals cruised to the 7-0 win.

Chen, who didn't allow a hit until Rodriguez's bunt single in the third inning, fanned five of the first eight batters he faced, walked two overall and retired the final six batters in order.

Nibbling at the corners, Chen threw just 67 of his 104 pitches for strikes, improving to 12-7 for the last place Royals.

The standings obviously don't matter to the Royals, as they play out the string against the Rays, already qualified for the playoffs, but still battling with the Yankees for the choice between winning the AL East and going to the post-season as the wild card.

Boston was deluged with rain, forcing Friday's contest with the Yankees into postponement. The two will play a day-night double-header at Fenway on Saturday, the first game at 4:10, the second scheduled to start at the unusual time of 9:05 pm.

New York leads Tampa in the standings by 1/2 game, with three left to play. Tampa Bay has one more loss than the Yankees, but only two games remaining.

National League

San Diego lives to play another day.

Adrian Gonzalez clubbed a three-run homer in the top of the 3rd inning off Giants' starter Matt Cain, and the Padres used five relievers to hold off San Francisco for a season-extending, 6-4 win.

The home run was Gonzalez's 31st of the season and his 3 ribbies gave him 101 for the year, the third time in the last four seasons in which he's topped 100 RBI. Last year, the Padres' first baseman finished with 99. He's hit 30 or more homers in four consecutive seasons.

Winning the opener of their three-game series in San Francisco kept the Padres alive in the division. The Giants need to win either Saturday or Sunday to clinch the division, but the Padres plan to win all three games and force a playoff.

San Diego also clawed closer to Atlanta in the wild card race, as the Braves were pummeled by the Phillies, 11-5, and hold a slim, one-game lead over San Diego.

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