Friday, October 8, 2010

Young Puts Texas Up 2-0; Berkman Drives Yanks past Twins; Lincecum 2-Hits Braves

Players of the Day for Thursday, October 7, 2010

American League

Michael Young broke open a close game with a 3-run homer in the top of the fifth inning, leading the Texas Rangers to a 6-0 win and a two-games-to-none lead in their best-of-five series with the Tampa Bay Rays.

The Rangers had already scored a run in each of the 3rd and 4th innings to grab a 2-0 lead, but Young's blast off Chad Qualls, who had just entered the game in relief of Rays' starter James Shields, essentially put the game away right there.

Tampa Bay has been unable to get to Ranger pitching. In the two games - both played at Tropicana Field - Rays' hitters have produced only one run on eight hits, getting only two on Thursday off starter C.J. Wilson and a pair of relievers.

Needing just one more win to move to the championship round, the Rangers host the Rays for game three on Saturday, starting at 5:07 pm ET.

Even though the Twins keep making the playoffs with some degree of regularity, they continue to disappoint in terms of wins.

The Yankees sent the Twins to their 11th straight post-season loss with a 5-2 win at Minnesota, erasing their home field advantage by sweeping the two games at spacious Target Field.

Andy Pettitte delivered seven solid innings for the Yankees, allowing two runs on five hits. The Yankees' mid-season acquisition, Lance Berkman, who came over from the Houston Astros in late July, provided the fireworks with a solo homer in the 5th inning that put the Yankees up 2-1.

After Orlando Hudson tied the game at 2-2 with his own solo shot, Berkman doubled home Jorge Posada with a double off his shoe-tops and later came in to score on Derek Jeter's scratch single to right.

The Yankee win was their 8th straight over the Twins. New York can wrap up the series with a win in game three, scheduled for Saturday at 8:37 pm at Yankee Stadium.

National League

Giants' pitching is what got them through the regular season, and it was on full display in the opener of the best-of-five NLDS with Atlanta.

Tim Lincecum, who took home the Cy Young award in the NL the past two seasons, was in exceptional form as he masterfully mowed through the Atlanta lineup, allowing just two hits while fanning 14 in a complete game, 1-0 shutout.

Braves batters were no match for Lincecum's changing speeds and wide-armed delivery. Known as the "freak" for his whirling moound movement, he struck out every batter in the starting lineup except leadoff hitter Oman Infante at least once, including Derek Lee three times.

The Giants scored their only run of the contest in the 4th inning when Buster Posey walked, stole second and came around on Cody Ross's single to left.

Lincecum threw 119 pitches and walked just one batter in his first post-season appearance, giving the Giants a 1-0 lead in the series which resumes Friday at 9:37 pm ET at San Francisco's AT&T Park.

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