Monday, September 19, 2011

Erick Aybar 4-for-4 in Angels Victory; Verlander Wins #24; Giants Win 8th Straight

Players of the Day for Sunday, September 18, 2011

American League

Disco-era hit, "Stayin' Alive" by the Bee Gees might become the theme song for the LA Angels, as long as they and the Rangers continue competing for the AL West crown. And, if Boston keeps faltering and the Yankees do the Angels a favor by beating back the Rays (they play them six times over then next ten days), they might find themselves the lucky recipient of a wild card ticket to the post-season.

Aybar: 4-for-4
Avoiding being swept by the lowly Orioles, the Angels hammered Baltimore, 11-2, mostly on the strength of leadoff hitter Erick Aybar, who went 4-for-4 and scored five times.

Aybar doubled twice and swatted a pair of home runs, driving in four runs. After walking in the first inning and scoring on Bobby Abreu's double, Aybar broke a 1-1 tie in the third with a solo home run, and added a two-run shot in the 4th as the Angels scored four times to take control of the game. Aybar doubled and scored in the sixth inning, then drove home another run in the eighth with his second double and scored for the fifth time.

Rival Texas knocked off Seattle, 3-0, keeping the Angels 4 1/2 back in the division, but Tampa Bay beat the Red Sox, 8-5, tightening that race. The Rays trail Boston by just two games in the wild card standings, with the Angels four games out.

Verlander: 24-5
The Yankees dropped a 3-0 decision to the Blue Jays, keeping the Red Sox 4 1/2 back and the Rays 6 1/2 behind.

In the already-decided Central, Justin Verlander improved to 24-5, allowing three hits over eight innings in Detroit's 3-0 victory at Oakland. Verlander walked three and struck out six. The Tigers were the first MLB team to clinch a division, but continue to play hard, hoping to hold off the Rangers for the second best record in the league and home field advantage in the opening playoff round. The Tigers, 89-64, have a one game lead over Texas and trail the Yankees by three games for the best AL record.

National League

Sandoval: 4 RBI
Pablo Sandoval has gotten hot at the right time.

Just a few days since hitting for the cycle, Sandoval had another big game, going 3-for-4 with a triple, two home runs and four RBI as the Giants continued to pressure the Diamondbacks in the NL West, winning their eighth straight, a no-doubt, 12-5 win at Colorado, sweeping the four game series with the Rockies.

Sandoval has had four multi hit games in his last seven, going 14-for-29 (.483) over that span with four homers and 11 RBI.

San Francisco still trails Arizona by five games in the division with nine left to play, three of those between the two contenders. Arizona reduced their magic number to five with a 5-1 win over the Padres.

The Giants also have hopes in the wild card race, where they are four games behind Atlanta, 7-5 losers to the Mets on Sunday. The Cardinals remained in the wild card hunt, beating Philadelphia, 5-0, to creep to within 3 1/2 games of the Braves, though still trailing the Brewers by 6 1/2 in the Central division. Milwaukee completed a sweep at Cincinnati with an 8-1 win.

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