Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Robert Andino Ruins Red Sox in 7-5 Oriole Win; Kershaw Wins 20th; Pujols, Berkman, Theriot Keep Cards Close

Players of the Day for Tuesday, September 20, 2011

American League

Some things just aren't meant to be. Others are. For the Boston Red Sox, reaching the playoffs by winning the AL wild card seems to be a quest doomed to failure as they lost for the sixth time in eight games, this one another late inning bullpen meltdown against the bottom-feeding Baltimore Orioles, who defeated the Red Sox, 7-5, even as Boston's closest pursuer, Tampa Bay, was losing to the Yankees, 5-0.

Robert Andino
For Baltimore's Robert Andino, until this year a part-time utility infielder since 2004, his moment to shine was Tuesday night in Boston. After singling and scoring Baltimore's first run in the third inning, Andino singled and was stranded in the 4th inning and flied out to end the 6th. But, in the 8th inning, the scrappy second baseman approached the plate with the bases full of his teammates and Boston closer Jonathan Papelbon on the mound. Andino delivered a game-changing, two-out double to right field, plating all three runs and putting the O's up by two runs. Andino promptly stole third, but was stranded there when J.J. Hardy popped out to end the inning.

Nova: 16-4
Orioles' relievers put down the Red Sox calmly in the 8th and 9th, securing the win, keeping Boston just two games ahead of Tampa Bay in the wild card race. The Orioles and Red Sox square off again on Wednesday to complete the series, then, after a day off Thursday, the Sox head down to the Bronx for a three game series with the Yankees before returning to Baltimore for the final three game series of the regular season.

Granderson: 119 RBI
The Yankee win over Tampa Bay was doubly good, as they increased their lead in the AL East to six games over Boston and eight over the Rays. Their magic number dropped to three as rookie sensation Ivan Nova improved to 16-4 with 7 2/3 innings of shutout ball, giving up six hits, walking three and striking out three. Curtis Granderson increased his major league best RBI total to 119 with four RBI, three of them coming on a bases-loaded double in the second inning. The Yankees host the Rays in a double-header Wednesday.

In the West, Texas won its third straight, 7-2, at Oakland, while the second place Angels kept pace, outslugging Toronto, 10-6. The Rangers lead the Angles by five games with eight games left for both teams, who meet in the final three game series for both teams, at Anaheim, September 26-28. The Rangers' magic number is four.

National League

Kershaw: 20 Wins
LA's Clayton Kershaw joined Arizona's Ian Kennedy as the NL's second 20 game winner with a 2-1 win over the Giants, halting San Fran's winning streak at eight and keeping the Giants 5 1/2 games behind the Diamondbacks in the desperate NL West race.

Lance Berkman
Kershaw scattered six hits over 7 1/3 innings, the only run coming with one out in the 7th on a home run by the Giants' Chris Stewart. Kershaw battled Tim Lincecum, who took the loss, falling to 13-13 on the year. After allowing Stewart's home run, reliever Kenley Jansen came on and struck out the next two batters to end the 8th inning and Javy Guerra closed out the game with a perfect ninth inning.

Kershaw now is tied for the NL lead with 20 wins and also leads the league in strikeouts (242) and ERA (2.27), the same as Detroit hurler, Justin Verlander, in the AL who leads all three categories with 24 wins, 244 Ks and a 2.29 ERA. The dual pitching triple crowns would be a first if they hold up for the remainder of the season. There have been 19 pitching triple crowns in the majors and seventeen of those pitchers have reached the Hall of Fame. Grover Cleveland Alexander, Walter Johnston and Sandy Koufax each accomplished the feat three times, but never have two pitchers done it in the same season in opposing leagues.

Ryan Theriot
Albert Pujols
The loss by the Giants kept them in the chase for the NL West title, though time and games are dwindling fast. The Diamondbacks lost to Pittsburgh, 5-3, keeping the magic number at three. San Francisco plays three games at Arizona this weekend, beginning Friday.

In the wild card race, the Atlanta Braves held onto their slim 2 1/2 game lead with a 4-0 shutout over the Marlins, but the St. Louis Cardinals are not going away, as they opened a three-game home series with the Mets with an 11-6 victory. Alberrt Pujols went 4-for-5 with two runs and an RBI (97) and scored the tying run in the 7th inning on Ryan Theriot's pinch-hit, bases-loaded ground rule double. Lance Berkman - 2-for-5, 1 run, 2 RBI - came home right behind Pujols, putting the Cardinals up 7-6. The Cards eventually scored six times in the frame, sealing the win.

Milwaukee kept cruising toward the NL Central crown with a 5-1 win over the Cubs. The Brewers lead St. Louis by 5 1/2 games, their magic number just three.

No comments: