Monday, October 29, 2012

Scutaro Finishes Off Sweep of Tigers; Giants Win World Series, 4-0, Pablo Sandoval MVP

Players of the Day for Sunday, October 28, 2012

World Series

Scutaro: Game-winner
Game 4: San Francisco 4 Detroit 3, 10 innings - Marco Scutaro's two-out single in the top of the 10th inning scored Ryan Theriot from second base, breaking a 3-3 tie and sending the Giants to their second World Series championship in three years.

Sandoval: MVP
Theriot singled to lead off the inning, moved to second on Brandon Crawford's sacrifice bunt, and held his position as Phil Coke struck out Angel Pagan. Coke had come on in relief of Octavio Dotel in the ninth, fanning the side to force extra innings, but Scutaro and the Giants would not be denied, the scrappy second baseman singling to short center to drive in the game winner.

Pablo Sandoval, who was 1-for-5 in game four, finished with a .500 batting average (8-for-16) with three homers and four RBI, all of which came in game one, won by the Giants, 8-3.

The Tigers, one of the best-hitting teams in either league, were flat in the series, scoring only six runs. They were shut out by identical 2-0 scores in games two and three, and, as a team batted .159 (20-for-126) for the series, and, after their eight hits in game one, hit only .130 (12-for-92).

The Giants ended the post-season on a seven-game win streak, coming back from a 3-1 deficit in the NLCS to whip the Cardinals before sweeping the Tigers in the World Series.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Ryan Vogelsong, Giants Blank Tigers for 3-0 World Series Lead

Players of the Day for Saturday, October 27, 2012

World Series

Game Three: San Francisco 2 Detroit 0 - After a long, exciting season, it appears that baseball is going to come to a close with a whimper rather than a bang, and that whimper will be the sound of Detroit Tiger bats missing and grazing pitches thrown by San Francisco hurlers.

The Giants took a 3-0 lead in the 2012 World Series, blanking the Tigers for the second straight game, by the identical score of game two, 2-0.

Ryan Vogelsong
Ryan Vogelsong was the catalyst to the Giants being lifted to the precipice of greatness, within one game of capturing the autumn classic. Far from perfect - or even dominant - the 6'4" righty threw 104 pitches - getting strikes on only 60 of them - in just 5 2/3 innings, walking four while surrendering five hits.

Working with runners aboard in every inning except the second, Vogelsong induced a pair of double plays, getting him out of jams in the first and third innings. After getting the first two outs in the sixth, he walked Andy Dirks, then handed the ball over to Tim Lincecum, who got Jhonny Peralta to line out to right for the third out of the inning.

Lincecum worked the seventh and eighth without incident, then gave way to Sergio Romo, who picked up his second save of the series, getting the Tigers in order in the ninth.

The Giants got both of their runs in the second inning off Detroit starter, Anibal Sanchez, who was good, but not good enough, fanning eight over seven innings, but giving up the crucial two runs on a triple by Gregor Blanco, which plated Hunter Pence with the game's first run. Brandon Crawford singled home Blanco for the 2-0 lead, which was all the Giants needed.

No team has ever come back from a 3-0 deficit to capture the World Series and it doesn't look like the Tigers have enough fight left in them to win even one game against the pitching-rich Giants.

Triple crown winner, Miguel Cabrara, is batting just .222, while right behind him in the order, Prince Fielder has produced only one hit in three games, a harmless first game single, going 1-for-10 for an even .100 batting average. Quentin Berry is hitless in five at-bats.

Omar Infante and leadoff hitter, Austin Jackson, are both going at a .333 clip, but nobody has been able to pick them up. The last runs scored by Detroit were a pair on a two-run homer in the ninth inning of game one by Peralta, which mattered little, making the score 8-3. Since then, it's been nothing but zeroes for the once-mighty Tigers, 18 straight innings of blanks on the scoreboard.

The Giants can wrap up the sweep in game four on Sunday night. Matt Cain takes the mound for the Giants against the Tigers' Max Scherzer. Game time is set for 8:07 pm EDT.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Giants Take Series Command After Madison Bungarner, Hunter Pence Forge 2-0 Win

Players of the Day for Thursday, October 25, 2012

World Series

Hunter Pence
Game Two: San Francisco 2 Detroit 0 - In game one, the Giants pounded the Tigers with their bats, or, rather, with one bat, that of Pablo Sandoval. Game two was won by force of arm, that belonging to one Madison Bumgarner, who blanked the suddenly-punchless Tigers on two hits over seven innings, leading the Giants to another win and a commanding 2-0 edge in the best-of-seven World Series.

Bumgarner: 7IP 0ER
Bumgarner, and Detroit starter, Doug Fister, dueled through six scoreless innings, until Hunter Pence led off the bottom of the seventh, after which Fister was lifted for reliever, Drew Smyly. A walk to Brandon Belt and a perfectly-placed bunt down the third base line by Gregor Blanco loaded the bases with nobody out. Brandon Crawford grounded into a double play, but Pence zipped home with the game's first run.

In the eighth inning, the Giants scored another run without the aid of a hit, loading the bases with three walks prior to Pence's sac fly, sending Angel Pagan to the plate.

Meanwhile, San Francisco reliever, Santiago Casilla, set the Tigers down in order in the eighth, then turned the ball over to closer Serigo Romo, who got the Tigers 1-2-3 in the ninth for his first World Series save.

Bumgarner struck out eight and walked two, getting his first World Series win. His post-season record stands at 3-2.

The teams travel to Detroit on Friday, in preparation of games three, four and, if necessary, five, at the Tigers' home, Comerica Park. Game three is Saturday, 8:07 pm EDT. Ryan Vogelsong goes for the Giants. The starter for the Tigers is Anibal Sanchez.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Pablo Sandoval Blasts Three Homers as Giants Take Game One of World Series

Players of the Day for Wednesday, October 24, 2012

World Series: Game One

Giants 8 Tigers 3 - Pablo Sandoval got the Giants off to a 1-0 lead in the World Series, belting three home runs in his first three at-bats, eventually finishing 4-for-4 with four RBI.

Pablo Sandoval
Sandoval joins Reggie Jackson, Albert Pujols and Babe Ruth as the only players to hit three home runs in a single World Series game. Ruth did it twice, in 1926 and 1928.

With his solo home run in the first, Sandoval got the Giants on the board quickly, then added a two-run shot in the third inning and another bases-bare job in the fifth.

After his third ball left they yard, the Giants had built a 6-0 lead as Barry Zito was throwing up zeroes against the Tigers.

Detroit broke through for a run in the top of the sixth and added two more on Jhonny Peralta's home run in the ninth, but, by then, the Giants had already added two more runs, putting the game out of reach.

Zito was retired with two down in the sixth, giving way to Tim Lincecum, who struck out Peralta with runners on first and second, ending the threat.

Justin Verlander took the loss, yielding five runs on six hits over four innings. The first two Sandoval homers came against the Detroit starter.

Game two is Thursday at 8:07 pm EDT in San Francisco. Doug Fister goes to the mound for Detroit, facing the Giants' Madison Bumgarner.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Matt Cain, Marco Scutaro Lead Giants Past Cardinals, Into World Series

Players of the Day for Monday, October 22, 2012

National League

Matt Cain
NLCS: San Francisco 9 St. Louis 0 - Matt Cain threw 5 2/3 innings of scoreless baseball and Marco Scutaro went 3-for-4 as the Giants blew past the Cardinals in game seven to capture the NL Championship and head to the World Series against the AL's Detroit Tigers.

Scutaro: NLCS MVP
Cain, a 3-1 loser in game three, redeemed himself in the ultimate test, scattering five Cardinal hits while walking one and striking out four to notch his fourth career post-season victory against two losses.

Scutaro, who was named series MVP, scored just once and didn't drive in any runs, but singled to lead off the third inning, starting a four-run rally that was the eventual undoing of Cardinal starter, Kyle Lohse, who took the loss.

Scutaro batted .500 for the series (14-for-28), scored six runs and drove in four. He carries a nine-game, post-season hitting streak into the World Series, which begins Wednesday in San Francisco.

Game one of the fall classic is set to begin at 8:07 pm EDT on Wednesday, October 24. Game two will be on Thursday, also in San Francisco. Games three, four and - if necessary - five, will be in Detroit, on Saturday, Sunday and Monday, the 27th, 28, and 29th. Should the series go to games six and seven, those would be back in san Francisco, on Wednesday, October 31 and Thursday, November 1.

The Tigers beat the New York Yankees four straight in the ALCS, and will be well-rested, with their starting rotation in good order. Justin Verlander will start game one for Detroit. The Giants have not yet named a game one starter.

San Francisco came back from being down three games to one in the NLCS, capturing the final three games by a combined score of 20-1, their starting pitching coming through with superior performances when it mattered most.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Ryan Vogelsong Stifles Cardinals; Giants Force Game Seven

Players of the Day for Sunday, October 21, 2012

National League

NLCS: San Francisco 5 St. Louis 1 - For the second straight game, St. Louis bats were silenced by superior San Francisco starting pitching, on this occasion the arm of Ryan Vogelsong overmatching Cardinal hitters.

Ryan Vogelsong:
7 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 9 K
Notching his second win in the championship series, Vogelsong set a career high in strikeouts, fanning nine while allowing just four hits, a walk and one earned run over seven solid innings.

Pitching in his first post-season, Vogelsong is 2-0 with a 1.42 ERA in three starts. He was the winner in game two, a 7-1 win for the Giants.

Three Giant relievers finished up, with Sergio Romo getting the final three outs in order, forcing a game seven Monday in San Francisco.

The Giants scored a run in the first, four in the second and added another in the eighth inning, the crucial blow coming from Marco Scutaro, who doubled home a pair of runs in the second off St. Louis starter Chris Carpenter.

Carpenter lasted only four innings, giving up six hits and five runs, though only two were earned.

The Cardinals will send Kyle Lohse to the mound for game seven against Matt Cain for the Giants. The same pair started game three, with Lohse earning the 3-1 win. Game time is 8:07 pm EDT, the winner advancing to the World Series, which begins Wednesday at the home of the National League entrant.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Barry Zito Shuts Down Cardinals, Sends NLCS to Game Six

Players of the Day for Friday, October 19, 2012

National League

NLCS: San Francisco 5 St. Louis 0 - San Francisco staved off elimination and sent the series back to their home town, as Barry Zito twirled 7 2/3 innings of shutout ball and the Giants scored four unearned runs off St. Louis starter, Lance Lynn.

Barry Zito
Zito scattered six Cardinal hits and walked one, striking out six, in a do-or-die performance that left the Giants trailing the Cardinals in the best-of-seven series, three games to two.

It was Zito's fifth post-season win against three losses, but just his first as a member of the Giants in two starts this year. All the other wins and losses came in his career with Oakland.

The Giants scored the bulk of their runs in the fourth inning, when, with runners on first and second and one out, Hunter Pence sent a dribbler to the second base side of the mound which Lynn fielded and threw, hitting the base and sending the ball into shallow right center. Marco Scutaro came around to score from second, leaving runners on first and third. Lynn failed to get out of the inning, capped by Barry Zito's perfectly-laid bunt down the third base line, scoring Gregor Blanco with the fourth run of the inning.

Pablo Sandoval added a solo homer in the eighth to complete the rout and send the series to a game six in San Francisco on Sunday, at 7:37 pm EDT.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Max Scherzer, Jhonny Peralta Complete Tigers' Sweep of Yankees, Advance to World Series;

Players of the Day for Thursday, October 18, 2012

American League

ALCS: Detroit 8 NY Yankees 1 - Detroit completed the four-game sweep of the collapsing Yankees to advance to the World Series with a lopsided win over New York's ace, C.C. Sabathia.

Jhonny Peralta
The Tigers hammered Sabathia for 11 hits and five earned runs (six total), chasing the starter after just 3 2/3 innings, the final blow being Jhonny Peralta's two-run homer in the fourth, which put the Tigers up, 6-0. Miguel Cabrera earlier tagged Sabathia for his own two-run shot as the Tigers plated four in the frame.

Max Scherzer
Peralta socked another home run of the solo variety in the eighth, leading the Tigers to victory with three RBI and two runs.

While his teammates were bashing New York hurlers, Max Scherzer was setting down the suddenly-impotent Yankees with alacrity, taking a no-hit bid into the sixth inning, fanning ten while allowing just two hits, two walks and one earned run over a 5 2/3 inning stint. A trio of Detroit relievers mopped up, holding the Yanks hitless over the final 3 1/3 innings, an embarrassing end for the proud franchise, and an exhilarating triumph in Tiger-town.

Detroit advances to the World Series, awaiting the National League entry. The series will begin at a National League site - since the NL won the all star game - on Wednesday, October 24.

National League

Jon Jay
NLCS: St. Louis 8 San Francisco 3 - Leadoff hitter Jon Jay went 2-for-5 with a double and two RBI to lead a 12-hit Cardinal attack and starter Adam Wainwright stymied the Giants on four hits over seven innings to lead St. Louis to a commanding, 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven series.

Adam Wainwright
The Cardinals roughed up Giants' starter, Tim Lincecum, tagging him for four runs off six hits and three bases on balls over 4 2/3 innings.

Jay opened the scoring in the first, scoring on Matt Holliday's single up the middle after leading off the game with a scratch single, followed by a walk to the Cards' #2 hitter, Matt Carpenter, who came home on Allen Craig's sac fly.

The Giants cut the lead to 2-1 in the second inning on a solo homer by Hunter Pence, but Wainwright held the lead until the Cardinals let loose with two runs in each of the fifth, sixth and seventh innings, putting the game out of reach. After Pence's homer, Wainwright set down 10 of the next 11 hitters and was in full control, striking out five without allowing any walks, throwing 70 of 96 pitches for strikes.

Jay doubled home a pair of runs in the sixth, Wainwright worked through the seventh, giving up the ball to Fernando Salas, who allowed the Giants two meaningless ninth inning runs on a Pablo Sandoval two-run homer.

Game five is Friday, at 8:07 pm EDT in St. Louis. The Cardinals can wrap up the NL championship with a win and earn some time off prior to Wednesday's start of the World Series. Barry Zito goes for the Giants, against St. Louis starter, Lance Lynn.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Cardinals Take 2-1 Lead in NLCS on Matt Carpenter's Homer; Tigers-Yankees Game Four Postponed

Players of the Day for Wednesday, October 17, 2012

American League

ALCS Game Four was postponed due to rain. The game has been rescheduled for Thursday, 4:07 pm EDT, in Detroit, with the Tigers leading the series three game to one.

National League

NLCS: St. Louis 3 San Francisco 1 - Rookie Matt Carpenter's two-run, third-inning homer provided the winning margin for the Cardinals to take a two to one lead in the best-of-seven championship series.

Matt Carpenter
Carpenter's first post-season blast came after the Giants had plated a run in the top of the inning off St. Louis starter Kyle Lohse, who struggled through 5 2/3 innings, allowing seven hits and five walks, but surrendered only one run. During the regular season, Carpenter batted .294 with six home runs and 46 RBI.

St. Louis added another tally in the seventh inning, just before a 3 1/2 hour rain delay. Officials could have just called the game complete at that point, as both the St. Louis and San Francisco bullpens held strong and did not allow any hits or runs following the delay.

Carpenter was subbed into the game in the top of the second, replacing Carlos Beltran in right field after Beltran strained his left knee running out a double play ball in the bottom of the first. His status is uncertain for game four, slated to start at 8:07 pm on Thursday night in St. Louis.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Justin Verlander Puts Yankees on the Brink of Elimination

Players of the Day for Tuesday, October 16, 2012

American League

ALCS: Detroit 2 NY Yankees 1 - Justin Verlander turned in another stellar post-season performance, holding a depleted Yankee lineup to two harmless singles and no runs over eight innings before Eduardo Nunez led off the ninth with a solo homer to left.

Verlander pitched to one more batter, his pitch count hitting 132 as he got Brett Gardner on a dribbler to the right side of the infield which Verlander handled and tossed casually to first baseman Prince Fielder.

Verlander: 8 1/3 IP,
3 H, 1 ER, W
Former Yankee reliever, Phil Coke, came on to finish up, getting Ichiro Suzuki to ground out to second, but then allowed back-to-back singles before striking out Raul Ibanez to end the game and put the Tigers up three games to none in the best-of-seven series.

The Tigers managed only single runs in the fourth and fifth off Yankee starter Phil Hughes and reliever David Phelps. Leading off the fourth inning, Delmon Young cracked his second homer of the season to give Detroit the lead, and Miguel Cabrera drove in Quentin Berry with none out in the fifth for the second Tiger run. Berry had reached on a fielding error by third baseman Eric Chavez and stole second prior to Cabrera's line shot to the center-right gap. The run was unearned.

As usual, Verlander was on his game, the only Yankee to hit safely through the first eight innings was Ichiro, who singled in the fourth and seventh, but did not advance past first either time.

Though the result may have been the same regardless, the Yankee lineup was devoid of three regular starters. Derek Jeter, out for the remainder of the playoffs with a broken left ankle, was replaced at short by Nunez. Alex Rodriguez and Nick Swisher, batting .130 (3-for-23) and .154 (4-for-26), in the playoffs, respectively, were replaced by Eric Chavez at third and Brett Gardner, who returned to his normal position in right field after missing most of the regular season due to injury.

The replacements did as well as could be expected against Verlander. Nunez was 1-for-3 with the solo homer. Chavez went 0-for-3; Gardner, batting in the leadoff spot, was held hitless in four at-bats. Verlander struck out three and did not issue a walk, winning for the sixth time in 11 post-season starts against three losses.

The Yankees face elimination with the Tigers on the verge of a trip to the World Series. Game four gets underway at 8:07 pm EDT in Detroit, Wednesday night.

National League

Game three of the NL Championship Series starts at 4:07 pm EDT in St. Louis. With the series tied at a game apiece, Matt Cain goes to the mound for the Giants; Kyle Lohse starts for the Cardinals.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Ryan Vogelsong Halts Cardinals as Giants Tie Series

Players of the Day for Monday, October 15, 2012

American League

Detroit hosts the NY Yankees in game three of the ALCS Tuesday night at 8:07 pm EDT.

National League

NLCS: San Francisco 7 St. Louis 1 - Evening their best-of-seven league championship series at a game apiece, the San Francisco Giants rode the arm of Ryan Vogelsong and the bat of Angel Pagan, who homered to lead off the Giant first, to a game two win over visiting St. Louis.

Ryan Vogelsong
The Giants got all over Cardinal starter Chris Carpenter, dinging him for six hits and five runs (three unearned) over four innings. St. Louis relievers didn't fare much better, as the Giants banged out a total of 12 hits, plating two more in the bottom of the eighth after scoring once in the first and four times in the fourth.

Vogelsong, in just his second post-season start, earned his first playoff win, allowing a sole earned run on four hits and a pair of walks. The 25-year-old hurler fanned four and threw 106 pitches over his seven innings of work.

Jeremy Affelt pitched a perfect eighth and the Cardinals could only muster one hit in the ninth off closer Sergio Romo.

Pivotal game three is scheduled for 4:07 pm EDT, Wednesday afternoon in St. Louis. Matt Cain takes the mound for the Giants. Kyle Lohse gets the start for the Cardinals.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Carlos Beltran, David Freese Pace Cardinals; Anibal Sanchez Hurls Tigers to 3-0 Win, 2-0 Lead over NY

Players of the Day for Sunday, October 14, 2012

American League

Sanchez: 7IP 3H 0ER
ALCS: Detroit 3 NY Yankees 0 - Detroit's Anibal Sanchez and the Yankees' Hiroki Kuroda locked into a lengthy pitcher's duel in game two of the ALCS, and, even though Kuroda worked longer - 7 2/3 innings compared to Sanchez's 7.0 - and struck out 11, it was Sanchez who was more masterful from the mound, allowing just three hits, walking three and striking out seven before turning the ball over to Phil Coke for two innings of scoreless relief.

Kuroda had been perfect through five, but Jhonny Peralta singled to open the sixth and the Tigers scored the game's first run when Delmon Young hit into a fielder's choice with one out, scoring Quentin Berry from third.

The Tigers tacked on two more with two out in the eighth, chasing Kuroda and working through four relievers in the frame.

David Freese
The Tigers have a 2-0 lead in the series with the scene shifting to Detroit for three games, including a game five, if necessary. Game three begins at 8:07 pn EDT on Tuesday.

National League

Carlos Beltran
NLCS: St. Louis 6 San Francisco 4 - St. Louis wasted little time showing the Giants that their hitters could handle anything the San Francisco pitching staff could cook up, scoring two runs in the second and four more in the fourth, all off Giants' starter Madison Bumgarner, who lasted only 3 2/3 innings, giving up all six runs on eight hits.

Cardinal starter Lance Lynn didn't fare much better, working the same 3 2/3 innings, but only allowing four runs before taking an early shower.

The St. Louis and Giant bullpens were both spot on, allowing just one hit between them - Marco Sucaro's leadoff single in the fifth - from the fifth inning onward.

David Freese and Carlos Beltran each connected for two-run homers to highlight the St. Louis attack, leading to a 1-0 lead in the series, with game two scheduled for Monday night at 8:07 pm in San Francisco.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Delmon Young Perseveres for Detroit; Jeter Out with Broken Ankle

Players of the Day for Saturday, October 13, 2012

American League

ALCS: Detroit 6 NY Yankees 4, 12 innings - Where Detroit's bullpen couldn't finish the job, Delmon Young just kept on playing, eventually getting the big hit in the 12th inning to take game of the the AL league championship over the Yankees.

The Tiger designated hitter had key hits throughout the game, singling home Miguel Cabrera with the second run of the sixth inning, putting the Tigers up, 2-0, then homering in the eighth for a 3-0 lead.

Delmon Young
Detroit added another run in the eighth for a 4-0 lead, but closer Jose Valverde gave up two-run homers to Ichiro Suzuki and Raul Ibanez in the bottom of the ninth to tie the game and send it into extra innings.

After Cabrera walked ot lead off the 12th and moved to second on Prince Fielder's ground out to first, Young cracked a double to right field, scoring Cabrera with what would be the winning run.

Young was replaced for pinch-runner Don Kelly, completing a 3-for-5 effort with three RBI and a run scored. Kelly scored an insurance run for Detroit on Andy Dirks bouncer back to pitcher David Phelps, after racing to third on Jhonny Peralta's single up the middle.

It was Peralta's hit that may have turned the series in favor of Detroit, because it was on that play that the Yankees lost their captain, Derek Jeter, for the remainder of the playoffs, Jeter tumbled to glove Peralta's hopper, planted on his left foot, but fell to his stomach, flipping the ball to second baseman Robinson Cano, though Cano had no play.

Jeter writhed in pain on the ground, having broken his left ankle, the same one that's been bothering him the past couple of weeks. He was helped off the field and replaced by Jayson Nix. Jeter will not return for the Yankees this season.

Game two will start Sunday at 4:07 pm EDT at Yankee Stadium. Detroit's Anibal Sanchez faces Hiroki Kuroda for the Yanks.

National League

The NL Championship series between the St. Louis Cardinals and San Francisco Giants begins Sunday at 8:07 pm EDT. The series opens in San Francisco, home of the NL West champion Giants, who send Madison Bumgarner to the mound against the Cardinals' Lance Lynn.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Daniel Descalso Leads Cards in Comeback Game Five Victory; C.C. Sabathia Hurls Yankees Past Orioles

Players of the Day for Friday, October 12, 2012

American League

ALDS: NY Yankees 3 Baltimore 1 - When it came down to deciding which team would advance to the league championship, the New York Yankees showed up with their ace, C.C. Sabathia, and the Orioles couldn't match up.

C.C. Sabathia
Sabathia, who went 8 2/3 innings to win game one, finally pitched his first post-season complete game, shutting down the Orioles on four hits to help the Yankees advance to the championship series against the Detroit Tigers.

The O's didn't get to Sabathia until the eighth inning, loading the bases, but only coming away with a single run. Manager Joe Girardi never made a move from his dugout position, allowing his ace to work out of his own jam.

Walking two while fanning nine, Sabathia improved his post-season record to 9-4.

The series with the Tigers opens Saturday at Yankee Stadium with first pitch set for 8:07 pm EDT. Doug Fister goes for the Tigers against Andy Pettitte of the Yankees.

National League

NLDS: St. Louis 9 Washington 7 - St. Louis spotted the Washington Nationals six runs, then came back to beat them, advancing to the league championship against San Francisco.
Daniel Descalso

St. Louis starter, Adam Wainwright, was rocked by the Nationals, allowing six runs on seven hits over just 2 1/3 innings.

Never giving up, the Cardinals chipped away at the lead, getting it down to one run, 6-5, in the top of the eighth. Washington scored another run in the bottom of the frame, but, in their last at-bat, the Cardinals put up four runs to clinch game five and move on to the next round of playoffs.

Daniel Descalso had the game of his life, socking a solo homer in the eighth to pull the Cardinals to within a run and driving in the first two runs in the ninth with a bases-loaded single to tie the game at seven.

He also scored the Cardinals' final run after stealing second, following David Freese home on Pete Kozma's single to right field.

Earlier, in the fifth, Descalso doubled and scored on a wild pitch. He finished the game 3-for-5 with three runs and three RBI.

Closer Jason Motte, who gave up three hits and a run in the 8th, polished off the Nationals with a 1-2-3 ninth inning, earning the win, his second of the series.

The league championship series begins Sunday in San Francisco at 8:07 pm EDT.

Friday, October 12, 2012

J.J. Hardy Sends O's to Game Five; Justin Verlander Puts Tigers into ALCS; Jayson Werth Stuns Cards; Buster Posey Slams as Giants Advance

Players of the Day for Thursday, October 11, 2012

American League

J.J. Hardy
ALDS: Baltimore 2 NY Yankees 1, 13 innings - 16 pitchers were used in the marathon extra inning game four between the two AL East entrants in the post-season sweepstakes, but the Yankees' David Phelps was victimized by J.J. Hardy, who stroked a double to deep left field, scoring Manny Machado from second base with the eventual game-winner in the top of the 13th.

Machado doubled to lead off the inning and moved to third on Nate McLouth's ground out to second. With the outfield drawn in, Hardy launched a perfect, down-the-middle offering from Phelps, Machado trotting home easily. Jim Johnson worked a perfect bottom of the 13th for his second save of the series.

To settle the series, game five is scheduled for 5:07 pm EDT at Yankee Stadium. C.C. Sabathia goes up the bump for New York, against the Orioles' Jason Hammel.

Verlander: 9IP 4H CG
ALDS: Detroit 6 Oakland 0 - The Tigers took game five of their divisional series with the A's, as Justin Verlander proved once again that he is the ultimate big-game pitcher in the majors.

Verlander improved to 5-3 in the post-season, hurling a four-hit, 11-strikeout gem, advancing the Tigers past the A's and into the Championship Series against either the Yankees or Orioles. The 2011 Cy Young award winner walked one and didn't allow a base runner past second, going the distance for his first post-season shutout in ten starts.

The Tigers won the first two games of the series in Detroit, then dropped two in Oakland before calling on their ace to finish off the A's.

National League

Posey Slams for SF
NLDS: San Francisco 6 cincinnati 4 - Buster Posey socked a grand slam as the Giants erupted for six runs in the fifth inning off Cincy starter Mat Latos, advancing the Giants to the NL championship series to face either St. Louis or Washington.

It was Posey's second home run of the post-season, and likely the biggest shot of his career. Matt Cain took the win and the Giants used five relievers to hold down the Reds, who lost three straight after winning the first two in San Francisco. Sergio Romo allowed a ninth-inning run, but managed to pick up his second save of the series.

Jayson Werth
NLDS: Washington 2 St. Louis 1 - Jayson Werth's leadoff home run in the bottom of the ninth broke a 1-1 tie and sent the divisional series to a deciding game five, to be played Friday night in the nation's capitol.

Werth homered off Lance Lynn, staving off elimination for the Nationals and tying the series at two games apiece.

Washington scored a run in the second and the Cardinals responded with a single run in the top of the third, but that was all the two starters, St. Louis' Kyle Lohse and Washington's Ross Detwiler would allow. Lohse went seven full innings; Detwiler worked six.

Adam Wainwright gets the game five start for St. Louis against the Nationals' Gio Gonzalez. Game time is 8:37 pm EDT.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Raul Ibanez Rallies Yankees; Chris Carpenter Shuts Down Nats; Seth Smith, Coco Crisp Down Tigers; Pablo Sandoval, Tim Lincecum Lift Giants

Players of the Day for Wednesday, October 10, 2012

American League

Raul Ibanez
ALDS: NY Yankees 3 Baltimore 2 - Raul Ibanez, pinch-hitting for Alex Rodriguez, slugged a ninth-inning solo homer to tie game three with the Baltimore Orioles and then ended the game with another solo homer to right field leading off the 12th.
Coco Crisp

The Yankees took a 2-1 lead in the best-of-five series. Game four is slated to begin Thursday at 7:37 pm EDT in New York. Joe Saunders is scheduled to start for the Orioles against the Yankees' Phil Hughes.

ALDS: Oakland 4 Detroit 3 - The Oakland A's avoided elimination for the second straight night, coming from behind with three runs in the ninth inning to defeat the Tigers and tie the divisional series at two games apiece.

Seth Smith
The A's rocked Detroit closer, Jose Valverde, for four hits and three runs in just 2/3rds of an inning. With nobody out and runners on second and third, Seth Smith doubled into the right-center gap driving home both and tying the game. Two outs later, Coco Crisp delivered the game winner with a single to right field, scoring Smith from second.

Decisive game five commences at 9:37 pm EDT in Oakland.

Chris Carpenter
National League

NLDS: St. Louis 8 Washington 0 - St. Louis took a 2-1 lead in their divisional series with Washington, roughing up Nationals' starter, Edwin Jackson, and four relievers for 14 hits, including a three-run, second-inning homer by Cardinal shortstop Pete Kozma that put the Cardinals ahead, 4-0.

Chris Carpenter worked 5 2/3 innings on the mound, scattering seven hits without allowing a run. Carpenter walked two and struck out a pair, winning his 10th game against two losses in 16 post-season starts.

Game four goes off at 4:07 pm Thursday in Washington. The Cardinals can wrap up the series with a win. If necessary, game five will be played Friday in Washington.

Pablo Sandoval
Tim Lincecum
NLDS: San Francisco 8 Cincinnati 3 - Pablo Sandoval went 3-for-4 with a two-run homer and three RBI to pace the Giants offensively while Tim Lincecum came out of the bullpen to toss 4 1/3 innings of relief, holding the Reds to one run on two hits, fanning six.

Lincecum ended a two-out threat in the fourth, striking out Ryan Ludwig with runners on first and second, and worked through the eighth inning wihtout allowing a walk, throwing 42 of 55 pitches for strikes.

The win evened the series at two games apiece with the deciding game five set for 1:07 pm EDT in Cincinnati. Matt Cain gets the start for the Giants, facing the Reds' Mat Latos, the winner advancing to the seven-game league championship series.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Giants, A's Stay Alive as Brett Anderson, Buster Posey, Serigo Romo Fuel Tight Wins

Players of the Day for Tuesday, October 9, 2012

American League

ALDS: Oakland 2 Detroit 0 - Oakland's Brett Anderson out-pitched Detroit's Anibal Sanchez and the Oakland A's avoided elimination with a 2-0 win at home.

Brett Anderson
Anderson allowed just two hits and no runs over six full innings. Sanchez was tagged for single runs in the second and fifth innings, the first run an RBI single off the bat of rookie Yoenis Cespedes and the insurance a solo homer by Seth Smith.

With the 2-0 lead in hand, the A's went to their bullpen. After Ryan Cook and Sean Doolittle worked uneventful seventh and eighth innings, Grant Balfour closed the door in the ninth, earning the save.

Oakland pitchers totaled 11 strikeouts of Detroit batters, including Austin Jackson twice and Omar Infante three times, at the top of the Tiger lineup. Anderson walked two and struck out six, getting the win in his first post-season start.

The series continues Wednesday in Oakland with the Tigers ahead, two games to one. Start time for game four is 9:37 pm EDT.

National League

Buster Posey
Sergio Romo
NLDS: San Francisco 2 Cincinnati 1, 10 innings - Cincinnati's Homer Bailey took a no-hitter into the sixth inning and finished his work on the mound allowing one hit and one earned run over seven complete innings, fanning 10, but the Giants hung in and staved off elimination at Great American Ball Park when Buster Posey scored the game-winner off Reds' third baseman Scott Rolen's crucial fielding error.

In the top of the 10th, Rolen bobbled a rather routine ground ball off the bat of Joaquin Arias, after Posey and Hunter Pence had singled off Reds' reliever Jonathan Broxton to lead off the inning. Following a pair of strikeouts, the runners advanced to second and third on a passed ball, and, when Arias scooted down the line to beat Rolen's late throw, Posey crossed the plate with the go-ahead run.

Sergio Romo got the win, holding the Reds hitless over the ninth and 10th innings, sending the series to game four in Cincinnati with the Reds still up, two games to one.

Wednesday's game starts at 4:07 pm EDT. If the Giants win game four and force a deciding game five, Matt Cain goes to the mound for the Giants against Cincy's Mat Latos.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Wei-Yin Chen Stymies Yanks, O's Tie Series; Cards Tie Nationals as Jon Jay, Carlos Beltran Deliver

Players of the Day for Monday, October 8, 2012

American League

ALDS: Baltimore 3 NY Yankees 2 - The Orioles evened their series with the Yankees at a game apiece with a tight victory Monday night at Camden Yards.

Wei-Lin Chen
Rookie starter Wei-Yin Chen pitched like a weathered veteran, allowing one earned run over 6 1/3 innings to earn the win. Chris Davis drove in a pair of runs with a single in the third inning; Mark Reynolds drove in Matt Wieters with what proved to be the deciding run with a sixth-inning single.

The Yankees could only must single runs in the first and seventh innings, the first run unearned, coming after a Mark Reynolds throwing error that allowed Ichiro Suzuki to reach and later score.

Chen allowed a run and got one out in the seventh, before being replaced by reliever Darren O'Day, who struck out Alex Rodriguez with Robbie Cano standing at second. Brian Matusz closed out the inning and held the Yankees scoreless in the eighth. Closer Jim Johnson got three outs in order in the ninth to pick up the save. Chen scattered eight hits and struck out three.

The series heads to Yankee Stadium on Wednesday. Game time is set for 7:37 pm EDT.

National League

Jon Jay
Carlos Beltran
NLDS: St. Louis 12 Washington 4 - Jon Jay and Carlos Beltran led a 13-hit Cardinal attack, leading St. Louis to a 1-1 tie in their best-of-five divisional series with Washington.

Beltran homered twice in four at-bats, driving in three runs. Jay went 2-for-5, singling home a run in the second innings, as the Cards plated four, and tripling home another run in the eighth. Jay also reached on an error in the fourth, allowing Pete Kozma to score from third and stole second in the same inning, but did not score. Jay finished with three RBI.

With the series tied, the scene shifts to Washington for games three and four (and five, if necessary) beginning Wednesday at 1:07 pm EDT.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Bronson Arroyo Sharp for Reds; C.C. Sabathia Dominates O's; Don Kelly Sends Detroit to 2-0 Lead over A's; Tyler Moore Downs Cardinals

Players of the Day for Sunday, October 7, 2012

American League

Don Kelly
ALDS: Detroit 5 Oakland 4 - Detroit took a 2-0 lead over Oakland in the best-of-five series when Don Kelly drove a ninth-inning, one-out ball to center field, his sac fly plating Omar Infante with the game-winning run.

Kelly's bases-loaded shot broke a 4-4 tie and sends the series to Oakland on Tuesday for game three, the A's facing elimination. Kelly scored the tying run on a wild pitch after being put in to run for Delmon Young in the eighth.

ALDS: NY Yankees 7 Baltimore 2 - C.C. Sabathia got all but the final out, working 8 2/3 innings in the opener of the ALDS in Baltimore.

C.C. Sabathia
Sabathia gave up two runs in the third, but otherwise was in control throughout, scattering eight hits and a walk while striking out seven. It was Sabathia's eighth post-season win against four losses dating back to 2001.

After the Orioles took a 2-1 lead, the Yankees tied the game on Mark Teixeira's single in the fourth, scoring Alex Rodriguez. Russell Martin opened the top of the ninth with a solo homer and the Yankees pild on four more runs in the innings, breaking a tight game wide open.

The series resumes Monday at Camden Yards at 8:07 pm EDT.

National League

Tyler Moore
NLDS: Washington 3 St. Louis 2 - Pinch hitting rookie Tyler Moore drove in a pair of runs in the top of the eighth, turning around a 2-1 deficit and providing the winning margin in game one of the best-of-five divisional series.

Gio Gonzalez was erratic for the Nationals, but, despite walking seven batters, he allowed only one over five full innings. The Cardinals scored their two runs in the third inning, on a wild pitch and a sac fly.

Game two is set for Monday at 4:37 pm EDT. Washington sends Jordan Zimmermann to the mound to face the Cardinals' Jaime Garcia.

Bronson Arroyo
NLDS: Cincinnati 9 San Francisco 0 - Bronson Arroyo pitched seven innings of one-hit ball and the Cincinnati hitters battered the Giants for 13 hits, taking a 2-0 lead in the divisional series.

Arroyo worked a perfect game into the fifth inning, giving up a two-out single to Brian Belt. His only other flaw was a two-out walk to Buster Posey in the seventh inning, before finishing up the frame by getting Hunter Pence on a harmless fly ball.

Ryan Hannigan drove in three runs with a pair of singles to pace the Reds' offense. San Francisco got only two hits off Arroyo and a pair of relievers.

Cincinnati will host game three on Tuesday, at 5:37 pm EDT and will also be the site of games four and five, if necessary.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

ALDS: Justin Verlander Leads Tigers Past A's; NLDS: Reds Take Game One over Giants as Brandon Phillips Shines

Players of the Day for Saturday, October 6, 2012

American League

Detroit took game one of their best-of-five series with Oakland, winning, 3-1, behind the pitching of ace starter, Justin Verlander.

Justin Verlander
Tagged by Coco Crisp with a leadoff home run, Verlander quickly settled down, allowing just two more hits over seven full innings, fanning 11 and walking four. Meanwhile, the Tigers scored single runs in the first, third and fifth innings, the final run coming on an Alex Avila solo homer.

Dating back to 2006, it was Verlander's ninth post-season start, improving his playoff record to 4-3.

Game two is set for Sunday at 12:07 pm EDT at Detroit. The Orioles and Yankees begin their best-of-five divisional series Sunday at 6:07 pm, in Baltimore.

National League

The Cincinnati Reds won their first post-season game since 1995, taking down the Giants, 5-2, in San Francisco.

Brandon Phillips
Reds' starter, Johnny Cueto, threw just eight pitches before leaving the game with back spasms. Cueto got Angel Pagan on strikes, but could not continue, so a parade of Reds relievers continued, holding the Giants to just two earned runs on seven hits over the final 8 2/3 innings.

Brandon Phillips supplied more than enough offense, going 3-for-4 with a two-run homer in the third inning and an insurance RBI single in the ninth.

Jay Bruce's solo shot in the fourth put the Reds up 3-0. Xavier Paul scored on a passed ball in the ninth to complete the scoring for Cincinnati.

San Francisco's two runs came on a sixth-inning solo home run by Buster Posey and Joaquin Arias score on a wild pitch in the ninth.

The series resumes Sunday with game two in San Francisco at 9:37 pm EDT.

The Nationals and Cardinals open their best-of-five divisional series Sunday in St. Louis. Game time is 3:07 pm EDT.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Cardinals Advance Past Braves as Matt Holliday Homers; Joe Saunders Stifles Rangers, Orioles Move On in Playoffs

Players of the Day for Friday, October 5, 2011

American League

The collapse of 2010 and 2011 AL champion Texas Rangers was completed Friday night when the Baltimore Orioles eliminated them in a one-game wild card playoff,5-1, at Arlington, Texas.

Joe Saunders
Losing eight of their final ten games, the Rangers blew a lead in the AL West to the Oakland A's, who came on to win six straight - including the final three games of the regular season against the Rangers - to capture the division title and force Texas into the one-game wild-card format with the Orioles.

Baltimore scored their five runs on eight hits, while the Rangers squandered their few opportunities, getting nine hits in the contest. Oriole starter Joe Saunders kept the Rangers in check, allowing one earned run on six hits over 5 2/3 innings. Earning his first post-season victory in five starts, Saunders walked one and struck out four, working into and out of trouble in each inning. The Rangers had base runners in every inning in which he worked, except the sixth, when he was lifted for reliever Darren O'Day with two out and nobody on, to face Nelson Cruz, who popped out to end the inning.

O'Day worked two innings before handing the ball over to Brian Matusz, who got the final out of the eighth. The Orioles tacked on a pair of runs in the top of the ninth, setting up a non-save situation for closer Jim Johnson.

Providing one final bit of drama, the Rangers sent the tying run to the plate in the bottom of the ninth after Johnson loaded the bases by allowing a pair of singles and a walk, but then got David Murphy on a harmless pop out to right, ending the game.

Baltimore will host the New York Yankees in the first two of a best-of-five series beginning Sunday. The other divisional series opens Saturday in Detroit between West division champion Oakland and the Tigers, winners of the Central division.

National League

Controversy and an embarrassing display by Atlanta fans aside, the St. Louis Cardinals moved on in the playoffs, eliminating the Braves in a one-game playoff, 6-3, at Turner Field.

Matt Holliday
With the Cards leading 6-3 in the eighth inning, Atlanta had runners on first and second with one out when left field umpire Sam Holbrook called an infield fly rule on a deep pop-up into left field. Shortstop Pete Kozma was settling under the ball, but darted away at the last moment, the ball falling harmlessly between himself and left fielder Matt Holliday.

Because of the call, instead of having the bases loaded and one out, the Braves were left with runners on second and third with two outs. That's when bottles and other debris came flying from the stands, causing a 19-minute delay and Braves' manager Fredi Gonzalez protesting the game. Once play resumed, Brian McCann walked to load the bases, but Cardinal reliever Jason Motte struck out Michael Bourn to end the inning and the threat.

The Braves were their own worst enemy, wasting 12 hits and stranding ten base runners. St. Louis cashed in six hits for six runs, aided by three Atlanta errors. Holliday went 2-for-3, with a single and a solo home run, scoring twice, to lead the Cardinals offensively.

St. Louis advances to the division round against the Washington Nationals starting Sunday. The five game series begins with two games in St. Louis, followed by three in Washington, D.C., if necessary, in the best-of-five series.

The Giants and Reds begin their five-game series on Saturday in San Francisco.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Yanks Take AL East Behind Robinson Cano; Brandon Moss LeadsA's Win AL West; Miguel Cabrera Captures Triple Crown; NL Winners

Players of the Day for Wednesday, October 3, 2012

American League

The New York Yankees wrapped up another AL East title on the final day of the season with a resounding, 14-2 win over the Boston Red Sox.

Curtis Granderson
Robinson Cano
Robinson Cano powered the 15-hit assault on seven Red Sox pitchers, banging a pair of two run homers, two singles, scoring three times and driving in six runs, going a perfect 4-for-4.

Curtis Granderson chipped in with a three-run homer and a solo shot, giving him 43 home runs on the year, tied for second in that category with the Rangers' Josh Hamilton.

The two fell one short of Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera, who ended the season tops in batting average, home runs, and RBI, at .330, 44, and 139, respectively. Cabrera, who had finished atop each of the individual categories at least once before, put it all together in a remarkable season that led the Tigers to the AL Central pennant.

Cabrera is the first player since Carl Yastrzemski accomplished the feat in 1967. No National Leaguer has accomplished the Triple Crown since Frank Robinson, playing for the Cincinnati Reds, did it in 1966.

Brandon Moss
Cabrera: Triple Crown
In the AL West, the Oakland A's completed a remarkable run to capture the division title, winning three straight in Oakland from the Texas Rangers, completing a season-ending six-game winning streak with a 12-3 triumph. Brandon Moss led the A's with a single and double in four at-bats, driving in three runs.

The three division races in the AL were all close, the East and West coming down to the final day of the season. The Yanks finished two games ahead of Baltimore in the East, the Tigers topped the white Sox by three games in the Central and Oakland finished one game better than Texas in the West.

Baltimore and Texas will play a one-game wild card playoff on Friday in Arlington, Texas at 8:37 pm EDT.

National League

Posey: .336 BA
With playoff positions already decided in the National League, a salute to the individual category winners:

Buster Posey won the batting title, hitting .336, tops in the majors, for the San Francisco Giants.
Braun: 41 Homers

Ryan Braun led the league in home runs for the second straight season, belting 41 for the Milwaukee Brewers.

San Diego's Chase Headley drove in 115 runs to lead the league.

Clay Kershaw of the Dodgers led all starters with a 2.53 ERA and was second in strikeouts to the Mets' R.A. Dickey, who finished with 230. Kershaw had 229.

Washington's Gio Gonzalez was the league's top winner, with 21.

The NL playoffs get underway on Friday, when the two wild cards, St. Louis and Atlanta, meet for one game in Atlanta at 5:07 pm EDT.