Thursday, September 13, 2012

A.J. Griffin Slams Door on Angels in 4-1 Win; Cliff Lee Leads Phillies to 7th Straight Win, Tightens Wild Card Race

Players of the Day for Wednesday, September 12, 2012

American League

Divisional and wild card races are heating up in both leagues, but, in the AL, no teams have been more pleasant surprises this season than Baltimore and Oakland.

On Wednesday, both the A's and O's were winners, the Orioles taking their second straight from Tampa Bay, when Nate McLouth drove in rookie Manny Machado with the game-winner in the bottom of the ninth for a 3-2 win.

Baltimore remained tied with the Yankees for the AL East lead and in line for the second wild card spot, dropping the Rays down to three games out.

A.J. Griffin
The A's have severely dimmed the fading post-season hopes of the LA Angels, whipping them for the third straight time after getting eight innings of shutout ball from rookie starter A.J. Griffin (6-0), in a 4-1 victory.

Griffin has been solid since being called up in June, posting a 1.984 ERA in 11 starts. Over his last three games, he's allowed just two earned runs in a span of 20 1/3 innings. His win over the Angels was his best start of the year, allowing six hits while fanning six with no walks issued.

The A's remained three games behind Texas in the West and are in line for the first wild card while sending the Angles 8 1/2 back and virtually out of both the wild card and division races.. In the Central, Detroit has pulled to within one game of division-leading Chicago, taking two straight from the White Sox.

The A's and Angels tangle again in Anaheim on Thursday afternoon, with Oakland seeking the series sweep. Likewise, the Orioles will be looking for their third straight win over the Rays in their series finale, an afternoon contest.

National League

Cliff Lee
With their seventh straight victory, the Philadelphia Phillies have officially risen from the dead, winning for the 15th time in their last 19 games as teams ahead of them stumble in September.

Cliff Lee (5-7) delivered seven solid innings from the mound, allowing four hits and no earned runs as Philadelphia completed their sweep of the Marlins with a 4-1 win.

Jimmy Rollins provided all the support Lee would need, stroking a two-run homer, his 19th bomb of the season. Lee fanned six and walked one as the Braves, Cardinals, Dodgers and Pirates all lost. For Pittsburgh, their losing streak has now run to six games.

Milwaukee and Arizona also won, so the race for the second wild card has St. Louis a game better than LA, the Pirates 2 1/2 back, Philly and Milwaukee closing fast, just three out, and Arizona, waiting in the wings nearly all season long, just four games out.

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