Thursday, September 6, 2012

Grand Slam, 6 RBI by Alex Rios Keeps White Sox in First Place; Mike Minor Dominates Rockies in 1-0 Braves Win

Players of the Day for Wednesday, September 5, 2011

American League

Rios: GS, 6 RBI
While the battle in the AL East between the Yankees, Orioles and Rays has captured baseball headlines over the past week, the AL Central fight between the White Sox and Tigers might be even more intriguing because the loser is probably not going to the post-season as a wild card.

Chicago has held the lead in the division since before the all star break, but it's been a slim one. The Tigers keep nipping at their heels and remain one game off the pace as Detroit took care of Cleveland, 7-1, while the White Sox took the rubber game of their home series with the Twins by a 6-2 score.

Jake Peavy evened his record at 10-10, but Alex Rios was the real story, driving in all six of Chicago's runs with a first inning grand slam and a two-run homer in the sixth inning.

That gave Rios 22 homers on the year and 82 RBI to go with 20 steals and a .298 batting average, well on his way to his most productive season in his eight-year major league career.

After a day off Thursday, the White Sox host Kansas City for three games before opening a critical four-game series with the Tigers in Chicago beginning Monday. Likewise, the Tigers have Thursday off, but face a more onerous task as they travel to play three against the Angels prior to the series with the Sox.

National League

Blasting six homers, the Nationals clubbed the Cubs, 9-1, and Atlanta kept pace in the NL East with a gutsy, 1-0, win over the Rockies.

Minor: 7IP 1H 0 ER
Mike Minor (8-10) earned the win, taking a no-hitter through six full innings, spoiled by Jordan Pacheco, who singled to left center leading off the seventh.

No damage was done, but Minor sat after throwing 108 pitches, walking four and fanning seven. Criag Kimbrel picked up his 33rd save, getting the final four outs, all on strikeouts.

The Braves remain the #1 wild card with a three game lead over St. Louis, but trail the Nationals by 7 1/2 in the division.

Atlanta has taken two of three from the visiting Rockies, and finish up their four-game series on Thursday afternoon. The Braves will get only one more crack at the front-running Nats, hosting a three-game series September 14-16.

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