Monday, September 3, 2012

Mark Reynolds 2 HR Lead O's over Yanks; Chase Headley Drives in 6, Padres Lose

Players of the Day for Sunday, September 2, 2012

American League

Yankee fans - and players and coaches - have been waiting all season for the Baltimore Orioles to fold up their tents and head for the bottom of the division, where they have been continual residents for the better part of the last fifteen years.

Reynolds: 2HR 4RBI
But, this year's version of the usual unloved losers is a different variety, with solid starting pitching, capable relief and a lineup that seldom goes slumping.

One of the great additions that has helped form the nucleus of the "new" Orioles, is third baseman Mark Reynolds, acquired in an off-season trade with the Diamondbacks following the 2011 campaign.

In Sunday's 8-3 win over the Yankees, Reynolds proved the catalyst for the Baltimore offense, socking a solo homer in the fifth to get Baltimore on the board, and pounding another ball into the left field stands in the sixth, with two aboard, putting the Orioles ahead to stay, at 5-3.

Reynolds also singled and scored in the eighth, when Baltimore plated three runs.

The Yanks leave Baltimore having lost two out of three, their lead trimmed to two games over the O's, and head to Tampa Bay - 3 1/2 back - for a three-game set. On Thursday, the Yankees welcome the Orioles to New York for a crucial four-game series that will go a long way toward determining the AL East champion and wild card standings.

National League

Chase Headley
The divisional races in the National League are taking on a runaway character at the start of September. The smallest lead is 4 1/2 games, the margin that San Francisco has over the Dodgers. In the East, Atlanta has been chasing Washington virtually all season, but can't seem to get much closer than their current 6 1/2 games.

In the Central, it's pretty much over, as the Reds hold a 9 1/2 game bulge over the Cardinals.

With all these big leads, there are a plethora of largely meaningless games, such as Colorado's 11-10 win over the Padres.

In one of the usual of baseball oddities, the Padres banged out 20 hits to the Rockies' 11, but still managed to lose. One cannot lay blame upon Chase Headley, one of the league's hottest hitters, who had a big day at the plate.

Headley cracked his 16th homer, added three and stole a base, scored once and drove in six runs. Headley's big game brought his RBI total to 89 on the year. In his last nine games, he's hit safely in eight, scored six runs and driven in 11.

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