Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Mark Reynolds, Zach Britton Lead Orioles to First Place Tie with Yankees; Adam LaRoche, Jayson Werth Lead Storming Nationals

Players of the Day for Tuesday, September 4, 2012

American League

Trailing the Yankees by a game in the AL East, manager Buck Schowalter got his team fired up for their game in Toronto against the Blue Jays.

Zach Britton
Whatever the manager said to his troops, it certainly did the trick, or maybe there was a little bit of scoreboard watching, because shortly after the Rays took a 3-2 lead against the Yankees in Tampa, on Evan Longoria's two-run homer, the O's hitters went to work, banging out 18 hits in a 12-0 wipeout of the Blue Jays.

Mark Reynolds
While Zach Britton was blanking the Jays on four hits over seven innings, fanning eight, Mark Reynolds led the offensive assault, first with a three-run homer in the fifth which broke a tie at zero, and later delivering an RBI single and scoring in a five run eighth that padded the O's lead.

After Britton handed the ball over, Baltimore relievers, Kevin Gregg and Zach Phillips each worked a perfect inning of relief, closing out the scoreless mound work.

Red hot Reynolds finished 3-for-4 with four RBI and a pair of runs, helping the Orioles tie the Yankees for first place in the division, the first time the Orioles have had a share of the lead this late in the season since 1997.

Seeing the ball well, Reynolds has been banging it hard, going 8-for-19 over his last five games with five homers and 11 RBI. Reynolds hit 37 homers for the O's last season, but seems to be just hitting his best stride with 17 so far this year.

The Orioles will be looking for the sweep of the Blue Jays when they take the field Wednesday in Toronto. The Jays have not scored a single run off Baltimore pitching over the first two games. The Yankees will try to avoid being swept by the Rays, who are just 1 1/2 back after taking the first two games of their series in Tampa.

Baltimore heads to New York for a four game series with the Yankees beginning Thursday.

National League
Jayson Werth

Whether manager Davey Johnson shuts down Stephen Strasberg after a couple more starts or not, the Washington Nationals keep rolling right along, leading the Braves in the NL East by 7 1/2 games after bombing the Cubs, 11-5, Tuesday night.

Adam LaRoche
The Nats hammered seven Chicago hurlers for 19 hits, scoring in every inning except the third and fifth, not needing to bat in the bottom of the ninth.

From the leadoff spot, Jayson Werth went 4-for-5, scoring twice and driving in a run. Adam LaRoche homered twice (his 26th and 27th), drove in two runs and scored twice, adding a couple of singles in a 4-for-4 effort.

Washington has won three straight and will be seeking their third consecutive win over the visiting Cubs when they play the third of their four game series on Wednesday night. Nationals' fans can start the countdown to the NL East pennant: the magic number for Washington - which has the best record in baseball at 83-52 - is 20.

This post, and this day are dedicated to Nicholas Gagliano Sr., born this day in 1924 and passed on in July of 2009. He is the author's father.

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