Sunday, September 16, 2012

Rickie Weeks Keeps Brewers in Contention for Wild Card; Francisco Liriano's 1-Hit Effort Maintains White Sox Lead

Players of the Day for Saturday, September 15, 2012

American League

Pennant races in the American League are all now tighter than they have been all season, down to two main teams in each of the three divisions.

In the East, the Yankees scored a 5-3 win over the Tampa Bay Rays while the Orioles were losing at Oakland, 5-2, wresting a one game lead from Baltimore and putting Tampa four back.

The West is now down to a slim two games, after Oakland's win and Texas' 8-6 loss to Seattle.

Francisco Liriano
The White Sox retained their one-game bulge over Detroit as both teams registered identical 5-3 victories on the road, the Tigers topping Cleveland and the Sox knocking off Minnesota.

Chicago got a special performance out of Francisco Liriano, a starter with a world of talent who hasn't had the best of seasons, but who pitched well enough on Saturday to keep the White Sox in front.

Liriano (6-11) took a no-hitter into the seventh inning, walking two and striking out nine, but was tagged by Trevor Plouffe, who launched his 22nd home run off the Chicago starter with two outs, after Liriano had plunked Justin Morneau and put him on base.

The belt made the score 4-2 in favor of Chicago. Liriano struck out the next batter to end the inning and his day on the bump. Both teams added single runs in the ninth to produce the final score.

The Sox have won two straight and will conclude their series, seeking the sweep, Sunday afternoon in Minnesota.

National League

In the National League, the division races are all runaways, but the focus is on the final playoff spot, the second wild card currently being contested by no less than six teams.

Rickie Weeks
While the Phillies made great strides earlier in the week, winning seven straight, they have lost two in a row now, and have been overtaken by Milwaukee, another team which has seemingly come out of nowhere and into contention.

After their 9-6 win over the Mets, the Brewers find themselves just 2 1/2 games behind the Cardinals and Dodgers, the two teams currently tied for the last wild card. The Braves have pretty much locked away to first wild card with a seven game lead over LA and St. Louis.

Rickie Weeks led Milwaukee's 12-hit attack, going 2-for-3 with a double and his 20th home run of the season, a fourth-inning, two run blast in a five-run Milwaukee frame, turning a 4-1 deficit into a 6-4 lead that the Brewers would not give away.

Weeks finished with three RBI and two runs.

The Brewers host the Mets in the series' rubber game, Sunday afternoon.

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