Saturday, September 21, 2013

Alex Rodriguez Sets Grand Slam Record, Yankees Win; Boston Clinches AL East; Jordan Zimmermann's 2-Hit Shutout Leads Nationals

Players of the Day for Friday, September 20, 2013

American League

A-Rod: Slam King
Alex Rodriguez stroked a seventh-inning grand slam to right field, leading the Yankees to a 5-1 win in the opener of their three-game home series with the San Francisco Giants.

It was the 24th grand slam for Rodriguez, breaking a tie with Lou Gehrig for the all-time career lead. Rodriguez had tied Gehrig last season, and had been on the disabled list most of this year but took the opportunity to break a 1-1 tie off reliever George Kontos to set the new record.

With the win, the Yankees kept pace with the Rays and Indians the two leaders for the AL wild card spots. Tampa Bay, currently in the #1 position, topped Baltimore, 6-5, in 18 innings, while the Indians jumped past San Francisco into the #2 spot with a 2-1 win in a rain-shortened, seven-inning game in Houston. Texas lost to Kansas City, 2-1.

Boston Clinched the AL East with a 6-3 win over the Blue Jays.

AL Wild Card Standings (through 9/20)
Team GB
Tampa Bay +1/2
Cleveland --
Texas -1/2
Baltimore -2 1/2
Kansas City -2 1/2
NY Yankees -3

National League

Jordan Zimmerman became the National League's first 19-game winner, hurling a 2-hit shutout over the visiting Miami Marlins, as the Nationals cruised to an 8-0 victory.

Jordan Zimmermann
Zimmerman improved to 19-8, holding the Marlins hitless over the first 6 2/3 innings. A single by Donovan Solano in the sixth and a two-out single in the ninth by Chris Coughlan were the only base hits off the 6'6" righty, who fanned five straight near the beginning of the game, getting the final two batters in the second and striking out the side in the third inning.

It was Zimmermann's second shutout of the season, fourth complete game, and fourth straight win. He has not lost a start in the month of September and will likely be going for his 20th win the middle of next week.

In the wild card card race, the Reds beat the Pirates, 6-5 in ten innings, tying Pittsburgh for the wold card lead and for second place in the NL Central, two games behind the Cardinals. The Reds and Pirates, regardless of the outcome of games in their head-to-head series this weekend, will likely be the two wild card teams in the playoffs. They currently hold a five-game lead over the Nationals, with eight games left in the regular season.

Today's Trivia: The lowest batting average to ever lead the AL in average was .301. Who did it and why was winning it vitally important? (answer tomorrow)

Yesterday's Answer: the two players with the lowest batting averages to win the AL batting title since 1990 were Boston's Bill Mueller, who hit .326 in 2003 and Minnesota's Joe Mauer, who led the AL with a .328 average in 2008.

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