Sunday, September 15, 2013

A's Bartolo Colon Shuts Down Rangers in 1-0 Win; Hunter Pence, Brandon Belt Smash Dodgers in 19-3 Giants' Win

Players of the Day for Saturday, September 14, 2013

American League

Colon: 16-9, 2.73
The demise of the Texas Rangers continues. Earlier this season, the Rangers seemed on their way to running off with the AL West. In August the surging A's caught them, and this month flew past them in the standings. Meanwhile, the Rangers had a grip on the first wild card slot, but after losing their fifth straight, and second straight to the A's, Texas is now tied with Tampa Bay for the two wild card spots, with identical, 81-66 records.

Bartolo Colon stifled Texas bats Saturday, scattering seven hits and one walk over eight innings in a 1-0 A's victory, Oakland's fourth straight win. Colon struck out seven and threw 77 of 108 pitches for strikes before turning the ball over to closer, Grant Balfour, who walked one in the ninth, but picked up save #38. At 16-9, Colon is tied for second in wins and his 2.73 is second-best among starters in the AL. Balfour is fifth in the league in saves.

Oakland scored the only run of the game in the first inning, when Brandon Moss doubled home Josh Donaldson off Texas starter Yu Darvish, who pitched exceptionally-well, but still was saddled with the loss. Darvish gave up only four hits, walked one and fanned 10, leading the AL with 256 Ks.

The A's will be seeking the three-game sweep of the Rangers when the two teams take the field at Rangers Ballpark at Arlington, Texas, Sunday at 3:05 pm EDT. Oakland leads the AL West by a commanding 5 1/2 games.

AL Wild Card Standings (through 9/14)
Team GB
Texas --
Tampa Bay --
Cleveland -1 1/2
NY Yankees -3
Baltimore -3 1/2
Kansas City -3 1/2

National League

Brandon Belt
The Giants won't be heading into the post-season, but they at least took out a little bit of their angst against NL West-leading Los Angeles when they bombed the Dodgers, 19-3, Saturday.

Hunter Pence
Brandon Belt was 5-for-6, with a double, home run, three singles, four runs and six RBI, while teammate Hunter Pence scratched out a pair of singles and a grand slam homer in five at-bats, scoring twice while driving in seven.

The pair combined to drive in 13 of San Francisco's 19 runs. The Dodgers used starter Ricky Nolasco - who was hammered for seven hits and five earned runs, lasting just an inning and a third - and five relievers in the loss.

Of course, the Dodgers will get the last laugh. They are cruising toward the NL West pennant with an 11 1/2 game lead over second place Arizona. With the largest lead in any major league division, the Dodgers need just four more wins to clinch the division outright.

San Francisco has taken two of three in LA, the four-game series concluding Sunday at 4:10 pm EDT.

Today's Trivia: Who is the all-time career leader in on-base percentage? (answer tomorrow)

Yesterday's Answer: Barry Bonds holds the single-season record for on-base percentage. In 2004, he reached .609 percent of the time.

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