Sunday, September 29, 2013

Carlos Santana, Michael Bourn Lead Indians into Playoffs; Pittsburgh gets Top Wild Card as Neil Walker, Marlon Byrd Lead Six HR Attack

Players of the Day for Saturday, September 28, 2013

American League

Michael Bourn
Michael Bourn and Carlos Santana each delivered clutch, two-out hits to drive Cleveland to their ninth straight victory and secure at least a tie for a playoff spot with a 5-1 win over the Minnesota Twins.

Carlos Santana
While Scott Kazmir was fanning 11 and holding the Twins to one run over six innings, Santana socked a two-run homer in the fourth inning, followed by Bourne's two-out triple in the fifth that drove in a pair. Bourne later scored on a jason Kipnis single to complete the scoring for the Indians.

The win, coupled with Tampa Bay's 7-2 loss at Toronto and Texas' 7-4 win over the Angels put Cleveland in the driver's seat entering the last day of the regular season. Cleveland has a one-game lead over both the Rays and Rangers, who are now tied for the second wild card spot.

All three teams close out their seasons on Sunday. Tampa Bay takes the field in Toronto at 1:07 pm EDT, the Indians go for their 10th straight win and the sweep of the Twins at 2:10 pm EDT and the Rangers and Angels mix it up at 3:05 pm EDT in Arlington, Texas.

AL Wild Card Standings (through 9/28)
Team GB
Cleveland +1
Tampa Bay --
Texas --

National League

The Pittsburgh Pirates rocked Cincinnati's Bronson Arroyo, socked six home runs and grabbed the top wild card spot in the National League with an 8-3 victory over the Reds.

Neil Walker
Marlon Byrd
Marlon Byrd homered and singled twice in four at-bats, drove in two runs and scored twice; Neil Walker mashed a pair of solo home runs - his 15th and 16th - as the Pirates hammered Arroyo for eight hits (five of them homers) and six runs over 4 2/3 innings.

Winning their second straight in their season-ending series at Cincinnati, the Pirates earned the right to host the one-game wild card playoff on Tuesday, October 1. Despite the loss, the Reds are still in the playoffs, taking the second wild card spot.

The series - and the season - wraps up today for both teams at 1:10 pm EDT at Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati.

Today's Trivia: Who was the last Cincinnati player to win either the Cy Young or MVP Award? (answer tomorrow)

Yesterday's Answer: The Pirates were last seen in the playoffs in 1992, when they won what was then the NL East.

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