Saturday, September 28, 2013

Drew Stubbs, Jason Kipnis Drive Indians to 8th Straight Win; Lance Lynn Goes Six Scoreless as Cardinals Clinch NL Central

Players of the Day for Friday, September 27, 2013

American League

Jason Kipnis
Winning their eighth straight, the Cleveland Indians tied Tampa Bay for the overall wild card lead while maintaining a one-game edge over the streaking (five straight wins) Texas Rangers.

Cleveland hitters banged out 17 hits, downing the Twins, 12-6 in Minneapolis Friday night.

Drew Stubbs
Jason Kipnis singled, doubled and tripled in five at-bats, driving in a pair of runs and scoring twice. At the bottom of the order, Drew Stubbs went 2-for-4, socked a two-run, ninth inning homer, stole a base and scored three times to help the Indians continue their quest for the playoffs.

Combined with the Rays' 6-3 loss to Toronto and Texas' 5-3 win over the Angels, the AL wild card race can't get much tighter. With just two games left to the season, the Rays and Indians are deadlocked, with the Rangers one game back.

Al three season-ending series continue on Saturday. Cleveland plays at Minnesota at 1:05 pm EDT.

AL Wild Card Standings (through 9/27)
Team GB
Tampa Bay --
Cleveland --
Texas -1

National League

It's a familiar saga in the NL Central. The Cardinals clinched the division pennant while the Cubs sank further into the cellar - now 29 games out - as St. Louis got six innngs of shutout ball from Lance Lynn to topple the visiting Cubs, 7-0.

Lance Lynn
Lynn improved to 15-10, allowing four hits with nine strikeouts and no walks in a final tuneup before the playoffs. David Freese and Matt Holliday each slugged solo homers and Yadier Molina drove in three runs with a first-inning double and a fielder's choice in the fourth.

With the division wrapped up, the Cardinals have one more goal, to finish with the best regular season record and secure home field advantage throughout the playoffs. They are currently tied with the Braves, at 95-65.

In Cincinnati, the Pirates secured at least a tie with the Reds for the wild card, taking a 4-1 win in the opener of their three-game series. Pittsburgh needs to win one of the remaining two games in order to host the wild card playoff on Tuesday of next week. No matter how the series finishes, the Reds and Pirates will be the wild cards. The two teams battle again on Saturday at 1:05 pm EDT and finish up Sunday at 1:10 pm EDT. Sunday's game will be broadcast nationally on TBS.

Today's Trivia: Prior to this season, when was the last time the Pittsburgh Pirates were in the playoffs? (answer tomorrow)

Yesterday's Answer: Frank Tanana led the AL in strikeouts in 1975.

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