Sunday, September 1, 2013

Ivan Nova, Robinson Cano Boost Yankees over O's, 2-0; Reds Continue Wild Card Chase as Brandon Phillips Leads 8-3 Win

Players of the Day for Saturday, August 31, 2013

American League

Robinson Cano
Ivan Nova
Baseball can be a fickle mistress, but playing at home - as the Yankees are proving - can be sweet.

Returning from a 2-4 road trip, the Yankees, looking listless and fading, have taken two straight from the Baltimore Orioles, passing them in the standings while closing in on a potential wild card playoff spot.

Their latest victory over the O's came Saturday afternoon, when Ivan Nova hurled a three-hit, complete game shutout for a 2-0 win.

Robinson Cano provided all the offense for the home team, driving in Brett Gardner with a single in the first inning and socking a solo homer - his 25th - in the eighth.

Nova used a mix of sliders, curveballs and and fastballs to keep the Orioles in check, giving up three harmless singles and a walk while striking out five. He threw 104 pitches, 67 of which went for strikes.

The win pushed the Yankees past Baltimore into third place in the AL East, eight games behind the Red Sox, but, perhaps more importantly, just 3 1/2 behind Tampa Bay for the final wild card position. The Rays have lost three straight and the Indians, who were in good position less than a week ago, have dropped five in a row and have been passed by the Yankees.

Game three of the series between New York and Baltimore is Sunday at 1:05 pm EDT with the Yankees looking for the sweep.

National League

Brandon Phillips
Cincinnati continues to trail both the Cardinals and Pirates in the Central division, but they are maintaining a healthy lead over the rest of the league in the race for the final wild card spot.

Brandon Phillips powered the Reds to an 8-3 win at Colorado, evening their series with the Rockies at a game apiece, keeping them six games up on their closest pursuer, the Arizona Diamondbacks.

All Phillips needed to hit for the cycle was a simple single, as he doubled, tripled and homered in five trips to the plate, driving in a pair of runs and scoring three times. Phillips has 99 RBI on the year, second in the league behind Paul Goldschmidt's 104.

The Reds and Rockies wrap up their series at 4:10 pm EDT on Sunday.

Today's Trivia: Who won more batting titles, Tony Gwynn or Wade Boggs? (answer tomorrow)

Yesterday's Answer: False. Johnny Bench led the NL in home runs twice, in 1970 (45) and 1972 (40).

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