Monday, September 23, 2013

Oswaldo Arcia Drives in Six for Twins, but A's Win, Clinch AL West; Freddie Freeman, Andrelton Simmons Lead Braves to NL East Pennant

Players of the Day for Sunday, September 22, 2013

American League

Arcia: HR, 6RBI
Rookie Oswaldo Arcia was 3-for-4 and drove in six runs for the Twins, but it was not enough to prevent the A's from completing the sweep of their four-game series and capturing the AL West for the second straight season with an 11-7 victory.

Arcia singled home the Twins first run in the first inning, but the A's countered in the bottom of the second, plating six, highlighted by Coco Crisp's 22nd home run of the year, a three-run shot that gave the A's a commanding lead.

In the third, Arcia sent his own three-run blast over the fence in right, getting the Twins back to within two runs, but the relentless A's scored single runs in the third, fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh innings before Arcia finally drove in two more with a single in the ninth, completing the scoring.

With the West pennant in hand, the next quest for the A's is home field. They are 93-63, chasing Boston (95-62), for the best record in the AL. Detroit, with a five-game lead over Cleveland in the Central, is 91-65, and needs just two more wins or two Cleveland losses to wrap up the division.

Meanwhile, Cleveland has won four straight and the Rays took three straight from the Orioles, putting the Rays and Indians in good position to grab the two wild card spots. Texas, a 4-0 loser in ten innings Sunday, is 1 1/2 back with six games left on the schedule.

The Rays have one more game with the O's before opening a three-game series with the Yankees in New York on Tuesday. Tampa Bay finishes with three games in Toronto.

Cleveland, having taken four straight from the Astros, have two games at home with the White Sox before closing out their season on the road for four in Minnesota.

Texas, now 1 1/2 behind the Indians and in danger of missing out on the post-season, has seven games remaining, all at home. They open a three-game set with Houston on Monday, then host the Angels for four, beginning Thursday.

AL Wild Card Standings (through 9/22)
Team GB
Tampa Bay +1/2
Cleveland --
Texas -1 1/2
Kansas City -3 1/2
NY Yankees -4
Baltimore -4 1/2

National League

The Atlanta Braves clinched the NL East when the Nationals lost to the Marlins, 4-2, on Sunday, then went out and celebrated on the field with a 6-2 victory over the home-standing Cubs.

Freddie Freeman
Andrelton Simmons
Freddie Freeman went 3-for-4, socking his 23rd home run of the year to give the Braves a 2-0 lead in the first, driving in his 104th and 105th RBI, third in the league.

Andrelton Simmons went yard twice, with a solo homer in the fourth and a two-run blast in the eighth, and closer Craig Kimbrel finished up, giving up a pair of hits in the ninth, but no runs, for his league-leading 49th save.

At 92-63, the Braves currently have the best record in the league, but the Cardinals (91-65) and Dodgers (90-66) are close. The best record will get home field for as long as they remain in the playoffs.

Atlanta went wire-to-wire to the title after a 12-1 start to the season gave them a big edge.

All that's left to be sorted out is the NL Central, where the Cardinals have a two-game edge on the Pirates and Reds, currently tied for the two wild card positions. Washington is five games back, but with just six to play, have run just about out of time.

Today's Trivia: Reggie Jackson played for five teams, all in the American League. Can you name them all? (answer tomorrow)

Yesterday's Answer: Despite being one of the great home run hitters of all time, Reggie Jackson on hit 40 or more twice, knocking 47 in 1969 and 41 in 1980. In 21 major league seasons, Jackson is 13th all-time, with 563 home runs.

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