Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Hisashi Iwakuma Blanks Phillies over 8 for Mariners; Justin Upton Powers Braves Past Pirates, 11-3

Players of the Day for Monday, August 18, 2014

American League

Iwakuma: 11 Ks
Almost imperceptibly, the Seattle Mariners have remained in the wild card race, currently tied with Detroit for the second spot for the post-season.

Seattle topped the Phillies, 5-2, Monday, to keep pace with the Tigers, as Detroit slipped by Tampa Bay, 8-6, in 11 innings.

Hisashi Iwakuma turned in an impressive eight innings of shutout ball for the Mariners, improving to 12-6 on the year with his seventh win over his last 10 starts. Iwakuma struck out a season-high 11 Phillies, allowing four hits without surrendering a walk.

Lifted at the end of the eighth inning after throwing 74 of 96 pitches for strikes, Iwakuma had to sit through a painful ninth inning as two Seattle relievers combined to allow two Philly runs before Fernando Rodney came on to get the final out, picking up his 36th save.

Iwakuma is having a solid season for the contentious Mariners, with a 2.57 ERA and 120 Ks.

The rubber game of the three-game series is scheduled for Tuesday afternoon, at 1:05 pm EDT, in Philadelphia.

National League

Upton: 80 RBI
By winning eight straight - beating Arizona, 8-1, Monday night - the Washington Nationals may be leaving no questions about the NL East, but the second-place Braves have proven game, winning five in a row, including Monday's 11-3 slaughter of fading Pittsburgh.

Atlanta is six games out in the division, but their two straight wins over the Pirates have put them into sole possession of the second wild card spot, a game up on the Giants, two games better than the Pirates and 2 1/2 over Miami.

Justin Upton provided nearly half of the Atlanta runs, banging a three-run home run in the third inning - his 24th - and following up with a two-run single in the fifth, as part of a five-run inning that all but sealed the game.

Upton's five RBI gave him 80 on the season, to go with a .287 batting average.

Meanwhile, the Pirates have lost seven in a row. A team that just a few days ago was challenging for the Central division title, now appears to be headed for the golf links come October.

Atlanta will be seeking the sweep when their series at Pittsburgh concludes Tuesday, at 7:05 EDT.

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