Sunday, September 7, 2014

Albert Pujols Reaches Hits, Runs, Milestones, Buries Twins, 8-5; Francisco Liriano Leads Pirates in Wild Card Hunt

Players of the Day for Saturday, September 6, 2014

American League

Streaking toward the AL West title, including Saturday's 8-5 win at Minnesota, the LA Angels have gone 18-6 since August 12, and hold a six-game lead over second place Oakland in the division, along with the best record in the majors, at 86-55.

Albert Pujols
While LA's pitching has been top-shelf through the recent run, their hitters have certainly done their part, especially slugging Albert Pujols, who marked two milestones on Saturday in his sure-thing, future hall of fame career.

Pujols was 3-for-5 in the game, including a solo homer in the third inning (25) and a tie-breaking, two-run double in the ninth, which led to the Angels' victory. When he touched home plate after his third-inning belt to left field, Pujols recorded his 1500th run as a major league; and, with his double in the ninth, he reached the 2500-hit mark, fifth among active players (soon to be fourth, when Derek Jeter retires at the end of the season).

The Angels scored an additional run when Pujols was driven in by Howie Kendrick, who went 4-for-5 and drove in three runs. Pujols also scored in the eighth, on a Hendrick triple.

In addition to the huge runs and hits totals, Pujols, a veteran of 14 major league seasons - 11 with St. Louis, three with the Angels - has 517 home runs and 1585 RBI.

Francisco Liriano
The Angels will be seeking a sweep of their four-game series in Minnesota on Sunday, at 2:10 pm EDT.

National League

Hanging on at the fringes of the wild card race, the Pittsburgh Pirates got a much-needed boost from starter Francisco Liriano in Saturday's 5-0 whitewash of the Cubs at Wrigley Field.

Liriano fanned nine, walked two and allowed just three hits in his six-inning stint, leaving the game with a 2-0 lead after completing six innings when he was lifted for a pinch-hitter in the top of the seventh.

Pittsburgh added three more runs after Liriano's departure, recording their second straight win over the Cubs and leaving themselves just 1/2 game behind Atlanta and Milwaukee, who share the position for the second wild card in the National League. The Giants have a solid grip n the first wild card spot, with a four-game edge on both the Braves and Brewers.

The Pirates will be looking for their third straight win and a sweep when they meet the Cubs on Sunday. Game time is 2:20 pm EDT.

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