Thursday, September 11, 2014

Big Game James Shields Stops Tigers, KC Re-Takes 1st in AL Central; Dan Haren, Carl Crawford Lead Dodgers over Padres

Players of the Day for Wednesday, September 10, 2014

American League

James Shields
Game three of the showdown series between Kansas City and Detroit was going to be decisive, as the Tigers had taken the first two games on their home field and tied the Royals for the lead in the AL Central.

Detroit trotted out another of their ace hurlers, Rick Porcello, the 15-game winner that had been so effective during the first half of the season, while the Royals sent "Big Game" James Shields to the mound.

At the end of seven innings, it was obvious why Shields had earned his moniker. That's when Shields took a seat on the bench, after throwing seven innings of shutout ball, allowing just two hits, walking one and fanning nine en route to a 3-0 Royals win and first place in the division.

Kelvin Herrera and Wade Davis pitched hitless eighth and ninth innings, respectively, leaving the Detroit hitters wondering whether their bats had holes in them.

Though the Tigers are a game behind KC in the division, they still qualify currently as the #2 wild card, 1 1/2 games behind the A's in the top spot and just 1/2 game better than Seattle. Working against the Tigers is the schedule. They have just 16 games remaining, while the A's and Mariners each have 17 left. Kansas City still has 18 to play and has a two-game bulge in the loss column.

National League
Dan Haren

Carl Crawford
Not about to be caught by the San Francisco Giants, the LA Dodgers took the rubber game of their series with the Padres by a 4-0 score, thanks to seven shutout innings from Dan Haren and a 4-for-4 performance by Carl Crawford.

Haren improved to 13-10 on the season, notching his fifth win in his last seven starts. He allowed just fur hits, walked one and fanned five.

Crawford was perfect at the plate, stroking three doubles and a single, driving in a pair of runs and scoring one.

The result, coupled with the Giants' 5-0 win over Arizona left the two teams fighting for first place in the NL West, the Dodgers holding a 2 1/2 game advantage as the teams head to AT&T Park in San Francisco for a three-game weekend showdown. In the penultimate series for both teams, the Giants will travel to Los Angels for a three-game series on September 22, 23 and 24.

Currently holding firmly to the top wild card spot, the Giants have a four-game lead over #2 wild card, Pittsburgh, with Atlanta and Milwaukee both another 1 1/2 back.

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