Friday, September 12, 2014

Chris Young's Walk-Off Homer Lifts Yankees over Rays; Pirates Win Behind Francisco Liriano's Eight Scoreless Innings

Players of the Day for Thursday, September 11, 2014

American League

Chris Young:
newest Yankee star
Aside from seven games in triple-A on a rehab assignment, Chris Young has spent the entire 2014 season in New York. Until just last week, he was a member of the Mets' organization, but, earlier this month, he was traded to the Yankees and now does his job in the Bronx rather than Queens.

It appears that the Yankees made a deft move in acquiring Young, since outfielder Brett Gardner is likely a part-time player for the better part of the remainder of the season with an abdominal strain. In his last three games, Young has started in left field, handled the position well and delivered at the plate like a man on a mission, going 6-for-11 with two home runs and seven RBI.

In Thursday's 5-4 victory over the Rays, Young broke up a no-hit bid by Rays' starter, Alex Cobb, slicing a double to the right-center gap with one out in the eighth, later scoring on Martin Prado's two-run homer.

But it was in the bottom of the ninth inning that Young earned his pinstripes, blasting a fastball from reliever Jake McGee over the fence in left field with two aboard and the Yankees down 4-2, for a walk-off win.

The Yankee win kept alive the slim hopes of making the playoffs. New York trails Detroit by four games for the final wild card spot, but Cleveland and Toronto are 1/2 game ahead of the Yankees and Seattle has a 3 1/2 game edge.

The Yankees open a four-game series in Baltimore, including a day-night double-header on Friday, with the AL East-leading Orioles, who could, if they sweep the Yankees and Toronto loses two of three over the weekend, clinch a tie with the Blue Jays for the division title.

A more likely scenario is that the Orioles will clinch the division outright during their three-game series with the Blue Jays, which begins Monday. The O's have a 10-game lead over the Blue Jays and are 10 1/2 in front of the Yankees, making their magic number to clinch the division outright, eight.

Toronto and the Yankees are still in the wild card hunt, so the next six to eight games will go a long way toward separating playoff contenders from pretenders.

National League

8IP 4H 0ER 12K
Francisco Liriano has regained top form and the Pittsburgh Pirates couldn't have asked for it to come back at a more opportune time.

Thursday night, Liriano notched his second straight win in a 4-1 defeat of the Phillies, giving up four hits and no runs over eight innings.

The strong-armed lefty from the Dominican Republic walked a pair of batters but struck out a season high 12, including Ryan Howard twice. He struck out at least one batter in each of his eight innings, throwing 69 of 106 pitches for strikes before turning the ball over to the bullpen.

Marc Melancon picked up his 29th save after Jared Hughes allowed a hit and a walk without retiring any batters in the ninth. Carlos Ruiz singled home Marlon Byrd with the Phillies only run before Melancon settled down and mopped up the win.

Pittsburgh continues to hold onto the final wild card spot with a 1 1/2 game edge over Milwaukee and a two-game lead over the Braves.

Liriano improved to 5-10.

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