Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Jose Bautista, Toronto Put Dent in Seattle Post-Season Hope in 14-4 Win; Francisco Liriano Wins 4th Straight for Pirates

Players of the Day for Monday, September 22, 2014

American League

Bautista: 35 HRs
Denied a chance at the post-season, the Toronto Blue Jays - an offensive juggernaut - may be putting an end to the hopes of the Seattle mariners, one of the weakest-hitting teams in the league, and still in contention for a wild card spot.

Jose Bautista and his Toronto teammates combined for 16 hits in a 14-4 rousting of the Mariners in the opener of a four-game series north of the border.

Bautista went 3-for-3 with two singles, scored three times, drove in two, and stroked his 35th home run of the season.

Seattle's loss left them two games behind Kansas City for the final wild card position, with just six games left in the regular season. Unless the Mariners can find some runs and stop the Blue Jays from scoring at will, the season may be over sooner than they wish. Toronto is fifth in RBI (2231) in the league and fourth in runs (699). Seattle is 13th in RBI (1971) and 12th in runs (615).

National League

Liriano wins 4th
After a 3-10 start, Francisco Liriano has found his good stuff and the rest of the league simply can't hit it. The resurgence of Liriano in the Pittsburgh rotation has come at the most opportune time, as the Pirates are putting it all together, and, with a combination of two more wins or two Milwaukee losses will qualify for the post season as a wild card.

Following Monday's 1-0 win over the Braves, Pittsburgh is tied with the Giants for the two wild card spots. Milwaukee is a fading five games back.

Giving up three hits, Lirano tossed six innings of shutout ball in the game for his fourth straight win, lifted when Andrew McCutchen launched his 24th home run of the season off loser Aaron Harang in the top of the frame for the game's only run.

In his last four starts, Liriano has been nothing short of electric, allowing 13 hits and just one earned run over 26 innings.

Pittsburgh plays at Atlanta in the second game of their four-game series Tuesday at 7:10 pm EDT.

In related news, the NY Mets won their third straight and tied Atlanta for second place in the East division. Atlanta has lost four in a row and nine of their last 10.

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