Monday, November 2, 2015

Lorenzo Cain Doubles Home Three in 12th; Royals Beat Mets in Five for World Series Triumph

Players of the Day for Sunday, November 1, 2015

World Series

Cain: 2-for-5, 3 RBI
Lorenzo Cain's bases-loaded double cleared the bases in the top of the 12th inning, boosting the Kansas City Royals to their first World Series championship in 30 years with a 7-2 victory over the New York Mets.

Cain also started a ninth-inning rally in the ninth, walking, stealing second and coming home with the Royals' first run off mets' starter, Matt Harvey, on Eric Hosmer's double.

Jeurys Familia relieved Harvey with no outs in the ninth, and, in an odd quirk of scoring, had his third blown save of the series, despite getting all three batters he faced in the inning to ground out.

Mike Moustakas grounded out to first, sending Hosmer to third. Salvador PĂ©rez grounded out to third, as Hosmer scored the tying run. With the bases empty, Alex Gordon grounded out to Familia, but the damage had been done.

Perez, who batted .364 for the five games, was named series MVP.

After the Royals tied the score, Familia retired the side in the 10th and neither team mounted a rally until the Royals came to bat in the 12th.

Perez opened the frame with a single off reliever Addison Reed, and was pinch run for by Jarrod Dyson, who promptly stole second. With one out, pinch hitter, Christian Colon singled in Dyson with what proved to be the game-winner, but the Royals were far from done.

After an error by second baseman Daniel Murphy put runners on first and second, Alcides Escobar doubled to right, scoring Colon. A walk to Ben Zobrist loaded the bases, bringing in Bartolo Colon to pitch to Cain.

Cain unloaded on Colon, putting the game out of reach. Wade Davis itched a scoreless bottom of the 12th. Like Hochevar, who worked the 11th inning, was credited with the win.

The Royals won in five games, taking games one and two in Kansas City, 5-4 and 7-1, respectively, losing game three, 9-3, rallying to win game four, 5-3. They finished off the Mets in 12 innings in game five, 7-2.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Salvador Perez Helps Royals Take Commanding 3-1 Edge in World Series

Perez: 3-4, RBI, R
Players of the Day for Saturday, October 31, 2015

World Series

Rallying in the eighth inning en route to a 5-3 victory, the Kansas City Royals took World Series game four to establish a lead of three games to one.

The Mets' relief staff failed to contain the aggressive Kansas City batters, and Daniel Murphy's critical error sparked a three-run rally in the eighth

Tyler Clippard and Jeurys Familia fell apart in the crucial inning, as the Mets surrendered a one-run lead. Clippard retired just one batter, walking two, before turning the ball over to Familia who gave up two hits and was on the mound when second baseman Murphy muffed a routine grounder off the bat of Eric Hosmer, sending Ben Zobrist home from second with the tying run.

Mike Moustakas and Salvador Perez followed with RBI singles. Perez, who was 3-for-4 with a double and two singles, scored the Royals first run in the fifth inning.

Kansas City will look to close out the series on Sunday at Citi Field. Game time is 8:15 pm ET.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Curtis Granderson, David Wright Lead Mets to Game Three World Series Victory

Players of the Day for Friday, October 30, 2015

World Series

David Wright
Curtis Granderson

Team captain, David Wright, and veteran outfielder, Curtis Granderson, between them scored four runs and drove in six, each socking a two-run homer, as the New York Mets rallied to beat the Kansas City Royals in game three of the 2015 World Series, 9-3.

With the Mets taking the series to New York, trailing two games to none, Wright and Granderson set the tone early. After the Royals scored in the top of the first, Granderson led off for the Mets in the bottom of the frame with a sharp single, followed by a massive blast to left field by Wright, putting the Mets up, 2-1.

Kansas City rallied back for two runs in the second inning, but their lead was short-lived. Granderson homered in the third with starting pitcher, Noah Syndergaard, on base, putting the Mets back on top, where they would stay for the remainder of the game.

The Mets added another run in the fourth and tacked on four runs in the sixth to complete the scoring.

Grandson went 2-for-5 with a pair of RBI and three runs. Wright, who singled in a pair in the four-run sixth, finished 2-for-5 as well, with a run scored and four RBI.

Syndergaard picked up the win, allowing three runs over six innings, striking out six.

The win gave the Mets hope and momentum, now trailing two games to one, with games four and five to be played at Citi Field in New York.

If games six and/or seven are necessary, they will be played at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City.

Game four is slated for a Saturday start at 8:07 pm ET. Game five is on deck for 8:15 pm ET on Sunday.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Johnny Cueto, Royals Put Mets in 2-0 Hole with Game Two Victory

Cueto: Complete Game W
Player of the Day for Wednesday, October 28, 2015

World Series

Having taken game one in a marathon 14-inning, 5-4 win, the Kansas City Royals put the Mets into a two-games-to-none hole with a 7-1 victory in game two.

The Mets scored first, picking up a run off Johnny Cueto in the top of the fourth inning, but the Royals responded with four runs off Jacob deGrom in the bottom of the fifth, adding three more in the eighth to complete the scoring.

Meanwhile, Cueto proved practically untouchable, allowing just two hits while going the distance. Cueto didn't allow a hit after the fourth inning, setting down 15 in a row before yielding a walk to Daniel Murphy with two down in the ninth. Walking three and fanning four, Cueto earned his first World Series victory. Mets' starter, deGrom took the loss.

The series shifts to New York for games three, four, and, if necessary, game five. Game three is scheduled for an 8:07 pm ET start on Friday.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Wade Davis Hurls Royals to World Series in 4-3 Win over Blue Jays

Players of the Day for Friday, October 23, 2015

American League

Davis wins clincher
Despite two homers from Jose Bautista, the Kansas City Royals ousted the Toronto Blue Jays, winning game six of the ALCS, 4-3, and will advance to the World Series.

Eric Hosmer drove in Lorenzo Cain with the winning run in the bottom of the eighth, after Bautista tied the game at 3-3 with his second home run of the game - a two-run blast - in the top of the frame.

Once the Royals had reclaimed the lead, the Blue Jays did not go away quietly, however. Wade Davis, who entered the game with one out in the eighth, worked the ninth for Kansas City, allowing a leadoff single to Russell Martin.

Dalton Pompey ran for Martin, promptly stealing second and third. After a walk to Pillar, Davis bore down, fanning pinch-hitter Dioner Navarro and Ben Revere, then getting Josh Donaldson to ground out to third to end the game.

Davis, who saved 17 games for Kansas City during the regular season and had three in the post-season, picked up the win, his first in the series.

National League

There were no National League games on Friday, as the Mets swept the Cubs and were waiting to see who they would play in the World Series.

The best-of-seven series begins on Tuesday, October 27, with games one and two being played in Kansas City. Games three, four, and, if necessary, five would be at Citi Field in New York. The series would conclude in Kansas City if it goes six or seven.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Lucas Duda, Daniel Murphy Lead Mets to Sweep of Cubs, Head to World Series; Blue Jays Stay Alive as Marco Estrada Stops Royals

Players of the Day for Wednesday, October 21, 2015
Estrada saves Blue Jays

American League

With 7 2/3 solid innings from Marco Estrada, the Blue Jays staved off elimination with a 7-1 victory over the visiting Kansas City Royals.

Game five was decidedly one-sided, as Estrada allowed only three hits and didn't give up a run until the eighth inning, when he surrendered a two-out homer to Salvador Perez.

Estrada set down the entire lineup in order over the first three innings, then after Alcides Escobar singled to open the fourth, Estrada recorded 11 straight outs, beginning with a double play that erased Escobar and Ben Zobrist, until walking Lorenzo Cain with two down in the seventh.

Toronto used a four-run sixth inning to take hold of the game, highlighted by Troy Tulowitzki's bases-loaded double which plated three.

The teams head back to Kansas City for game six on Friday. First pitch is slated for 8:07 pm EDT.

National League
Duda drives in five
Murphy set MLB HR mark

The Cubs will have to go Back to the Future if they wish to end their 107-year-old World Series drought because the New York Mets completed a four game sweep with an 8-3 win to capture the NL title and head for October glory.

New York took little time to press their case, scoring four runs in the first inning and adding two in the second.

Lucas Duda provided the power, socking a three-run homer in the first inning and driving in two more in the second with a double.

Daniel Murphy set a mejor league record with his sixth home run in the last six games, sending out a two-run shot in the eighth to put the game completely out of reach.

The Mets make the trip to the Fall Classic for the first time since 2000, when they lost to the Yankees in five games. They last won the World Series in 1986, when they defeated the Red Sox in seven games.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Alcides Escobar Leads Royals to 14-2 Wreck of Blue Jays in ALCS; Daniel Murphy Homers Again as Mets Take 3-0 Lead over Cubs in NLCS

Players of the Day for Tuesday, October 20, 2015

American League

Escobar: 4 RBI
Despite Toronto's 11-8 win in game three, the ALCS seems destined to be in the hands of the Kansas City Royals, who took a commanding three-games-to-one lead in the best of seven series with a 14-2 mashing of the Blue Jays Tuesday at Toronto's Rogers Centre.

Leadoff hitter Alcides Escobar paced the Royals, going 2-for-3 with a pair of sac flies and a ninth inning single that plated the final two Kansas City runs. Escobar drove in four runs.

Escobar singled in the first and was aboard for Ben Zobrist's homer as the Royals pounded knuckballer, R.A. Dickey for four first inning runs.

Dickey lasted only until two down in the second inning, allowing an Alex Rios solo homer, which ended his mound appearance. It didn't get much better as the Royals ripped through six Toronto relievers, adding four runs in the seventh, three more in the eighth and two in the ninth.

Murphy: 5 games, 5 HR
Toronto now faces elimination in Wednesday's game five at the Rogers Centre. Start time is 4:07 pm EDT.

National League

Daniel Murphy was at it again, homering for the fifth straight game, and so were the players batting immediately in front and back of him, as the 2-3-4 Mets batters were a combined 8-for-14 and scored all five of the Mets runs in a 5-2 game three win over the Cubs at Wrigley Field.

Murphy, David Wright and Yoenis Cespedes backed the pitching of Jacob deGrom, who tossed seven innings, allowing just four hits, two of them solo homers by Jorge Soler and Kyle Schwarber, which were the only runs the Cubs would score on the night.

Both Cespedes and Wright had two singles and a double. Wright scored three runs; Cespedes drove in two. Murphy went 2-for-5 with two runs and an RBI. His solo homer in the second put the Mets ahead 2-1.

The win put the Mets in the enviable position of being up three games to one in the best of seven NLCS, with the chance to put the hopes of generations of Cubs' fans to rest for another season on Wednesday. Game time is 8:07 pm EDT in Chicago.

Toronto Bashes Royals, 11-8, for Game Three ALCS Victory as Troy Tulowitzki Hoemrs

Players of the Day for Monday, October 19, 2015

American League

Tulowitzki: 3-run Homer
A little home cooking was just what the Toronto Blue Jays needed to notch their first win of the ALCS, topping the Royals Monday night at the Rogers Centre, 11-8.

While the score suggests that the game was close, Kansas City only cut into the Toronto lead in the ninth, scoring four runs before being retired for the night.

The key blow of the game was struck by Toronto shortstop, Troy Tulowitzki, whose third inning homer increased the Blue Jay lead from 3-2 to 6-2. The Jays tacked on three more runs in the frame, knocking out Royuals' starter, Johnny Cueto, who lasted just two innings officially, not getting any outs before being lifted in the third, allowing eight runs on six hits and four bases on balls.

Ryan Goins and Josh Donaldson also homered for the Jays. Donaldson hit a two-run shot in the third; Goins smacked a solo homer in the fifth inning.

The win leaves the Royals with a two-games-to-one lead in the best-of-seven series. Game four is scheduled for a first pitch at 4:07 pm EDT, Tuesday in Toronto.

National League

There were no NL games on Monday. The NLCS continues with game three in Chicago with the Cubs hosting the Mets at 8:07 pm EDT. New York holds a 2-0 edge n the series.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Mets Grab 2-0 Lead in NLCS as Daniel Murphy Homers for 4th Straight Game

Players of the Day for Sunday, October 18, 2015

American League

The Kansas City Royals lead the Toronto Blue Jays two games to one in the AL Championship series as the teams took Sunday off to travel and prepare for game three, in Toronto, Monday, at 8:07 pm EDT.

Murphy: HR, 2 RBI
National League

Daniel Murphy homered for the fourth straight game, leading the New York Mets to a 4-1 win over the Cubs in game two of the best-of-seven NLCS.

Murphy, who had a career-high 14 homers during the regular season, has gotten red-hot during the playoffs. His homers in games four and five of the NLDS helped defeat the LA Dodgers. In the NLCS, his first inning, game one solo shot helped the Mets to take a 4-2 victory.

On Sunday, Murphy again went yard early, touching off a two-run blast against Chicago ace, Jake Arrieta, sending the Cy Young hopeful to his first defeat since July 25. Murphy also singled and walked, going 2-for-3 for the game.

Arrieta only lasted five innings, giving up all four of the Mets' runs. It was his shortest outing of the season, matching starts on May 2nd and June 6th, both of which ended in losses. Arrieta had won 13 straight, including 11 during the regular season. He also won the wild card game against Pittsburgh and notched a win against St. Louis in the divisional series.

Noah Syndergaard got the win for New York, allowing one run on three hits over 5 2/3 innings, striking out nine.

The Mets lead the series two games to one, with the series heading to Wrigley Field in Chicago for games three and four, and, if necessary, game five.

Game three is scheduled for Tuesday night at 8:07 pm EDT.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Mike Mousttakas Lead Royals to Game Two Win in ALCS; Matt Harvey, Mets Take Game One over Cubs

Moustakas: 2-4, 2 RBI
Players of the Day for Saturday, October 18, 2015

American League

Kansas City took game two of the ALCS with a 6-3 victory over Toronto, giving the Royals a two-games-to-none lead in the best of seven series.

The Royals overcame a 3-0 Blue Jay lead with five runs in the bottom of the seventh. After yielding a leadoff single to open the first, Toronto starter, David Price, set down 18 straight Royals and was cruising along with a comfortable lead into the seventh. Then Kansas City struck like lightning, scoring five runs on five hits, sending Pirce to the showers.

Mike Moustakas singled in a run during the seventh-inning rally and singled home another in the eighth to complete the scoring for Kansas City.

The series takes a day off Sunday for travel. Monday, the venue shifts to Toronto's Rogers Centre for game three, at 8:07 pm EDT.

National League

Harvey: Game One Winner
Matt Harvey worked into the eighth inning while the Mets built a lead on solo homers by Daniel Murphy and Travis d-Arnaud leading to a 4-2 triumph at Citi Field in game one of the NLCS.

The Mets put their ace on the mound at home and Harvey did not disappoint, striking out nine and not yielding a run until the Cubs struck for a single run in the fifth, temporarily tying the game at one apiece. Murphy's first-inning solo shot had given the Mets the lead earlier.

Curtis Granderson singled home a run in the bottom of the fifth, then d'Arnaud smashed his solo shot to dead center, the ball traveling some 436 feet for the 3-1 lead.

Granderson drove in another run in the eighth to complete the scoring for the Mets.

Harvey threw 64 of 97 pitches for strikes and allowed only three hits and one run until Kyle Schwarber touched him up with a solo shot in the eighth. Mets' closer, Jeurys Familia, took over after Harvey's 7 2/3 innings, slamming the door shut with a four-out save.

Game two of the series is scheduled for Sunday at 8:07 pm EDT at Citi Field in New York.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Edinson Volquez Leads Royals to Game One Win over Toronto in ALCS

Game One Winner Volquez
Players of the Day for Friday, October 16, 2015

American League

Kansas City took game one of the ALCS, whipping the Toronto Blue Jays, 5-0.

The homestanding Royals got six shutout innings from starter, Edinson Volquez, who allowed two hits and four walks before turning the ball over to the bullpen. Kelvin Herrera, Ryan Madson and Luke Hochevar each tossed an inning of scoreless ball to finish off the Jays.

Volquez, who threw 200 innings during the regular season, compiling a 13-9 record, struck out five and threw 111 pitches.

Game two of the best-of-seven series is slated for a 4:07 pm EDT start time, Saturday in Kansas City.

National League

There were no NL games Friday. The NL Championship series begins Saturday at Citi Field in New York where the Mets (winners in five games over the LA Dodgers) host the Cubs (four-game winners in NLDS over St. Louis) in a best-of-seven series. Game one begins at 8:07 pm EDT.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Cubs Advance to NLCS on Javier Baez Blast; Jose Bautista Leads Blue Jays over Rangers; Toronto to Meet Royals in ALCS

Players of the Day for Tuesday, October 13 and Wednesday, October 14, 2015

American League

Bautista Sends Jays to ALCS
A pair of game fives took place Wednesday in the ALDS, with Toronto moving on past the Texas Rangers, 6-3, and the Royals disposing of the pesky Astros, 7-2.

In Toronto, Jose Bautista had he game-winner, stroking a three-run blast in the seventh which broke open a 3-3 tie.

The Royals advanced to their second straight ALCS, riding the two-hit pitching of Johnny Cueto to the victory. Cueto's only mistake was a second-inning homer with a man aboard to Luis Valbeuna. The Royals hung in, took the lead in the fifth inning and polished off the Astros with three more in the eighth.

The Royals host Toronto in game one of the AL Championship series, which gets underway Friday, October 16.

National League

Baez puts Cubs in NLCS
The Mets and Dodgers will go to a decisive game five after LA came back to take game four in New York, 3-1. Game five is slated for an 8:00 pm ET start on Thursday in Los Angeles. Zack Greinke goes to the hill for the Dodgers, while the Mets will start Jacob DeGrom.

In Chicago, the Cubs took down the Cardinals, the team with the best regular season record, 6-4, advancing to the NL Championship.

The Cubs continued to employ the long ball as their major force, socking three home runs in the clincher against St. Louis, the unlikely hero of the game, shortstop Javier Baez, who unloaded for a three-run homer in the second inning off Cardinal starter, John Lackey. Anthony Rizzo and Kyle Schwarber also homered for the Cubs.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Eric Hosmer Helps Lift Royals Past Astros; Yoenis Cespedes, Travis d'Arnaud Power Mets to 13-7 Win over Dodgers

Players of the Day for Monday, October 12, 2015

American League

Eric Hosmer
Both the Royals and Blue Jays - the two teams with the best records in the league - staved off elimination on Monday, forcing a fifth and final game in each of their series.

Toronto socked a trio of home runs in the first two innings and added three more runs in the third for a 7-0 lead before Texas was able to get on the board. Toronto's 8-4 win

In Houston, the scenario was a bit more dramatic. Down, 6-2, in the eighth inning, the Royals rallied to a 9-6 victory, putting the Houston celebration on hold.

Yoenis Cespedes
In the eighth, when the Royals plated five, Eric Hosmer scored the go ahead run after driving in a run with a single. In the ninth inning, Hosmer then sealed the deal with a two-run blast that sent Astros fans home unhappy.

Hosmer was 2-for-5 on the day, with three RBI and two runs.

Travis d"Arnaud
Both games five will be played on Wednesday. The Blue Jays host the Rangers at 4:07 pm EDT, while the Astros try to win at Kansas City in the late game, at 8:07 pm EDT.

National League

In the NLDS, the Mets and Cubs both are up two games to one over the Dodgers and Cardinals, respectively.

Chicago pounded six homers out of Wrigley Field, whipping St. Louis, 8-6. Game four is scheduled for Tuesday at 4:37 pm EDT.

The Mets hammered the Dodgers, 13-7, at Citi Field in New York. Curtis Granderson drove in five runs with a pair of doubles. Yoenis Cespedes and Travis d"Arnaud each homered, drove in three runs and scored three times.

Game four is slated for Tuesday, 8:07 pm EDT.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Blue Jays Stave Off Elimination as Troy Tulowizki Belts 3-Run Homer

Players of the Day for Sunday, October 11, 2015

American League

Tulo's 3-run HR lifts Jays
Troy Tulowitzki's three-run homer propelled the Blue Jays to a 5-1 win in game three of their AL divisional series with the Texas Rangers, avoiding elimination after Texas had taken games one and two in Toronto.

Tulowitzki, who had been sidelined since mid-August after the Jays acquired him prior to the trade deadline, had gone hitless in the first two games of the series (0-for-10) before his 2-for-4 effort Sunday. The Jays' shortstop also recorded an RBI when he drew a bases-loaded walk in the fourth inning.

Josh Donaldson socked a solo homer in the third to get the Jays on the board. Tulowitzki's blast came in the sixth, in support of 6 1/3 strong innings from Marco Estrada, Toronto's starter, who allowed one run on five hits, fanning four.

Texas leads the series, two games to one. Game four is scheduled for Monday, at 4:00 pm EDT.

In Houston, the Astros defeated the Royals to put Kansas City on the brink of elimination, winning by a 4-2 score. Chris Carter went 3-for-3 with a solo homer. Game four is Monday at 1:00 pm EDT.

National League

There were no NL games Sunday. Both NLDS - Dodgers at Mets, Cardinals at Chicago - resume Monday with game three in each series. Both are tied one game apiece.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Jorge Soler, Cubs Even Series with Cardinals, Take Game Two, 6-3

Players of the Day for Saturday, October 10, 2015
Soler: HR, 2RBI

American League

The ALDS continues on Sunday.

Kansas City plays at Houston at 4:10 pm ET. The series is tied at one game apiece. Toronto is at Texas at 8:10 pm. The Rangers lead, two games to none.

National League

Both series in the NL were tied up on Saturday, as the Chicago Cubs evened up with the Cardinals with a 6-3 victory, while the Dodgers took game two in LA over the Mets, 5-2.

Jorge Soler socked a two-run homer in the second, highlighting a five-run outburst that gave the Cubs what proved to be an insurmountable lead. He also doubled, going 2-for-4 on the day.

The NL takes a day off on Sunday. Monday, the Mets host the Dodgers and the Cubs play the Cardinals at wrigley Field in Chicago.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

deGrom Fans 13 as Mets Take Down Dodgers in Game One; Ben Zobrist, Royals Rally Past Astros

Players of the Day for Friday, October 9, 2015

American League

Zobrist: game-winning RBI
Al Playoffs continued on Friday with two games in the ALDS. In the early game, it took the Texas Rangers 14 innings, but they finally defeated the Toronto Blue Jays, 6-4, taking a two games to zero edge back home to Arlington for game three on Sunday.

The later game saw a rally by the Royals erase a 4-2 Houston lead with two runs in the sixth and another in the seventh for a 5-4 victory as KC's relief star held off the Astros in the final innings.

Ben Zobrist (2-for-4) had the key hit in the seventh inning, driving in Yunel Escobar with the game-winning run with a sharp single to left center.

After Johnny Cueto was touched up for four early runs, he settled down and blanked the Astros through the fourth, fifth and sixth before Kelvin Herrera, Ryan Madsen and Wade Davis kept Houston off the basepaths on one hit over the final three innings. KC and Houston are tied a game apiece with the series heading to Houston for game three on Sunday.
deGrom: 7IP, 0ER, 13K

National League

A pair of NL divisional series began on Friday, with the Cardinals putting a stop to the Cubs in a big way, blanking Chicago, 4-0, behind seven scoreless innings from John Lackey, who allowed two hits, fanned five and issued one walk. Trevor Rosenthal allowed a walk and a hit in the ninth, but picked up the save, giving St. Louis a 1-0 lead in the best-of-five series. Game two is Saturday at 5:30 pm ET in St. Louis.

The final game of the evening was a pitching matchup between there-time Cy Young Award winner, Clayton Kershaw and up-and-coming Mets' starter, Jacob deGrom, the victory going to the visiting New Yorkers as deGrom tossed seven scoreless innings, allowing five hits and a walk, fanning 13 for a 3-1 Mets' win.

DeGrom got support on a fourth-inning solo homer from Daniel Murphy and a single that delivered two runs off the bat of David Wright in the seventh. The Dodgers picked up a run in the eighth on a single by Adrian Gonzalez (who struck out three times versus deGrom), but the rally was stifled by Jeurys Familia who worked four outs for the save.

Game two of the series is slated for a 9:00 pm ET start in Los Angeles.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Jose Altuve Leads Astros to Game 1 Win at Royals; Rangers Down Toronto in ALDS

Players of the Day for Thursday, October 8, 2015

American League

Altus Leads Astros
The ALDS opened Thursday with a pair of games in which home field provided no advantage. In the early game, the Texas Rangers took care of Toronto and David Price, getting five runs in seven innings off the Blue Jay ace for a 5-3 win.

The evening match-up of Houston at Kansas City has a similar result as the visitors took Game 1, 5-2, as Astros' leadoff hitter, Jose Altuve ignited Houston, going 3-for-5, scoring once and driving in another run. His single to start the game resulted in a 1-0 lead when Colby Rasmus delivered him from third on a ground out, then, in the second inning, Altuve drove in a run with a scratch single to right for a 3-0 lead.

Kendrys Morales socked a pair of solo homers to get the score to 3-2, but solo homers by Springer and Rasmus, in the fifth and eighth, respectively, put the game away as the Houston relief corps kept the Royals in check the final three innings.

Game two of the Rangers-Blue Jay series is scheduled for Friday at 12:45 pm ET; the series in KC continues at 3:45 pm ET.

National League

There were no National League games on Thursday. The NLDS begins Friday with the Chicago Cubs at St.Louis Cardinals at 6:45 PM ET and the Mets at Dodgers at 9:45 pm ET.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Cubs Avance with 4-0 Win over Pirates as Jake Arrieta Goes the Distance

Players of the Day for Wednesday, October 7, 2015

National League

Here come the Cubs.

Arrieta hurls 4-hit shutout
Shutting out the Pirates in the NL Wild Card game, 4-0, the Chicago Cubs advanced to the divisional round of the playoffs, to meet the St. Louis Cardinals in a seven-game series starting Friday in St. Louis.

Cubs' starter, Jake Arrieta, once again dazzled hitters, shutting down the Pirates on four hits in a complete game masterpiece. Arrieta didn't walk any batters and struck out 11, earning his first post-season win and the first playoff win for the Cubs since 2003.

Chicago got all of its runs from the first two batters in the lineup. Leadoff man, Dexter Fowler, singled twice, homered and scored three runs. Rookie Kyle Schwarber, who began his season in Double-A, belted a two-run shot off Pittsburgh starter Gerrit Cole in the third inning to put the Cubs up, 3-0. Fowler's solo shot finished the scoring in the fifth.

With the Cubs' ace cruising and Pittsburgh heading for an early exit from the playoffs, Pirates' reliever Tony Wilson plunked Arrieta in the seventh, an action that cleared both benches. Cooler heads prevailed, and only Pirates' first baseman, Sean Rodriguez, was ejected.

Arrieta, the National League's only 20-game winner this season, will likely be the starter for game three of the NLDS, Monday, in Chicago. Jon Lester faces the Cardinals' John Lackey in game one.

With a record of 22-6, Arrieta ended the regular season with 11 straight wins and was 16-1 since June 16.

American League

There were no games in the AL on Wednesday. The Rangers met the Blue Jays in Toronto and the Astros face the Royals in Kansas City on Thursday.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Dallas Keuchel, Astros Shut Down Yankees, 3-0, Advance to Face KC in AL Playoffs

Players of the Day for Tuesday, October 6, 2015

American League

Keuchel: 6 IP, 3 H, 0 ER
The Yankees - a disaster waiting to happen after backing into the playoffs by losing six of their final seven games - were summarily dismissed before a disappointed hometown crowd by Dallas Keuchel and the Houston Astros, as the NL West wild card triumphed, 3-0, sending the sorry Yanks home for the winter.

Houston starter, Keuchel, the AL's only 20-game winner (20-8), earned his first post-season victory, giving six innings of shutout ball on three hits, walking one and fanning seven.

While Keuchel may have been dominant, the Yankees were absolutely punchless, even after manager Joe Girardi had his players "rested" during their week-long, season-ending slump. The Yankees first playoff appearance in three years was a complete flop, with only two baserunners advancing past first base on the night.

Houston got solo homers from Colby Rasmus and Carlos Gomez in the second and fourth innings, respectively, both over overrated Yankee hurler, Masahiro Tanaka. The Astros added another run in the seventh, in one of the dullest wild card games in its short history.

Houston advances to the divisional round, where they will meet the Kansas City Royals in a seven-game series beginning Thursday at KC, the AL team with the best record during the regular season, at 95-67. Game time is set for 7:30 pm EDT.

National League

There were no National League games scheduled for Tuesday.

The Pirates host the Cubs in the NL wild card game Wednesday night at 8:00 pm EDT.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Adrian Beltre Belts Texas to NL West Title; J.A. Happ Sends Pirates Home for Wild Card Showdown with Cubs

Players of the Day for Sunday, October 4, 2015

American League

Texas is the champion of the AL West.

Happ: 6 Shutout Innings
Sends Pirates Home Happy
Beltre: Homer Sends
Rangers to AL West Crown
By defeating the LA Angels on the final day of the season, 9-2, the Rangers clinched the division and will play Toronto in the opening round of the playoffs.

Down 2-1, Adrian Beltre socked a two run homer in the fifth, putting the Rangers on top, then drove in another run with an infield single as the Rangers tacked on six runs in the seventh inning.

The Astros, finished second in the division and will be the second wild card, losing to Arizona, 5-3, on Sunday. Both the Astros and Yankees backed into the playoffs, but moreso the Yankees, as they lost for the sixth time in their last seven games, demolished by the Orioles, 9-4, losing three straight to the Orioles at Camden Yards.

The Astros travel to play the Yankees in the wild card game, Tuesday night at Yankees stadium.

National League

The Pittsburgh Pirates will face the Chicago Cubs at PNC Park in Pittsburgh on Wednesday as the Pirates finished one game better than the Cubs in the NL Central, taking home field for the wild card game, with a 4-0 win over Cincinnati.

J.A. Happ held the Reds scoreless on three hits over six innings to get the win, improving to 7-2 on the year. The Pirates scored single runs in the first, fourth, sixth and seventh innings. Pedro Alvarez socked his 27th homer of the season in the fourth.

The Cubs did their part to make the final day of the season interesting, whipping the Brewers 3-1. Chicago enters the post-season red-hot, winners of their last eight in a row.

Chicago finished 97-65. Pittsburgh was 98-64. Despite their designation as wild cards, the Pirates and Cubs had the second and third-best records in the league behind St. Louis, which ended the season with the best record in the majors, at 100-62, despite dropping both ends of a double-header at Atlanta on Sunday.

Max Scherzer Fans 17, Tosses Second No-Hitter of Season; Colby Rasmus Keeps Houston on Pace for Playoffs

Players of the Day for Saturday, October 3, 2015

American League

Scherzer: 2nd No-Hitter
Rasmus: 2HR, 2RBI
The AL wild card race continues to confound and confront the NY Yankees, despite having already clinched one of the two spots.

Baltimore took a double-header at Camden yards from the playoff-bound Yanks, taking the first game in a laugher, 9-2, and the second game on a mistake-filled eighth inning that saw the Orioles score the game winning run on a bloop single, a bunt single and two wild pitches from reliever Delan Betances, for the 4-3 win.

The Yankees have dropped five of their last six, and need just one win or a Houston loss to claim home field for the wild card game on Tuesday.

The AL West became even more confused as the Angles scored five runs in the ninth to overtake the Rangers, 11-10, leaving Texas one game up on the Astros after Houston whipped the Diamondbacks, 6-2. LA is two games back but still alive in the wild card.

Colby Rasmus slugged a pair of homers and drove in two runs in Houston's win. The Astros face the Diamondbacks in Arizona at 3:10 pm EDT to complete the regular season. A Houston win assures the Astros of being in the playoffs, either as a wild card or as champions of the AL West, pending a one-game playoff with the Rangers, which would purportedly be played on Monday.

National League

With the Mets in the playoffs and the Nationals playing out the string and making vacation plans, Washington took a small measure of revenge on their NL East rivals, sweeping a doubleheader, 3-1, in the opener and 2-0 in the nightcap, the latter, notably, the second no-hitter of the season for Max Scherzer.

Once again, Scherzer flirted with a perfect game, the only mar on his otherwise gemstone-perfect performance a sixth inning throwing error by Yunel Escobar. Scherzer fanned a season-high and franchise record 17, needing 109 pitches for the complete game win, improving his record to 14-12. Down the stretch, Scherzer was simply untouchable, notching nine straight strikeouts from two outs in the sixth until two down in the ninth. Curtis Grandson ended the game with a pop-up to third.

Washington scratched out a couple of runs in the 6th and 7th innings, the first on an RBI single by catcher Wilson Ramos. Dan Uggla socked a solo homer in the seventh.

Scherzer joined Nolan Ryan, Virgil Trucks, Allie Reynolds and Johnny Vander Meer, who pitched two in a row, as the only pitchers in MLB history to throw two no-hitters in the same season. His first no-hitter was against Pittsburgh on June 20. In that game, a hit batsman (Jose Tabata) kept him from perfection.

Washington and the Mets wrap up the regular season on Sunday at 3:10 om EDT.

Meanwhile, the Cubs and Pirates were attempting to sort out the wild card, but the Cincinnati Reds kept the two from finalizing which would have the better record and host the one-game playoff on Wednesday.

Cindy broke a 12-game losing streak with a 3-1 victory at Pittsburgh, while the Cubs got six strong innings from Kyle Hendricks (1 hit, 0 ER) and three relievers for a 1-0 win at Milwaukee. The results left Pittsburgh with a one-game lead over Chicago with one game to play. Both teams are in action on Sunday. A Chicago win and a Pittsburgh loss would produce a tie for the wild card and the Cubs would host the game at Wrigley field. A Pittsburgh win or a Cubs loss would put the game in Pittsburgh.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Carlos Correa, Dallas Keuchel Keep Houston in Playoff Race; Cubs' Jake Arrieta Improves to 22-6

Players of the Day for Friday, October 2, 2015

American League

Carlos Correa
Keuchel: 20-8
Houston remained in the running for the AL West, whipping the Arizona Diamondbacks, 21-5, while the Angels took a game from the first-place Rangers, 2-1, leaving Houston two games behind Texas with two games remaining.

Arrieta: 22-6
Houston starter, Dallas Keuchel, picked up what was probably the easiest win of the season, tossing six innings and allowing two runs on six hits, fanning three. The win made Keuchel the sole 20-game winner in the American League, at 20-8.

Carlos Correa was the hitting star for the Astros, going 3-for-4 with a single, triple, solo home run, four RBI and four runs.

The Astros will look to make it three wins in a row and two straight against Arizona when they take the field Saturday at 8:10 pm EDT. Houston is one game up on the Angles and two games better than Minnesota in the race for the second wild card.

They have a chance to be the home team for the wild card game, but the Yankees (postponed Friday) would have to lose all three of their games in Baltimore this weekend. The Yanks have a double-header in Baltimore on Saturday and close out the season at Camden Yards on Sunday.

National League

Jake Arrieta improved to 22-6, as the Chicago Cubs kept pressure on the Pirates in the wild card race with a 6-1 victory over the Brewers in Milwaukee Friday.

Arrieta worked six innings, allowed two hits and no runs, striking out seven.

Chicago remained two games back of Pittsburgh as the Pirates prevailed over the Reds, 6-4, in 12 innings, extending the Reds' losing streak to 13 games.

Both the Pirates and Cubs have two games left to play, so the Pirates, with a win or a Chicago loss, could wrap up the wild card home field on Saturday.

The Cubs go back to work Saturday night at 7:10 pm EDT when they face the Brewers in game two of their three-game series.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Austin Jackson Delivers as Cubs Sweep Reds; Manny Machado Homers Twice in Orioles' Win over Blue Jays

Machado: 2HR, 3RBI
Players of the Day for Thursday, October 1, 2015

American League

It's a little late in the season (and too late to make the playoffs), but the Baltimore Orioles took their second straight from the Blue Jays, Thursday's 6-4 win coming courtesy of Manny Machado, who parked a couple of belts into the deepest parts of Camden Yards (left-center and center field) - his 32nd and 33rd homers - and also singled and scored, going 3-for-4 with three RBI and three runs.

The Orioles lost the opener of a twin bill on Wednesday which clinched the AL East for the Blue Jays, but topped them in the nightcap, 8-1. Thursday's defeat left Toronto tied with Kansas City for the best record in the league (which would mean home field advantage in the championship round of the playoffs) with just three games to go.

In New York, the Yankees clinched a playoff spot with a 4-1 win over the Red Sox and can wrap up home field for the wild card game with one win in their final series of the season, at Baltimore, beginning Friday night at 7:05 pm EDT.
Jackson: 3R HR

The Rangers also clinched a playoff spot, topping the Angels, 5-3. Texas has a three-game edge on Houston in the AL West and can clinch the division with a in in any off their three remaining games, all at Texas, against the Angels, who are four games out and trail Hosuton by one in the wild card race along with Minnesota.

National League

Austin Jackson clubbed a three-run homer in the first inning and later walked and scored the final run for the Cubs in the fifth inning as Chicago completed its sweep of the Reds, taking the third game by a 5-3 score.

Jackson, a speedy outfielder, was acquired by the Cubs from Seattle prior to the July 31 trading deadline and has played in 26 games for Chicago. His homer was his first in a Cubs' uniform.

The win was the fifth straight for the Cubs, leaving them two behind Pittsburgh in the wild card race. Both the Pirates and Cubs have clinched playoff spots but where the game will be played is yet to be determined. Chicago heads to Milwauke for a three-game series starting Friday, while the Pirates host the Reds, losers of 12 straight, over the weekend.

Pittsburgh can get the game at home by any combination of two wins or Cubs losses, so, if the Cubs lose Friday and the Pirates win, the game will be at Pittsburgh. Chicago is hoping to overtake the Pirates, something they've been unable to do thus far, though that scenario - among others, such as a tie for the wild card - seems unlikely.

In any case, here are the MLB rules for tie-breakers.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Cardinals Clinch NL Central Behind Tyler Lyons and Jason Heyward; Marcus Stroman, Ryan Goins Help Blue Jays Clinch AL East

Players of the Day for Wednesday, September 30, 2015

American League

Goins: 5-for-5
Stroman: 4-0 in Sept.
With a 15-2 hammering of the Orioles at Camden Yards in Baltimore, the Toronto Blue Jays cliched the AL East and assured that they will have home field advantage in a divisional playoff series beginning October 8.

Marcus Stroman delivered eight solid innings for the Jays, allowing one earned run on five hits, walking two and fanning eight. Streams is 4-0 with a 1.67 ERA in four starts after being recalled from AAA Buffalo in September.

Each of the Toronto starters had at least one hit. Ryan Goins went 5-for-5, scored three times and drove in a run. Edwin Encarnacion and Jose Bautista homered for the Jays, who battered seven Baltimore pitchers for 18 hits.

Toronto dropped the nightcap of the day-night double-header, 8-1, necessitated due to Tuesday night's rainout.

National League

Heyward: Grand Slam
Lyons pitches clincher
The St. Louis Cardinals clinched the NL Central with an 11-1 win at Pittsburgh and will proceed to the playoffs with the best record in baseball.

Tyler Lyons held the Pirates scoreless on one hit through six innings and survived through the seventh, when he allowed three hits, but did not surrender a run. Lyons, who spent much of the season in Memphis of the Pacific Coast League (AAA) where he was 9-5 with a 3.14 ERA, struck out five and took the win, improving to 3-1 on the season.

Lyons split time with the Cardinals between the bullpen and eight spot starts, working 57 innings during the regular season.

Jason Heyward rocked a third inning grand slam and finished the night 3-for-4 with two runs, fueling the rout.

The Cardinals dropped the opener of a day-night double bill with the Pirates, 8-2. The win assured Pittsburgh of at least a tie with the Cubs for home field in the wild card game.

St. Louis will enter the post-season as the only team with 100 or more wins. Their 100 win against 59 losses takes the division with three games left. The Pirates will almost certainly finish with the second-best record in the majors. At the end of the last day in September, Pittsburgh has 96 wins with three games left, the Cubs are 92-55, and the Blue Jays, 92-56.

After starting the season 3-3, the Cardinals went on a 17-3 tear their next 20 games, taking control of the NL Central division and never looking back.

Dodgers Clinch NL West Behind Clayton Kershaw 1-Hitter; Blake Swihart Homers Twice, Leads Red Sox Past Yanks

Editor's Note: Apologies to regular readers for the lateness of this post. A localized internet outage prevented a timely posting.

Kershaw: 1-Hitter
Swihart: 2HR, 5RBI
Players of the Day for Tuesday, September 29, 2015

American League

The Yankees lost their second straight in the second of a four-game series with visiting Boston, losing 10-4, as Blake Swihart belted a three-run homer in the first inning as the Red Sox took a 6-0 lead, and blasted a two-run shot in the eighth to put the game away.

Boston, eliminated from the playoffs, whipped the Yanks 5-1 on Monday night and hope to play spoiler against their most fierce rival.

The Yankees still lead the wild card hunt by a good measure over the Angels, Houston and Minnesota, but are desperate for a win, still hoping to catch the Blue Jays in the AL East. Toronto needs just one more win to take the division outright.

Boston and New York renew acquaintances in game three of the series Wednesday night at 7:05 pm EDT.

National League

Behind the one-hit pitching of Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles blanked San Francisco, 8-0, to capture the NL West and head into the post-season.

Kershaw (16-7) allowed the one hit in the third inning to Kevin Frandsen with one out. After getting opposing starter, Madison Bumgarner, on a pop out to second, he uncorked a wild pitch and then walked Angel Pagan to put runners on first and second, but got Kelby Tomlinson on a routine grounder to the mound, ending the inning.

The rest of the way, Kershaw was untouchable, fanning six straight through the fifth and sixth inning, and whiffing the side in the eighth, finishing with 13 strikeouts.

Kershaw struck out each of the Giant regulars at least once, except for Buster Posey, who went 0-for-3. The three-time Cy Young award winner will finish the season well ahead of the rest of MLB in strikeouts, with 294. Chris Sale of the White Sox leads the AL with 267. The closest National Leaguer is Max Scherzer of the Nationals, who has 259.

The Dodgers, with a record of 88-69, trail the Mets by one game in the league standings. The team that finishes with the better record will be the home team in the opening round of the playoffs, as St. Louis has already wrapped up the best record in the league and will get home field against the wild card in the divisional round.

A coast-to-coast series is now a certainty with the Dodgers representing the West and the Mets the East. The series will open on Friday, October 9 in Los Angeles.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Marco Estrada Settles in for Blue Jays Win over Orioles; Chris Denorfia Homer Sends Cubs over Royals

Players of the Day for Monday, September 28, 2013

American League

Estrada: hurler hangs in
Denorfia: Game-winner
Amid news that star shortstop Troy Tulowitzki would soon return to the lineup, the Toronto Blue Jays took another step towards capturing the AL East with a 4-3 victory over the Baltimore Orioles.

After John Flaherty dinged Toronto starter, Marco Estrada, for a three-run belt in the second, the rookie hurler settled in and shut down the Orioles on one hit for the remaining six innings, setting down the last 12 batters in order until he was lifted with one out in the eighth. Brett Cecil took over for Estrada and worked into ninth. Cecil was awarded the win when the Blue Jays tied the game in the eighth and put up the winning run in the top of the ninth on Justin Smoak's ground out with runners on first and second.

Jose Osuna completed the comeback, getting the final two outs. The win, coupled with a 5-1 loss by the Yankees to the Red Sox, left the Jays with a magic number of two to clinch the division title.

Earlier in the day, Tulowitzki took batting practice and announced that all went well. The shortstop, acquired from Colorado prior to the July 31 trading deadline, has been out since September 12 with a cracked shoulder blade after colliding with center fielder, Kevin Pillar.

Manager John Gibbons was hopeful that Tulowitzki could be back in the starting lineup before the playoffs, possibly returning during the current series in Baltimore.

Toronto meets Baltimore in game two of the four-game series Tuesday night at 7:05 pm EDT.

National League

The Cubs and Royals played scoreless ball through 10 1/2 innings, until Chris Denorfia connected on a Miguel Almonte offering for a solo homer to lead off the bottom of the 11th and end the contest with a 1-0 Cubs win.

Denorfia was pinch-hitting for reliever Fernando Rodney, who had worked a perfect 11th inning and took the win.

By winning the make-up game from a May rainout, the Cubs clinched a wild card spot, but, while the Cardinals were blanking the Pirates, 3-0, Chicago was eliminated from the NL Central division race.

Chicago trails Pittsburgh by 3 1/2 games in the wild card standings and appears to be set to be the road team in the wild card game slated for Wednesday, October 7.

With just six games remaining in the regular season, the Cubs have seen the last of Wrigley Field until perhaps returning in the post-season. They travel to Cincinnati to meet the Reds in a three-game series starting Tuesday, then head to Milwaukee for three to close out the season.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Jake Arrieta Improves to 21-6 with 7-Inning 1-Hitter; Josh Donaldson Belts Walk-Off Homer as Jays Down Rays, 5-4

Players of the Day for Sunday, September 27, 2015

American League

Donaldson: 41st HR
Josh Donaldson finished the final home game for the Toronto Blue Jays with a flourish, belting a solo home run with two outs in the bottom of the ninth to give the Blue Jays a 5-4 win over Tampa Bay, completing the three-game sweep of the Rays while inching closer to the AL East crown.

Donalson's 41st home run is third in the league behind Seattle's Nelson Cruz and Baltimore's Chris Davis, each with 43, but Donalson leads the league in RBI with 122, and the majors in runs, at 121.

With the Yankees beating the White Sox, 6-1, Toronto remains four games to the good over the second-place Yankees. With seven games remaining in the regular season, Toronto's magic number is four.

The Blue Jays open a four-game series in Baltimore on Monday, then head to Tampa to close out the season with the Rays. New York starts a four-game series with Boston at Yankee Stadium Monday and finishes up in Baltimore with a three game set against the Orioles.

Toronto has already clinched a playoff spot. The Yankees have a 4 1/2 game lead on Houston in the wild card.

National League

That man was at it again.

Arrieta: 21-6
Jake Arrieta shut down the Pirates on one hit over seven innings, helping to avoid a sweep by Pittsburgh, putting the Cubs into the playoffs with a 4-0 win.

Not only did Arrieta record his 10th straight win, he also homered in the second inning, fanned nine and improved his record to a stunning, 21-6, easily the best in the majors. He's the only 20-game winner thus far. In the AL, only Houston's Dallas Keuchel has a shot to win 20. He currently is 19-8. In the National League, it appears only Arrieta will reach the 20-win plateau. the Giants' Madison Bumgarner, Pittsburgh's Gerrit Cole, and LA's Zack Greinke each have 18, but likely have only one start remaining as the season draws quickly to a close this week.

In the strikeout department, Arrieta moved past Bumgarner into third, with 229 Ks. Max Scherzer is second at 249. Clayton kershaw leads the majors with 281.

Chicago's win assured the Cubs that they would be in the playoffs, most likely as the second wild card. They trail Pittsburgh by 4 1/2 games with only seven left on the schedule. Pittsburgh still has a shot at winning the NL Central. They are three games behind the Cardinals and open a three-game series with the Cards in Pittsburgh beginning Monday. Both the Cardinals and Pirates have six games left to play.

The Cubs will play a make-up game of a May rainout with the Royals at Wrigley Field on Monday. The final six games for the Cubs are all on the road: three at Cincinnati and three at Milwaukee.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Mets Grab NL East as Lucas Duda Blasts Grand Slam; Jose Bautista Homers Twice as Jays Drop Rays

Players of the Day for Saturday, September 26, 2015

American League

Duda: Grand Slam
Bautista: 2HR, 4RBI
Jose Bautista belted a first-inning, three-run homer off Tampa Bay starter, Chris Archer, and added a solo shot in the eighth to up his home run total to 39 and lead the Blue Jays to a 10-8 win over the visiting Rays.

With the Yankees winning, 2-1, over the White Sox in New York, Toronto's lead in the AL East remained at four games, the magic number to clinch the division crown down to five for the Blue Jays.

Bautista, fifth in the league in home runs, tied Baltimore's Chris Davis for second in the RBI tally, at 110. Fellow Blue Jay, Josh Donaldson leads the league with 121, and teammate Edwin Encarnacion completes the trio of Toronto players with more than 100 RBI, at 105, tied for fourth with Kansas City's Kendrys Morales.

The Blue Jays, winners of three straight, will look to sweep the Rays on Sunday afternoon and take another step closer to the division title. Game time is 1:07 pm EDT at the Rogers Centre in Toronto.

National League

Closing the deal on the NL East with a rousing, 10-2, victory over the Reds, the NY Mets head to the playoffs for the first time since 2006.

Lucas Duda, who homered twice on Friday and drove in six runs, belted a first inning grand slam to get the Mets started before the Reds even got to bat.

Curtis Grandson added a solo shot in the second and David Wright ripped a three-run blast in the ninth for good measure. Starter Matt Havey scattered nine hits, allowing the Reds two runs over 6 2/3 innings. Harvey struck out six, improving to 13-7. Getting the division clincher over and done means that Harvey - and the rest of the pitching staff - will be fully rested for the opening game of the divisional round, whichever team emerges as a playoff opponent.

The Mets have an 8 1/2 game lead over the second-place Nationals and just seven games to play.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Lucas Duda Homers Twice as Mets Approach NL East Crown; Carlos Carrasco One-Hits Royals, Fans 15

Players of the Day for Friday, September 25, 2015

American League

Duda: 2HR, 6RBI
Carracso: 1-hitter
Kansas City clinched the AL Central on Thursday, but on Friday they were nearly no-hit as Carlos Carrasco went the distance, tossing a one-hit shutout in a 6-0 Cleveland victory.

Carrasco walked two and fanned 15, improving to 14-10 on the year.

It was his third complete game and first shutout of 2015.

The Royals will try to get back on track when they host the Indians in game two of their three-game series at 7:10 pm EDT Saturday night.

National League

Lucas Duda crushed a pair of three-run home runs as the Mets inched closer to capturing the NL East pennant with a 12-5 win at Cincinnati.

Duda socked his 23rd homer of the season in the third inning and his 24th in the seventh, both coming with two men aboard.

With the win and the Nationals' 8-2 loss to Washington, the Mets' magic number is down to one.

New York could grab the title as early as Saturday, when the Mets look to win their third straight over the Reds. Game time for the third of the four-game series is 4:10 pm EDT.