Monday, August 10, 2015

Marco Estrada Blanks Yanks, Completing Toronto Sweep; Andrew McCutchen, Francisco Cervelli Power Pirates

Players of the Day for Sunday, August 9, 2015

National League

Francisco Cervelli
Andrew McCutchen
Despite being five games behind the Cardinals in the NL Central, the Pittsburgh Pirates have the second-best record in the league and only St. Louis and Kansas City have better records in the majors.

Pittsburgh dynamism was on display Sunday night, when they banged 16 hits out of their home base, PNC Park, defeating the Dodgers by a 13-6 tally.

As usual, leading the hit parade was Andrew McCutchen, who went 2-for-4 with a home run (17) and four RBI, giving him 74 on the season.

Francisco Cervelli, an off-season addition from the Yankees, contributed a single, triple and home run in four at-bats, driving in three and scoring twice.

The Dodgers held a 5-3 lead until the seventh inning, when the Pirates got into LA's bullpen for nine runs, blowing the game completely wide open and completing the three-game sweep of the Dodgers, who still hold a three-game lead over the Giants in the NL West.

Pittsburgh has won four straight and are 3 1/2 games ahead of the Cubs in the wild card race.

Marco Estrada
The Pirates get a day off Monday prior to opening a critical series in St. Louis on Tuesday. The Dodgers head back to LA where they will host the Nationals starting Monday.

American League

With a 2-0 shutout, the Toronto Blue Jays completed their weekend sweep at Yankee Stadium, and closed to within 1 1/2 games of the first-place Yankees in the AL East.

Josh Donaldson and Jose Bautista each sent out solo home runs, which was enough for starting pitcher, Marco Estrada, who held the Yankees scoreless for 6 1/3 innings before turning the ball over to Toronto's effective bullpen.

In the three-game series, the Yankees managed to score just one run, and were shut out for 25 consecutive innings, after Mark Teixeira's solo homer in the series opener.

Estrada (10-6) allowed three hits, walked three and struck out six. He threw just 89 pitches, 56 of them for strikes.

The Jays have now won eight straight and seem to have complete control over their post-season destiny. Besides closing quickly on the Yankees, their win gave them a 1/2 game lead over the Angels in the wild card race.

The Jays head back to Toronto for a series with the A's on Tuesday, as the Yankees head to Cleveland.

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