Wednesday, September 30, 2015

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.

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