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.

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