Monday, September 21, 2015

Kendrys Morales Sets Royals Record in Romp over Tigers; Yunel Escobar Helps Nationals Keep Pressure on Mets

Players of the Day for Sunday, September 20, 2015

American League

Break open the Kansas City record book, because Kendrys Morales socked three home runs and tripled, sliding George Brett to the side with a team record 15 total bases as the Royals hammered the Tigers, 10-3.

Escobar: 4-for-4, 4 RBI
Morales: 3B, 3HR, 15 TB
KC amassed 19 hits in the romp, with Morales going 4-for-4, with five runs and three RBI. All of his homers - one each in the third, fourth and eighth innings - were of the solo variety. His triple came in the sixth inning, Morales scoring on a wild pitch from Tiger reliever, Jose Valdez.

Morales is a big reason the Royals are looking good heading down the homestretch. The big slugger, acquired from Seattle in the off-season, is batting .293 with 41 doubles, 21 home runs, and, with 105 RBI, is approaching his career-best in that category. He drove in 108 in 2009, then with the LA Angels.

The victory put the Royals within an arm's length of clinching the AL Central pennant outright, their magic number down to just three. They have an 11-game lead over second-place Minnesota with just 13 games left on the regular season schedule.

After a day off on Monday, KC opens a six-game homestead Tuesday, beginning with a three-game series against Seattle, follow by three with the Indians, so it's almost certain that the hometown fans will be on hand to engage in the clinching celebration.

National League

With their 13-3 triumph over Miami, taking the series three games to one, the Washington Nationals tied the Giants for third place n the wild card standings, though that's an unlikely scenario for proceeding to the playoffs since the Cubs have the second spot virtually locked up with a nine-game lead and just 13 games to play.

What the Nationals are making more interesting is the race in the NL East, where, thanks to the Yankees taking two of three from the Mets over the weekend, they've closed to within six games of the division leaders.

Yunel Escobar provided more than enough offense all by himself on Sunday, going 4-for-4, with three singles and a double, three runs and four RBI.

Stephen Strasberg (10-7) took the win with seven innings of work, allowing two runs (one earned) and striking out 10.

If the Nationals are going to make a race of it, they'll have to pick up three games before their regular season-ending three-game series at Citi Field with the Mets. They should have ample opportunity, unless the Mets go on an extended winning streak, as the Nats face Baltimore, Philadelphia, and Atlanta, plus a make-up date with the Red, before heading to New York on October 2nd.

The Nationals open a three-game home series with the Orioles on Monday. Game time is 7:05 pm EDT.

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