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.

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