Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Yankees Storm Back With 8-1 Win On HRs by Aaron Judge, Todd Frazier

Players of the Day for Monday, October 16, 2017
Todd Frazier

American League

Down two games to none to Houston in the ALCS, the Yankees returned home to New York with a resounding 8-1 triumph in game three.
Aaron Judge

C.C. Sabathia continued his post-season exceptionalism with six shutout innings, allowing the Astros just three hits, walking four, fanning five.

Todd Frazier and Aaron Judge each stroked three-run homers, putting the game out of reach by the fourth inning.

Frazier got things started with his second-inning blast and Judge put a final stamp on the scoring in the fourth with his first homer of the series, the Yankees plating five runs in the frame.

Game four of the series is scheduled for a 5:08 pm ET start on Tuesday.

National League

There were no games in the National League on Monday.

The Dodgers and Cubs resume the best-of-seven NLCS Tuesday at Wrigley Field in Chicago at 9:00 pm ET. Los Angeles holds a two games to none lead in the series.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Justin Turner's Walk-Off Homer Sends Dodgers to 2-0 Lead Over Cubs in NLCS

Players of the Day for Sunday, October 15, 2017

National League

Turner: 2-4, HR, 4 RBI
Game two of the NLCS went the same way as the first, though in more dramatic fashion, as Justin Turner belted a three-run homer in the bottom of the ninth, breaking a 1-1 tie for a 4-1 win, putting the Dodgers up two games to none as the series heads to Chicago for games three, four, and, if necessary, five.

Turner's belt came with two down in the final frame, with Brian Duensing taking the loss, though it was John Lackey who gave up the game-winning home run. After walking Yasiel Puig to open the inning, advancing to second via sacrifice, Duensing struck out Kyle Farmer for the second out.

Lackey came in to nail down the last out and ostensibly send the game to extra innings, but he walked Chris Taylor before facing Turner, who took the second pitch he saw out of the park to center.

Turner drove in all four Dodger runs, plating Charlie Culberson in the fifth to knot the score at 1-1. Turner's post-season numbers are astronomical. This season, he's batting .429 (9-for-21) with two homers, 10 RBI and a stolen base. His career post-season numbers are even more impressive: .377, 4 HR, 22 RBI, 3 SB.

The series resumes Tuesday in Chicago, 9:00 pm ET.

American League

No games in the AL on Sunday as the Astros and Yankees headed to New York in preparation for game three of the ALCS.

The Yankees are down two games to one as they ready for game three, at home, Monday at 8:08 pm ET.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Justin Verlander, Carlos Correa Lead Astros Over Yankees; Yasiel Puig Propels Dodgers In NLCS Game One

Players of the Day for Saturday, October 14, 2017

American League

Verlander: 9 IP, 1 ER, 13 K
Justin Verlander went the distance for the Astros, as Houston forged a two games to none lead in the AL Championship Series with their second straight 2-1 victory over the visiting New York Yankees.

Verlander struck out 13 in the complete game win, touched up for the sole Yankee run in the fifth inning when Aaron Hicks and Todd Frazier hit back-to-back doubles. Hicks doubled into the left-center gap with two outs, and Frazier stroked a ground rule double to the same area, scoring Hicks. The run tied the game after Carlos Correa's solo homer in the fourth put the Astros up, 1-0.

Correa: HR, 2 RBI
Verlander allowed just five hits, winning his third game in this post-season. He's tossed 16 strikeouts in 17 innings, with a 2.04 ERA.

Correa also drove in the game-winning run, as Jose Altuve raced home from first on Correa's one-out double in the bottom of the ninth off Yankee reliever Aroldis Chapman. The 23-year-old shortstop has three homers and nine RBI in the 2017 post-season.

With the two-game lead in hand, Houston heads to New York where games three, four, and five (if necessary) will take place. Game three is Monday at 8:08 pm ET at Yankee Stadium.

National League

The Cobs and Dodgers began the National League Championship Series (NLCS) Saturday with Los Angeles taking the opener, 5-2, rallying from a 2-0 fourth-inning deficit.

Puig: HR, 2 RBI
Clayton Kershaw worked five innings as the starter for LA, but was dinged on a two-run homer by Albert Almora Jr. in the fourth. Following the fifth inning, five Dodger relievers held Chicago scoreless, while Yasiel Puig keyed the comeback with a fifth-inning RBI double and a seventh inning solo homer.

Chris Taylor also belted a solo shot in the sixth, breaking the 2-2 tie.

Puig is batting .467 (7-for-15) in the post-season, with six RBI and one home run.

Game two of the series is Sunday, 7:38 pm ET at Dodger Stadium.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Addison Russell Drives In Four Runs As Cubs Down Nationals, 9-8, Advance To NLCS

Players of the Day for Thursday, October 12, 2017

National League

Taking a big step in defending their 2016 World Series championship, the Chicago Cubs survived game five with a 9-8 victory over the Washington Nationals.
Russell: 2-for-4, 4 RBI

Cubs' shortstop Addison Russell drove in four runs on a pair of doubles to lead Chicago to the three-games-to-two series win.

Down 4-1 in the third inning, Russell grounded out with the bases loaded against Bats' starter, Gio Gonzalez. The Cubs added another run on a wild pitch, cutting Washington's lead to 4-3.

In the fifth, with Max Scherzer on the mound for the Nationals, Russell stroked the first of his two doubles, driving in Contrerras and Ben Zobrist, putting the Cubs up 5-4. Two batters later, Russell scored on a passed ball, adding to Chicago's lead. By the time the inning was over, the Cubs had plated four runs for a 7-4 advantage.

Russell doubled again in the sixth, driving home Zobrist with the eighth run.

After the Nationals scored a pair in the bottom of the sixth, the Cubs added a run in the seventh for a 9-6 score.

Washington did not go easily, putting up single runs in the bottoms of the seventh and eighth innings, but Wade Davis, who ended a threat in the seventh by striking out Rayan Zimmerman, completed a seven-out save by cutting down the side in order in the ninth, getting Jayson Werth and Bryce Harper on swinging strikes to end the game.

Los Angeles will be the host to open the championship series, with the Cubs meeting the Dodgers in game one, Saturday, at 8:08 pm ET.

American League

There were no AL games on Thursday.

The ALCS begins Friday in Houston with the Astros hosting the Yankees at 8:08 pm ET.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Stephen Strasberg, Michael Taylor Help Nationals Tie NLDS With Cubs; Didi Gregorius Powers Yankees Into ALCS

Players of the Day for Wednesday, October 11, 2017

American League

Gregorius: 2 HR, 3 RBI
Almost anything can happen in a five-game series, and, for the Cleveland Indians, what happened in the ALDS with the Yankees will not be soon forgotten.

For the second time in the series, the Yankees - or, rather shortstop Didi Gregorius - got to Cleveland ace and likely Cy Young award winner, Cory Kluber, taking deciding game five by a 5-2 score.

Gregorius got the Yankees started with a solo homer in the first inning, and victimized Kluber again in the third, swatting his second home run of the game, this time with Brett Gardner camped out at first base.

Meanwhile, Yankee starter, C.C. Sabathia was mowing down Indians, retiring the first nine straight before getting bounced on four consecutive hits and two runs in the fifth. Sabathia went 4 1/3 innings, fanning nine. Kluber also had a high strikeout total, whiffing six in his 3 2/3 innings.

Gregorius singled later in the game but was left stranded. The Yankees added a pair of insurance runs in the ninth, completing the comeback from being down two games to none by winning two straight at Yankee Stadium and advancing to the league championship series with Houston by downing Cleveland at Progressive Field.

The ALCS with the Astros begins Saturday in Houston. First pitch is slated for 4:08 pm.

National League

Strasberg: 7 IP, 0 ER, 12 K
The Washington Nationals have battled back from a 2-0 deficit to even the NLDS with the Cubs at two games apiece, getting a gem from flu-stricken Stephen Strasberg and a late grand slam by Michael Taylor for a 5-0 win at Chicago.

Taylor: Grand Slam
Strasberg blanked the Cubs on three hits over seven innings, striking out 12 and walking two. His teammates were able to muster a single run in the third inning, but the capable hurler made it hold up. In the top of the eighth, the Nationals loaded the bases, setting up Taylor for the big whack, putting the game out of reach.

After Taylor's slam, Strasberg turned the ball over to reliever Ryan Madsen, who worked a scoreless eighth inning. Sean Doolittle mopped up with a perfect ninth.

Game five is scheduled for Thursday night, 8:08 pm ET. The winner will open the league championship series on Friday in Los Angeles with the Dodgers.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Cody Bellinger Powers Dodgers To Sweep Of Arizona; George Springer Leads Houston Past Boston, 5-4

Players of the Day for Monday, October 9, 2017

American League

George Springer went 3-for-4 with a run scored, an RBI and a key at-bat as the Houston Astros rallied for a 5-4 win over Boston, taking the ALDS three games to one.
Springer: 3-4, Run, 1 RBI

Leading off the game with a double to deep center, Springer scored Houston's first run on a double play ball struck by Jose Altuve. The Red Sox responded with a run of their own in the bottom of the inning, but Springer untied it with an RBI single in the second for a 2-1 lead.

The score remained the same until the fifth, when Andrew Benintendi scorched a two-run homer to right for a 3-2 Boston lead. In the eighth, Alex Bregman homered to tie the game at three, followed by a single by Evan Gattis. Cameron Maybin ran for Gattis. Springer drew a two-out walk after Maybin took second on a wild pitch. Josh Reddick drove home Maybin with Houston's fourth run, stranding Springer at third.

In the top of the eighth, Carlos Beltran's pinch hit double drove home what would prove to be the game-winner, as Rafael Devers hit an inside-the-park homer in the bottom of the ninth.

Springer had a sensational regular season as Houston's primary leadoff hitter, batting .283 with 34 home runs, 85 RBI and 112 runs.

The Astros will have to wait until Wednesday to see who they will play in the league championship series as the Yankees forced game five in Cleveland, taking their second straight in New York with a 7-3 win over the Indians, tying the series at two games apiece.

National League

Bellinger: HR, 2 RBI
Max Scherzer took a no-hitter into the seventh inning, but the Cubs rallied for a run in the seventh and another in the eighth for a 2-1 win over Washington and a 2-1 lead in the NLDS series.

Later in the eventing, the LA Dodgers completed the three-game sweep of the Diamondbacks with a 3-1 victory.

Cody Bellinger drove in a first-inning run on a ground out and homered off Zack Greinke in the fifth, providing all the runs Dodger starter, You Darvish, and four relievers, would need. Darvish gave up one run on two hits over five innings, fanning seven. Darvish took the win. Kenley Jansen recorded his second save of the series, allowing a hit but fanning two in a scoreless ninth inning.

Bellinger was the team leader in home runs, swatting 39 with 97 RBI. The 22-year-old is almost certain to be awarded Rookie of the Year honors.

The Dodgers await the winner of the Chicago-Washington series for the NLCS. The Nationals host the Cubs in game four on Tuesday, at 5:38 pm ET. Chicago can wrap up the series with a win.

Monday, October 9, 2017

ALDS: Hanley Ramirez, Masahiro Tanaka Fend Off Elimination For Red Sox, Yankees

Players of the Day for Sunday, October 8, 2017

Ramirez: 4-for-4, 3 RBI
American League

Like Dorothy in the "Wizard of Oz," the Yankees and Red Sox have to believe "there's no place like home."

Both teams faced playoff elimination Sunday, and both came through with home wins, albeit the margin of victory for the Yankees being less than optimal.

Boston got a huge effort from Hanley Ramirez, batting sixth as the DH in Boston's 10-3 romp over the Astros. Ramirez was 4-for-4 with three RBI on three singles and a double.

The Red Sox batters banged out 15 hits after Houston took a 3-0 lead in the top of the first. Doug Fister, Boston's starter, lasted only 1 1/3 innings, but the Red Sox relief staff held the Astros scoreless for the final eight innings of the one-sided affair, including converted starter, David Price, who turned in four innings of shutout ball.

The series resumes Monday at Fenway Park at 1:08 pm ET. Houston leads, two games to one.

Tanaka: 7 Scoreless
Throughout the regular season, Yankee starter Masahiro Tanaka had his share of ups and downs, going 13-12 with a 4.14 ERA, but his post-season performance in game three of the ALDS was exactly what the Yankees needed.

New York rode Tanaka's arm to a 1-0 victory over the Indians, staving off elimination in the best-of-five series.

Tanaka out-lasted Cleveland's Carlos Carrasco, putting down seven scoreless innings on three hits and a walk, striking out seven. Carrasco lasted 5 2/3, but did not allow any runs either. Former Yankee, Andrew Miller, gave up a seventh inning solo home to Greg Bird, which turned out to be the only run of the game.

Yankee relievers finished what Tanaka started. David Robertson got one out but walked a batter in the top of the eighth, bringing on Aroldis Chapman, who endured for a five-out save.

Game four of the series, with Cleveland holding a 2-1 game advantage, is scheduled for Monday, 7:08 pm ET.

National League

There were no games in the National League on Sunday. On Monday, the Cubs host the Nationals at 4:08 pm ET, and the Diamondbacks host the Dodgers at 10:08 ET. The Cubs and Bats are tied one game apiece, while the Dodgers hold a 2-0 edge over Arizona in the best-of-five series.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

NLDS: Ryan Zimmerman, Bryce Harper HRs Power Nationals' Comeback Win Over Cubs

Players of the Day for Saturday, October 7, 2017

National League

The two most prominent features of baseball this season have been home runs and strikeouts, so it may be fitting that in Saturday's game two of the NLDS between the Cubs and Nationals, all of the runs were scored via the long ball, including the tying and winning runs.
Harper: 2-run HR

Washington rallied for five runs in the eighth inning to defeat the Cubs, 6-3, evening the series at a game apiece.

Jon Lester, the Chicago starter, put in a strong performance, limiting the Nats to one run on just two hits over six innings, but, the Cubs' relief staff could not hold the lead as the game entered the latter stages.

In the eighth, Bryce Harper tied the game at 3-3 with a two-run homer to right and later in the same inning, Ryan Zimmerman belted the game-changing three-run shot into the left field stands.

Zimmerman: 3-run HR
The victimized relievers were Carl Edwards, Jr., who allowed two hits, a walk and was credited with giving up three earned runs, retiring only one batter in the inning. Mike Montgomery came on with one out and allowed two more hits, including Zimmerman's blast.

Harper, who missed half of August and almost all of September due to injury, still managed a solid season, batting .319 with 29 homers and 87 RBI. Zimmerman, who has played all 13 years of his major league career with the Nationals, is almost a no-doubter for NL Comeback Player of the Year, swatting 36 home runs and driving in 108 runs with a .303 batting average during the regular season. In 2016, he hit .218 with 15 HRs and 46 RBI.

The teams get a day off Sunday, resuming the series Monday in Chicago.

Los Angeles took a commanding 2-0 lead in the best-of-five divisional series with an 8-5 victory over the visiting Diamondbacks.

Yasiel Puigled the Dodgers, going 3-for-4, driving in a pair of runs. Logan Forsythe was 3-for-5, scoring three times with an RBI.

The series shifts to Arizona on Monday. First pitch is slated for 7:08 pm ET.

American League

There were no games in the American League on Saturday, but Sunday's games are do-or-die for the two teams from the AL East, Boston and New York. Both the Red sox and Yankees are down two-games-to-none and face elimination as they return to their home fields.

Boston hosts the Astros at 2:38 pm ET in game three. Brad Peacock starts for the Astros. Doug Fister goes to the mound for Boston. The Yankees welcome the Cleveland Indians to Yankee Stadium at 7:38 pm ET. Masahiro Tanaka will try to keep the Yankee hopes alive, facing Cleveland hurler, Carlos Carrasco.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Francisco Lindor's Grand Slam Leads Cleveland Comeback; Justin Turner Drives In 5 As Dodgers Take Game 1

Players of the Day for Friday, October 6, 2017

American League

Houston took a 2-0 lead in the best-of-five ALDS with their second straight 8-2 win over Boston. Carlos Correa socked a two run homer off Red Sox starter Drew Pomeranz and plated two more with a seventh inning double.

Jose Altuve, who belted three home runs in the first game, went 2-for-3 and is batting .714 in the series.

In Cleveland, the Indians rallied from an 8-3 fifth inning deficit to defeat the New York Yankees in 13 inning, 9-8, taking a two-games-to-none lead in their best-of-five series.

Lindor: Grand Slam
The Yankees mostly built their lead off ace starter, Cory Kluber, who lasted just 2 2/3 innings, allowing six runs on seven hits, including a two-run homer by Gary Sanchez in the first innings and an Aaron Hicks three run belt in the third.

Starlin Castro drove in another run in the four-run third. Greg Bird ripped a two-run home run down the left field line to increase the lead to 8-3 in the fifth.

The large lead did the Yankees no good. Francisco Lindor delivered a grand slam in the sixth inning to cut the lead to one run, and Jay Bruce tied the game with a solo shot over the high left field wall in the eighth.

Neither team could muster another run until the 13th inning, when Dean Betances opened the inning by walking Austin Jackson, who promptly stole second. The next batter, Yan Gomes, singled home the game-winner. Game finished 2-for-5, including a key double in the sixth, which kept Cleveland's inning alive for Lindor's eventual slam.

Lindor's home run was his first and only hit of the series, but by no means a fluke. A dangerous hitter, Lindor had 33 home runs and 89 RBI during the regular season.

The series shifts to New York on Sunday, with the Yankees facing elimination in game three, as do the Red Sox in their series with Houston. New York hosts Cleveland Sunday at 7:38 pm ET. Earlier, the Red Sox host the Astros at 2:38 in legendary Fenway Park.

National League

Justin Turner got the Dodgers' post-season started off with a blast, specifically, a three-run, first-inning home run off Arizona starter, Taijuan Walker, who lasted just one inning, giving up four runs. The Dodgers piled on for a 9-5 victory in game one of the NLDS.

Turner: 3-5, HR, 5 RBI
Turner also singled home another run in the fourth inning and completed the Dodgers' scoring with an RBI single in the ninth, totaling five RBI in a 3-for-5 effort. One of the best hitters in the majors, Turner batted .322 during the regular season, tied for second in the NL with Washington's Daniel Murphy. The home run was the third in post-season play for Turner. In 60 post-season at-bats, Turner is batting .383 with three homers and 17 RBI, suggesting that the 32-year-old infielder may possibly be the new "Mr. October."

Clayton Kershaw took the win for LA, holding the Diamondbacks to one run over the first five innings, but giving up three solo home runs in the sixth and seventh innings before hitting the shower. J.D. Martinez touched one off in the sixth. Ketel Marte and Jeff Mathis went back-to-back in the seventh, ending Kershaw's night.

LA has a 1-0 lead in the series, which continues Saturday in Los Angeles at 9:08 pm ET.

In the other NLDS, Chicago's Kyle Hendricks held the Washington Nationals scoreless on two hits over seven innings as the Cubs took game one, 3-0. Hendricks squared off with Stephen Strasberg, both pitchers putting zeroes on the scoreboard until the Cubs broke through for two runs in the sixth.

Washington hosts the Cubs in game two, Saturday, at 5:38 pm ET.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Jose Altuve Pops Three Homers As Houston Downs Boston, 8-2; Cleveland Tops Yankees, 4-0

Players of the Day for Thursday, October 5, 2017

American League

Jose Altuve belted three solo home runs in the opening game of the AL divisional series, leading the Houston Astros to an 8-2 thrashing of the Boston Red Sox.

Altuve: 3-4, 3 HR, 3 RBI
Altuve's three dingers came in the first, the fifth and the seventh inning, as the Astros outclassed and outscored their visiting rivals from the AL East. Two of Altuve's blasts were off Boston starter, Chris Sale, who was outdeuled by a re-energized Justin Verlander, traded late in the season from Detroit to the Astros.

Sale went five innings, allowing seven runs on nine hits. Verlander gave up six hits over six innings, allowing single runs in the second and fourth. Four Houston relievers mopped up over the final three innings.

Altuve, who led the majors with a .346 batting average, is one of the leading candidates for league MVP. His performance on Thursday will likely sway a few votes in his direction.

Game two of the best-of-five series is scheduled for a 2:05 pm ET start, Friday in Houston.

In the other AL division series, Cleveland took a 1-0 lead on the visiting Yankees with a 4-0 victory. Trevor Bauer blanked the Yanks on two hits over 6 2/3 innings, striking out eight. Jay Bruce doubled and scored in the second inning, socked a two-run homer in the fourth and drove in his third run of the game with a fifth-inning sac fly.

The Yankees will try to even the score with the reigning AL champs on Friday in game two. Game time is 5:00 pm at Cleveland's Progressive Field.

National League

There were no games in the National League. The divisional series begin Friday.

Washington hosts Chicago at 7:30 pm ET. The Dodgers host Arizona at 10:30 pm ET.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Paul Goldschmidt Sets Tone As Diamondbacks Win Wild Card, 11-8, Over Colorado

Players of the Day for Wednesday, October 4, 2017

National League

Arizona advanced to the NLDS with an 11-8 victory over the Colorado Rockies.

Goldschmidt: 3-run HR
The game included 30 hits - 17 by the Diamondbacks - four home runs and a record four triples by Arizona. Colorado never led, as Arizona starter, Zack Greinke, kept the Rockies off the board for the initial three innings as his teammates built a 6-0 lead. That would change in the fourth, when the Rockies posted four runs and chased Greinke to the bullpen.

Paul Goldschmidt got the run parade started with a three-run homer in the first after David Peralta and Ketel Marte each singled to start the game. In the second, Peralta singled again, this time driven home by Marte's triple to the right-center gap. Arizona tacked on two more in the third on Daniel Descalso's home run with Jake Lamb on base.

The Rockies chipped away in the latter innings, but Arizona responded with two runs in the seventh and three in the eighth. 14 pitchers appeared in the slug-fest. Obviously, none of them fared particularly well. Oddly enough, Andrew Chafin took the win, getting just one out, inducing a fly ball to center from Charlie Blackmon in the fourth with two out and a man aboard.

After a day off Thursday, the Diamondbacks open the best-of-five NLDS against the Los Angeles Dodgers Friday at 10:30 pm ET.

The Nationals host the Cubs earlier in the day, their best-of-five series starting at 7:30 pm ET.

American League

There were no AL games on Wednesday. The ALDS best-of-five series between the Yankees and Indians begins on Thursday at 7:30 pm ET.

Boston opens their NLDS at Houston Thursday. Game time is slated for a 4:08 pm ET start.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Aaron Judge Leads Yankees Over Twins, 8-4, In Wild Card Game

Players of the Day for Tuesday, October 3, 2017

American League

As expected, the New York Yankees took the single-elimination wild card game over the Minnesota Twins, 8-4, but the manner in which they did so was hardly predictable.

Judge: HR, 3 R, 2 RBI
Yankee starter, Luis Severino, who went 14-6 during the regular season, lasted just 1/3 of an inning, giving up three runs to the Twins in the top of the first before Chad Green came in to stop the bleeding.

Severino gave up a leadoff homer to Bring Dozier and a two-run belt from Eddie Rosario for three Minnesota runs and was pulled after a single by Eduardo Escobar and a Max Kepler double put runners on second and third. Green fanned the next two batters to end the threat.

In the bottom of the first, the Yankees roared right back. Aaron Judge singled to put Brett Gardner on third after he had walked, and Didi Gregorius socked a three-run homer to tie the game.

While Yankee relievers held the Twins to just one more run for the duration of the game, the Yankees put up single runs in the second and third, two in the fifth, and another run in the seventh.

Judge, who is certain to be the AL Rookie of the Year and quite possibly the league MVP, rocked Jose Berrios with a two-run homer in the fourth, putting the Yankees ahead, 7-4, at the time. He also walked to lead off the seventh inning and scored when Aaron Hicks drew a bases-loaded walk, completing the scoring. Judge finished 2-for-4 with three runs and two RBI.

The Yankees leave their home in the Bronx and head to Cleveland, getting a couple of days off in the meantime. They open the ALDS against the Indians on Thursday, October 5. Game time is 7:30 pm ET.

National League

There were no games in the National League on Tuesday. Wednesday night, Arizona hosts Colorado in the wild card game, scheduled to begin at 8:00 pm ET.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Aaron Wilkerson Stops Cards For Brewers; Josh Tomlin Secures Top AL Spot For Indians

Players of the Day for Sunday, October 1, 2017

American League

Tomlin Stops White Sox
With only two games of consequence in the AL on the final day of the season, Houston scored four runs in the seventh inning to top Boston, 4-3, and Josh Tomlin limited the White Sox to one run on four hits over 5 1/3 innings, securing the best record in the American League as the Indians defeated Chicago, 3-1.

Tomlin, 10-9, struck out six and didn't issue any walks in Cleveland's 102nd win of the season. The Indians finished at 102-60, 17 games better than second place Minnesota in the AL Central division. Houston led the AL West with a record of 101-61, with a 21-game advantage over the Angels in second.

The match-ups for the post season in the AL are:

Tuesday, October 3: (Wild Card) Minnesota Twins at NY Yankees, 8:00 pm ET
Thursday, October 5, (ALDS) Boston Red Sox at Houston Astros, 4:00 pm ET
Thursday, October 5, (ALDS) Wild Card at Cleveland Indians, 7:30 pm ET

The Yankees and Twin play a single elimination game for the wild card, advancing to the ALDS vs. Cleveland, best of five.

Wilkerson: 1st MLB Win
National League

With no games of any meaning in terms of the post-season, the top performer of the day was Milwaukee Brewers call-up, pitcher Aaron Wilkerson, who stopped the Cardinals dead in their tracks over seven innings in a 6-1 Brewers' victory at St. Louis.

Wilkerson, 28, notched his first major league victory, holding the Cardinals to one run on two hits, the only run coming of the bat of Randall Grichuk, who socked a solo homer in the seventh. Wilkerson didn't walk anyone and fanned five, throwing 86 pitches, 56 for strikes. The right-hander spent the majority of the 2017 season in AA with the Biloxi Shuckers of the Southern League, where he was 11-4 with a 3.16 ERA in 24 starts.

The Brewers ended the regular season in second place in the NL Central, six games behind the Chicago Cubs. The Cardinals finished nine games out in third.

Post-season NL Schedule:

Wednesday, October 4: (Wild Card) Colorado Rockies at Arizona Diamondbacks, 8:00 pm ET
Friday, October 6: (NLDS) Chicago Cubs at Washington Nationals, 7:30 pm ET
Friday, October 6: (NLDS) Wild Card at Los Angeles Dodgers, 10:30 pm ET

The wild card game is single-elimination, one game; the NLDS series are best-of-five.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Drew Pomeranz Stifles Astros, Boston Takes AL East; Kyle Schwarber Leads Cubs Past Reds

Players of the Day for Saturday, September 30, 2017

American League

Pomeranz: Wins clincher
Drew Pomeranz held Houston scoreless through six innings while his Boston teammates piled up the runs, as the Red Sox clinched the AL East crown with a 6-3 victory over the Astros.

Leaving the game after allowing a single to Jose Altuve leading off Houston's seventh inning, Pomeranz allowed three hits and one earned run, as Altuve eventually came around to score as the Astros plated two in the seventh, but, the Red Sox already had established a 5-0 lead and added another run in the bottom of the seventh on Rookie Betts' solo home run.

Pomeranz (17-6) walked two and struck out three in his last start of the regular season.

The win left Boston two games in front of the Yankees in the division, as New York took a 2-1 decision from Toronto in the Bronx. With just one game left in the regular season, the Yankees could no longer catch the Red Sox, who will open the ALDS on the road, either at Cleveland or Houston, pending results from Sunday's games.

Cleveland holds a one game lead over the Astros for the best record in the league. The team with the best record will host the winner of Tuesday's wild card game, Minnesota at New York. The Indians lost, 2-1, to the White Sox on Saturday.

National League

Schwarber: 2-4, HR, 4 RBI
On a day in which only two games had impact, there were an assortment of fresh faces on National League diamonds, along with some which will be recognizable in the upcoming playoffs.

One of those players heading into the post-season is Kyle Schwarber, who socked his 30th home run of the season as the Cubs hammered the Reds at Wrigley Field, 9-0.

Jon Lester threw five scoreless innings, improving to 13-8 for the season, allowing four hits and striking out seven without any walks. Schwarber led a 10-hit Chicago attack, going 2-for-4 with four RBI, including his two-run homer in the second inning which got the Chicago hit parade started.

He also singled in two more runs in the third inning, putting an early mark on the Cubs' second-last game of the regular season.

Schwarber is a hit-or-miss kind of player with immense power. He's batting .211 on the year, with 59 RBI, but 150 strikeouts.

In the games that mattered, St. Louis scored three runs in the eighth inning to defeat the Brewers, 7-6, ending all hope for Milwaukee in their pursuit of the wild card. Colorado took the second wild card spot while losing to the Dodgers, 5-3, but their record is two games up on the Brewers, clinching the final playoff spot on the next-to-last day of the season.

The Rockies play a single elimination game at Arizona on Wednesday, October 4.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Alex Bregman Provides All RBI In Houston Win; Trevor Story Powers Colorado Over Dodgers

Players of the Day for Friday, September 29, 2017

American League

Bregman: HR, 3 RBI
With the regular season coming to a close on Sunday, the Astros and Indians know they must keep winning if they hope to have the best record in the American League.

Entering Friday's games, the Indians had a one-game edge in that department and took care of business by swatting the White Sox, 10-1. Houston faced a more arduous task, playing at Boston, where the Red Sox are still embroiled in a pennant race with the Yankees for first place in the AL East. Houston, thanks to third baseman, Alex Bregman, was up to it, topping the Red Sox 3-2 at Fenway Park, as Bregman drove in all three Houston runs.

While a parade of five Houston hurlers were limiting the Red Sox to five hits and two earned runs, Bregman was going 3-for-4, with a single, double, home run, and, as mentioned, all three RBI.

Bregman got the Astros on the board in the third inning, singling home the first run of the game.He put the Astros up, 3-0, with a two-run homer over the Green Monster in the fifth inning and the Houston bullpen managed to hold on for the win, leaving the Astros exactly where they were a day before, one game behind the Indians in the overall AL standings.

Bregman has had an excellent season, batting .287, with 19 homers and 71 RBI.

Houston will go for their third straight win over the Red Sox on Saturday, in game three of their four-game series, starting at 1:05 pm ET.

National League

Story: 3-for-4, HR, 2 RBI
The Colorado Rockies reduced their magic number for clinching the second wild card to one with a 9-1 romp over the visiting Dodgers, highlighted by four homers at high-altitude Coors Field.

Nolan Arenado and Charlie Blackmon got things going early for the Rockies, each swatting their 37th home run of the year. Arenado's came in the first with the bases empty. Blackmon's was a second-inning, two-run variety as the Rockies built a 5-0 lead in the first two innings of Dodger starter, Hyun Jin Ryu.

The hitting star was Trevor Story, who went 3-for-4, with a single, triple, and a two-run, fourth inning home run that essentially put the game away. Story has 24 home runs and 82 RBI on the year.

With Milwaukee dogging the Rockies the past month, Colorado has done just enough to stay ahead of the Brewers down the stretch. Since September 7, they are 12-8, while the Brewers have gone 12-7, keeping on the pressure.

Colorado has to win just one more game or Milwaukee lose one to clinch the wild card spot and play the single elimination game at Arizona on Wednesday, October 4. They host the Dodgers Saturday at 8:10 pm ET and Sunday at 3:10 pm ET. Milwaukee plays Saturday and Sunday in St. Louis.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Giancarlo Stanton Belts 2 HR In Miami Win; Carlos Correa, Houston Bomb Boston, 12-2

Players of the Day for Thursday, September 28, 2017

American League
Correa lashes Red Sox

In what very well could be a preview of the ALDS, Houston smashed Boston, 12-2, in the opener of a four-game series at Fenway Park.

The Astros trail Cleveland by one game in the race for the league's best record. The team with the best mark in the regular season has home field advantage throughout the playoffs and will face the wild card team in the opening round of the playoffs. As it stands, Houston would host Boston in a best of five divisional series, so the spanking taken by the Red Sox should prove a warning to the Boston faithful.

With the Yankees losing to the Rays, 9-6, Boston's magic number was reduced to one, the Yankees missing a golden opportunity to close the gap on the Red Sox, who lead the AL East by three games. With three games remaining, a Boston win or a Yankee loss would secure the division title.

Carlos Correa led the Astros' 17-hit assault on seven Boston pitchers with four of his own, scoring three times and driving in three with a pair of singles, a double and a two-run homer - his 24th - in four at-bats.

Correa, who was the 2015 Rookie of the Year and an all star in 2017, is batting .315 with 84 RBI.

Boston hosts Houston Friday at 7:10 pm ET in game two of their season-ending series.

National League

Stanton: 59 HR, 129 RBI
Back home in Miami, Giancarlo Stanton was back in his best groove, swatting a pair of home runs in the Marlins' 7-1 victory over the Atlanta Braves.

Stanton, chasing Babe Ruth and Roger Maris, has already surpassed all non-steroid-era National Leaguers in the category of most home runs in a single season. His homers on Thursday were his 58th and 59th.

Stanton socked a solo shot in the fourth and followed up with a two-run dinger in the eighth inning. He also singled and scored three times. His total of 129 RBI has him tied with Colorado's Nolan Arenado for the National League and major league lead. Nelson Cruz leads the AL with 117.

Babe Ruth hit 60 home runs for the Yankees in 1927, a record that lasted 34 years, until another Yankee, Roger Maris broke the record with 61 in 1961. It is worth noting when Ruth set the mark, the regular season consisted of 154 games. When Maris did it, teams played 162.

Stanton will have three more chances to hit even more baseballs into the far reaches of Marlins Stadium. Miami hosts the Braves for the final three games of the season. Friday's game is scheduled for 7:10 pm ET.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

John Lackey, Addison Russell Lead Cubs To NL Central Title; Xander Bogaerts Powers Red Sox

Players of the Day for Wednesday, September 27, 2017

American League

Bogaerts: 3-5, HR, 4 RBI
Xander Bogaerts went 3-for-5, scored twice and drove in four runs as the Boston Red Sox outslugged the Toronto Blue Jays, 10-7, taking one step closer to winning the AL East division.

Bogaerts' third inning, three-run homer - his 10th of the season - capped a five-run rally by the Red Sox which largely put the Blue Jays away. In the second inning, Bogaerts singled in the tying run at 3-3, and scored the go-ahead run on Dustin Pedroia's single. The Blue Jays re-tied the game with a run in the top of the third, but the bottom of the frame proved decisive.

Boston's win kept them three games up on the Yankees in the division race. With four left to play, the magic number is two for the Red Sox, who open a four-game series at home with the Houston Astros, who are still fighting with Cleveland for the league's best record. Houston is one game behind the Indians in the race, so the upcoming series at Boston should be hard-fought.

Russell: 3-run homer
National League

John Lackey held St. Louis to one run over six innings and Addison Russell's seventh inning, three-run homer off Cardinal starter, Michael Wacha, led the Cubs back to the post-season.

The 5-1 win in St. Louis clinched the second consecutive NL Central pennant for the Cubs. In 2016, they won the division by 17 1/2 games and rode their wave of success all the way to a World Series championship over Cleveland.

Lackey: 6 IP, 2 H, 1 ER
Lackey (12-11) has not been consistent all season, but dueled until Russell broke up Wacha's shutout performance. The Cubs added two more runs in the frame, both debited to the S.t Louis starter. Lackey allowed only two hits, the Cardinals scratching out their lone run in the second inning as Paul DeJong doubled home Jedd Gyorko.

Russell's home run was his 12th of the season, but none were bigger than Wednesday's game-winner for the Cubs' third-year shortstop.

The Cubs will enter the post-season with the third-best record of the division winners meaning they'll play the them with the second-best record, the Washington Nationals, and will open the series on the road. The Dodgers - who clinched the league's best record and home field advantage - will face the winner of the wild card game.

Chicago finishes up its series in St. Louis on Thursday and end the regular season with a three-game home stand with Cincinnati.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Brian Dozier Powers Twins Past Indians; Corey Seager Leads Dodgers To Best NL Record

Players of the Day for Tuesday, September 26, 2017

American League

Dozier: 3-5, HR, 3 RBI
With an 8-6 win over the Indians in Cleveland, the Minnesota Twins moved one step closer to clinching the second wild card, clinching at least a tie with the LA Angels. Both the Twins and Angels have five games remaining, so any win by the Twins or loss by the Angels would clinch the position outright for Minnesota.

Brian Dozier continued his season of excellence, going 3-for-5 with a single, double and a three-run, eighth inning home run that rallied the Twins from a 6-4 deficit to a 7-6 lead. Minnesota added another run in the top of the ninth for the final score.

Dozier's home run was his 33rd, the three RBI upping his season total to 80, which is incredible considering Dozier is a leadoff hitter.

Dozier led off the game with a double, and scored the first Minnesota run in the first, then singled leading off the the third, scoring on one of Eddie Rosario's two doubles. Rosario was 4-for-5 with three RBI including his 27th home run, in the first with the bases empty.

Minnesota plays game two at Cleveland Wednesday at 7:10 pm ET. The Twins can clinch the wild card outright with a win. Meanwhile, Cleveland has a tenuous hold on the best record in the league, one game better than the Houston Astros.

National League

Seager: HR, 4 RBI
Corey Seager drove in four runs, leading the LA Dodgers to a 9-2 home victory over the San Diego Padres, securing playoff home field advantage with the best record in the National League.

The Dodgers are 101-57. With five games left, the Washington Nationals, at 95-62, cannot match the Dodgers' mark. Thus, the Dodgers will host the winner of the wild card game, which currently will be either Arizona or Colorado, making for an all-NL West series. Washington will host the winner of the NL Central. The Cubs need one more win or a Milwaukee loss to wrap up the division.

Seager singled in a run to put the Dodgers up, 5-2, in the sixth, then wrapped up the scoring with his 21st home run, a three-run blast, in the seventh inning. Seager is batting .295 with 75 RBI.

LA will be looking to add to their win total and sweep the Padres in game three of the series, Wednesday, at 7:00 pm PT. Los Angeles closes out the regular season with a three-game road series at Colorado.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Yankee's Aaron Judge Sets Rookie Record With 50th HR; Kris Bryant Helps Cubs Crush Cards, 11-2

Players of the Day for Monday, September 25, 2017

American League

Judge sets rookie HR mark
Aaron Judge socked a pair of home runs, leading the Yankees to an 11-3 win over the visiting Kansas City Royals, a make-up game from an earlier rainout.

Judge's two homers increased his total for the season to 50, breaking Mark McGwire's 1987 record of 49. Judge pounded a two-run shot to right field in the third inning to tie the record and a solo homer to left in the seventh, setting the new mark. Judge's performance - 2-for-3, two runs, three RBI - matched that of his previous game, a 9-5 loss at Toronto.

The 6-foot-7, 25-year-old slugger is a leading candidate for rookie of the year and league MVP, a rare double award cache previously captured only by Fred Lynn (1975) and Ichiro Suzuki (2001).

Judge leads the AL in home runs and his 108 RBI are tied for second with LA's Justin Upton, trailing Seattle's Nelson Cruz, who has 115.

The Yankees, having already clinched a wild card, still have the Red Sox in their sights, but are running out of time. Though the Yanks have won 16 of their last 22 games, Boston has also been solid, maintaining a four-game lead in the division despite losing to Toronto on Monday, 6-4.

New York closes out the season at home, hosting Tampa Bay and Toronto in consecutive three-game series starting Tuesday.

National League

Bryant: 3-for-4, HR
Having taken three of four from the Brewers in Milwaukee over the weekend and whacking the Cardinals, 10-2, in the opener of another four-game road series, the Chicago Cubs can practically taste the post-season.

Chicago's win over St. Louis not only eliminated the Cardinals in the division race, it also left them six games ahead of Milwaukee, reducing their magic number for the division title to one.

Kris Bryant continued his red-hot play, socking his 29th home run of the season off Cardinal starter, Luke Weaver, who was rocked for seven hits and eight runs in three innings.

Bryant also singled twice, going 3-for-4 with a pair of runs and an RBI. The 2016 NL MVP has hit safely in 11 of his last 12 games, with four homers and 14 RBI over that span.

The Cardinals are seven games out in the division, but still have a chance at the wild card. They trail the Rockies by 2 1/2 games, but Milwaukee is only 1 1/2 back in the race for the second wild card. Arizona, with a six-game lead in the top spot, can clinch that with one win or a Rockies' loss.

The Cubs will be looking to clinch their second straight NL Central title when they take the field in St. Louis, Tuesday at 8:00 pm ET.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Clayton Kershaw, Corey Kluber Each Win #18 As The Dodgers And Indians Race Toward The Playoffs

Players of the Day for Sunday, September 24, 2017

American League

Kluber: 18-4
The Cleveland Indians are cruising toward the playoffs with the best record in the league and, arguably, the best pitcher, as well.

Corey Kluber earned his 18th win against four losses in a 4-2 Cleveland win at Seattle, becoming the first pitcher in the American League to reach that plateau. Almost simultaneously, Clayton Kershaw would hit the same mark in the National League.

Kluber was touched up for two unearned runs in the fifth inning, but the Indians scored a run in the sixth for a 3-2 lead. Kluber pitched seven full innings, giving up six hits and two walks, fanning 10.

Cleveland's 98-58 record is 2 1/2 games better than Houston's 95-60. With six games left for the Indians and seven for the Astros, Cleveland looks to hold home field advantage throughout their stay in the playoffs.

The Indians close out the regular season at home, with three games against Minnesota starting Tuesday. After that, they host the White Sox for the final three games.

National League

Clayton Kershaw became the first pitcher in the National League to reach 18 wins as his Los Angeles Dodgers clinched the NL West with a 3-1 win over the San Francisco Giants.

Kershaw: 18-4
A favorite to capture his fourth Cy Young award, Kershaw scattered eight hits over eight innings, allowing the one run on an eighth inning Mac Williamson solo homer. Kershaw struck out six, giving him 200 on the year, the seventh time he's reached that plateau. In 2015, LA's pre-eminent left-hander fanned 301. In 2016, he managed only 172 strikeouts due to an extended stay on the disabled list.

The Dodgers, now 99-57, can look forward to home field advantage throughout their playoff run. They hold a 4 1/2 game edge over the Washington Nationals (94-61) for the league's best record.

Kershaw is 18-4 n 26 starts. He is expected to start one more time prior to the playoffs. The regular season concludes October 1.

Los Angeles has six games left on the regular season schedule. They host the Padres for three games starting Monday and close out the season with three in Colorado beginning Thursday.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Eduardo Rodriguez Hurls Red Sox Closer To Playoffs; Miami's Giancarlo Stanton Racks HR #57

Players of the Day for Saturday, September 23, 2017

American League
Rodriguez: 7 2/3 IP, 0 ER

Boston's 5-0 win at Cincinnati was their fifth consecutive win, keeping them four games ahead of the Yankees in the race for the AL East title, the only division yet to be decided in the American League.

The Red Sox got a terrific performance from starting pitcher, Eduardo Rodriguez (6-6, 3.91), who blanked the Reds for 7 2/3 innings on three hits, all singles.

Rodriguez, who didn't give up a base hit until Joey Votto singled with one out in the fourth, walked two and struck out six.

With one more road game, Sunday, 1:10 pm ET at Cincinnati, Boston returns home to Fenway Park for the final week of the regular season, starting Monday with three games against Toronto, followed by four with Houston.

As both they and the Yankees have eight games left, Boston's magic number to capture the division is five.

National League

With every passing at-bat, Giancarlo Stanton's quest to tie or break Roger Maris' non-steroid-era record of 61 home runs in a season becomes more of a dramatic quest for the 27-year-old slugger.
Stanton: 57 HR, 125 RBI

Stanton has exceeded all expectations despite his Marlins falling out of contention for the post-season early in September. On Saturday, in Miami's 12-6 win at Arizona, Stanton launched number 57, a solo shot in the fourth inning. Earlier, Stanton delivered a third-inning double, driving in tow runs. In the ninth, he grounded into a fielder's choice, sending home the Marlins' final run.

Tallying four RBI on the day, Stanton continues to chase Colorado's Nolan Arenado for the NL RBI lead. Arenado has 126, Stanton closed to within one, at 125.

Miami's win kept the Diamondbacks from clinching a playoff spot, though that is nearly a certainty. With eight games left, Arizona leads Colorado by six games as the first wild card, making their magic number to clinch that coveted spot, three.

Stanton should have ample opportunity to add to his home run and RBI totals. After closing out the series in Arizona Sunday (4:10 pm ET), the Marlins play three in the thin air of Colorado, then return home for the final four games of the season, with Atlanta.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Arizona Downs Miami On Chris Iannetta's Slam, 8 RBI; Justin Verlander Leads 3-0 Houston Win

Players of the Day for Friday, September 22, 2017

American League

Verlander: 7 IP, 1 H, 0 ER
Having already clinched the AL West, the Houston Astros are still fighting for the best record in the AL, which would give them home field advantage throughout the playoffs. Aiding that cause was their 3-0 win over the Angels Friday, which incidentally left the LA squad with five straight losses and a 3 1/2 game deficit in the race for the second wild card.

Justin Verlander (14-8) had one of his best starts of the season for Houston, tossing seven innings of shutout ball on one hit, walking two and fanning six.

At 34, Verlander has been doing what a veteran hurler should, winning games. Since the all-star break, he's 9-1 and Friday's outing was his fifth straight win. The last four of those wins have come in September, after being traded from the Tigers to the Astros, allowing just two runs in 28 innings, with an ERA of 0.64.

The AL MVP and Cy Young award winner in 2011, Verlander appears ready for the playoffs, regardless of where the games occur. Houston's win and a 3-1 loss by Cleveland to Seattle left the Tribe 1 1/2 games to the good over Houston for the league's best record. The Indians are 96-58; Houston stands at 94-59. The Astros have won eight of their last 10. Both have already clinched their divisions.

The Astros will try to cut into that gap when they meet the Angels in game two of their series in LA, Saturday at 1:05 pm ET.

National League

Iannetta: 2HR, GS, 8RBI
Arizona came closer to clinching the top wild card spot as catcher Chris Iannatta drove in eight runs with a pair of homers and an RBI single for a 13-11 win over the Miami Marlins.

The Diamondbacks lead Colorado by six games in the wild card standings with eight left to play.

In a wild contest that saw seven home runs and the lead change hands five times, Iannatta was at the center of the action, ripping a three-run homer in the first inning, delivering an RBI single in the second and cracking a grand slam in the sixth that put the Diamondbacks ahead for good.

The slam was Iannetta's third in his 12-year major league career, helping him notch a career high with eight RBI. He has 16 homers and 42 RBI in 85 games this season.

Colorado kept pace with a 4-1 win at San Diego and the Cardinals overtook Milwaukee by 1/2 game as they won their fourth straight. St. Louis trails the Rockies by 1 1/2 games for the final wild card.

Arizona can get closer to clinching when they meet the Marlins in game two of their three-game set, Saturday, at 8:10 pm ET in Miami.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Kris Bryant, Wade Davis Lead Cubs Over Brew Crew; Joe Mauer Keeps Twins Alive In Wild Card

Players of the Day for Thursday, September 21, 2018

American League

Mauer: 3-for-4, .311 BA
After dropping three straight to the Yankees in New York, the Minnesota Twins were hoping for better results when they opened a four-game series in Detroit on Thursday.

Getting exactly what they needed from their batsmen - 14 hits - the Twins got back on the winning track with a 12-1 thumping of Detroit.

Leading the assault on Detroit starter Jordan Zimmermann and six relievers was Joe Mauer, resurgent this season as the Twins defied the experts by staying in contention throughout the season. Maueer went 3-for-4 with a double and two singles, driving in two runs and scoring twice. In his 14th year in the majors - all of them with the Twins - he's batting .311 after hitting just .261 last season. His average is the sixth-highest in the American League.

Minnesota also got an assist from Central division rival Cleveland, as the Indians topped the Angels, 4-1, dropping LA into a tie with Texas, 2 1/2 games behind the Twins for the second wild card spot.

Game two of the series is Friday, 7:10 pm ET at Detroit's Comerica Park.

National League

Bryant: game-winning HR
Taking an important step closer to capturing the NL Central division, the Chicago Cubs rallied in the ninth inning and won the opener of a four-game series at Milwaukee in the 10th inning for a 5-3 victory.

Kris Bryant socked a two-run homer in the Cubs' half of the extra inning and Wade Davis (4-1) earned the win with 1 2/3 innings of shutout ball, striking out four, including setting down the Brewers in order, on strikes, in the 10th.

Davis: bullpen ace
For Bryant, the 2016 NL MVP, the home run was his 28th of the season. He has 67 RBI on the year. Davis, called on with a man aboard and one out in the ninth, loaded the bases by hitting a batter and allowing a base hit, but struck out Domingo Santana and got Orlando Arcia on a routine ground ball to end the threat. Davis, the Cubs' closer, has 32 saves, a 1.95 ERA and 73 strikeouts in 55 1/3 inning.

The Cubs entered the ninth down a run, but tied the game on Javier Baez's RBI single.

Chicago's win left them with a 4 1/2 game lead over the Brewers and five over the Cardinals. The Cubs have caught fire at the most opportune time, winning eight of their last nine.

Game two of the series starts Friday at 7:30 pm ET.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Boston's Chris Sale Fans 13, Downs Orioles; Hunter Renfroe Socks 3 HR But Padres Lose To Arizona

Players of the Day for Wednesday, September 20, 2017

American League

Sale: 300 strikeouts
While the Yankees were busy eliminating the competition in the wild card race, sweeping three from the Minnesota Twins and advancing their lead over them to seven games, the Boston Red Sox had the pedal to the metal as well, matching the Yanks with three straight over the fading Orioles, in Baltimore.

Capping the sweep with a 9-0 shutout, starter Chris Sale went eight full innings, didn't allow any walks, gave up just four hits and fanned 13, sending his major-league leading strikeout total to 300, becoming the first American League pitcher to achieve that milestone since Boston's Pedro Martinez did it 1999, when he set a club record with 313.

Sales threw 111 pitches, 77 of them for strikes, improving to 17-7 on the year. With 10 games remaining, and a mere three game lead over the Yankees, it's a good bet that Sale will get to the mound again this season, with the possibility of equalling or breaking Martinez's club record.

Boston's win assured that they will be playing in October, at least as a wild card, though the Sox clearly have higher aims. New York has a magic number of three to clinch a playoff berth, but they too have their eyes on the AL East division title.

The two contenders (Tampa Bay, Baltimore and Toronto have been mathematically eliminated) do not play each other again this season, unless they meet up in the playoffs. After a day off Thursday, Boston will head to Cincinnati for a three-game series with the Reds, then return home for their final seven games, three against the Blue Jays and four with Houston.

New York also opens a three-game road series on Friday, in Toronto. A make-up game with the Royals is slated for September 25 (Monday), prior to back-to-back three-game home series against Tampa Bay and Toronto.

Renfroe: 3 HR, 4 RBI
National League

Arizona increased its lead in the wild card race to 5 1/2 over the Rockies with a 13-7 win at San Diego, despite the best efforts of rookie outfielder, Hunter Renfroe, who became the first Padre to belt three home runs in one game since the inception of the franchise back in 1969.

Renfroe socked his first in the third inning, a two-run blast, followed by solo shots in the fifth and ninth innings. Renfroe has 24 home runs and 54 RBI on the year.

The Padres built a 6-2 lead after five innings, but the Diamondbacks scored four in the sixth, one in the seventh, two in the eighth and four more in the ninth to win going away, avoiding the sweep in the three-game series.

Fortunately for Arizona, which had lost three straight before Wednesday's win, they had built a sizable lead in the wild card race. Below them, the battle is engaged for the #2 position. Colorado leads Milwaukee by one game and St. Louis by 2 1/2.

Looking like a sure thing to clinch the top wild card spot, Arizona has Thursday off, then opens a six-game home stand, playing three with Miami and then the Giants. They close out the regular season with three games at Kansas City.