Friday, September 1, 2017

Arizona Sweeps Dodgers As Zack Greinke Wins 16th; Blue Jays Snap O's Win Streak On Kendrys Morales 3 HRs

Players of the Day for Thursday, August 31, 2017

American League

Morales: 4-5, 3 HR, 7 RBI
Baltimore was making some serious noise in the wild card race, winning seven straight prior to welcoming the Toronto Blue Jays into Camden Yards for a four-game series, but the night would not go well for the high-flying Orioles, as the scrappy Blue Jays grounded them, 11-8.

The game was not one for pitchers on either squad as the two teams combined for 27 hits and five home runs, three of them by Kendrys Morales, who also singled in five at-bats, driving in seven runs.

Morales socked a two-run homer in the third inning, singled home another run in the fifth, and finished off the O's with a three-run blast in the sixth and a solo shot in the eighth, completing the scoring for the Blue Jays. Morales has 25 home runs and 70 RBI on the year.

The Orioles scored a pair of runs in they eighth to close the gap, but it was not enough and the streak was over, leaving Baltimore 3 1/2 games behind the Yankees and 2 1/2 back of Minnesota for the two wild card spots. Both the Twins and Yankees were winners on Thursday. The Yankees topped Boston, 6-2, while Minnesota won their fourth straight, beating the White Sox, scoring the winning run when Max Kepler was plunked with the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth.

Baltimore will try to get back on the winning track when they meet Toronto in game two, Friday at 7:05 pm ET.

National League

Paul Goldschmidt's first inning double plated two runs and that was all Zack Greinke needed to notch his 16th win as the Diamondbacks swept the Dodgers in an 8-1 win.

Greinke: 16-6, 3.08 ERA
Greinke allowed a run in the second inning, but that was all, going six innings to tie Milwaukee's Zach Davies as the only 16-game winners in the major leagues.

While Greinke limited the Dodgers to just four hits, Arizona slammed LA starter Kenta Maeda for seven runs on eight hits over the first three innings. With the huge lead, Greinke sat after the sixth, allowing T.J. McFarland to work a scoreless seventh and eighth innings. Jake Barrett closed out the game and the sweep with a hitless ninth.

The loss was LA's fifth straight, easily their longest losing streak of the season, but that may be the end of it as ace hurler Clayton Kershaw returns Friday night against the San Diego Padres after spending 40 days on the DL with back problems. The Dodgers dropped three straight - though no to the same team - once each in April, May, and June.

Since the All Star break, the Dodgers have only lost two straight once, dropping a pair to Atlanta, July 20 and 21 as they split a four-game series with the Braves.

Greinke fanned six and walked two, increasing his strikeout total to 188, third in the NL behind Max Scherzer (230) and the Mets' Jacob DeGrom (206).

With the sweep, Arizona vastly improved their chances at making the post season, improving their hold on the top wild card position to 3 1/2 games over the Rockies. They still trail the Dodgers by 16 games, so, with fewer than 30 games to play, catching the runaway leaders in the NL West is not realistic.

The Diamondbacks have won seven straight and nine of their last 10. They open a three-game series in Colorado Friday before returning to LA for the final time this season for a three-game series starting on Labor Day.

It will be the last time Arizona plays LA during the regular season. The season series is tied 8-8.

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