Monday, September 11, 2017

Yadier Molina Drives In 5 As Cards Sweep Pirates; Nats Clinch; Gary Sanchez Leads Yankees Over Rangers

Players of the Day for Sunday, September 10, 2017

American League

Sanchez: 2HR, 4R, 2RBI
The Yankees have a 3 1/2 game hold on the first wild card spot, but they are clearly intent on gaining a more secure spot in the post-season, taking two of three from the Rangers with a 16-7 thumping in the series finale.

Coupled with Boston's 4-1 loss to Tampa Bay, the Yankees trail the Red Sox by 3 1/2 games in the AL East.

Fueling New York's offense has been a primary focus of Gary Sanchez. The second-year catcher doubled and smacked a pair of home runs in the win, driving in two runs and scoring three times as the Yankees tore up Texas starter A.J. Griffin and three subsequent relievers with 18 hits, including the two bombs by Sanchez and a pair of round-trippers by Aaron Judge, who leads the league with 41.

Sanchez, who missed a month earlier in the season due to injury, has 30 homers and 83 RBI. He hit 12 in August alone and drove in 26 runs last month. Sanchez had to sit out three games recently, serving a suspension for a fight in Detroit a few weeks back. His two homers were his first of September. He has a five-game hitting streak and is batting .400 so far this month.

The Yankees got a break in the schedule thanks to Hurricane Irma. Baseball executives moved the three-game series originally scheduled to be played at Tropicana Field in Tampa to the Mets' Citi Field facility. The series opens Monday at 7:10 pm ET. New York has won six of their last eight.

National League

Molina: HR, 5 RBI
While the Brewers were completing a three-game sweep of the Cubs at Wrigley Field in Chicago, the St. Louis Cardinals were happy to remain tied for second place with Milwaukee, winning their third straight as well, sweeping the Pirates at Busch Stadium with a 7-0 whitewash.. Both the Brewers and Cardinals trail the Cubs by a mere two games in the NL Central, the one division race that is still wide open.

Michael Wacha blanked Pittsburgh over eight innings on five hits, fanning seven while issuing no walks. More than enough offense was supplied by the incomparable Yadier Molina, who tied a career best with five RBI, driving in three with a home run in the third inning after singling home the first St. Louis run in the first.

Completing his 2-for-3 day at the plate, Molina launched a sac fly in the seventh inning, completing the scoring for the game. Reliever Jon Gant allowed one hit, but held the Pirates scoreless in the ninth.

Having his usual solid season, the 35-year-old veteran catcher is batting .280 with 17 home runs, 72 RBI, and eight stolen bases.

With the race tightening in the division, the Cardinals are having a September to remember, winning eight of their last ten. Milwaukee is 5-4 for the month, the Cubs, 4-6, and in danger of losing their grip on first place.

St. Louis gets a day off Monday before hosting the Reds for three games. After that, the Cubs come to town for three in a series crucial to both teams.

CLINCHER: With a 3-2 victory over Philadelphia and Miami's 10-8, 11-inning loss to Atlanta, the Washington Nationals became the first team in the majors to clinch a post-season berth, clinching the NL East division.

With 19 games remaining and a 20-game lead on the Marlins, the Nationals punched their ticket to October with three weeks left to play.

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