Sunday, September 30, 2018

Juan Soto Helps Washington Rip Rockies, Sending NL Into Chaos; Miguel Andujar Breaks DiMaggio Record As Yankees Down Red Sox

Players of the Day for Saturday, September 29, 2018

American League

Where have you gone Joe DiMaggio?
Andujar breaks NY record

Thanks to rookie third baseman, Miguel Andujar, part of him, at least, has gone down a memory hole as Andjusr shattered a record held since 1936 by the Yankee Clipper.

Andujar lashed a pair of doubles and drove in two runs as the Yankees defeated Boston, 8-5, at Fenway Park. DiMaggio's Yankee rookie record of 44 doubles in a season was broken as Andujar hit one on Friday to tie it and upped his total to 46 with his two doubles Saturday.

Andujar should easily capture the AL rookie of the year award.

The Yankees set a major league record in the win. With home runs by Gleyber Torres and Giancarlo Stanton, they surpassed the record set in 1997 by the Seattle Mariners for most home runs by a team in a single season. The previous record was 264, which was tied when Aaron Judge launched the last of four Yankee homers Friday night. The new record of 266 - to which the Yankees can add on Sunday in their regular season finale - also includes a footnote. The Yankees became the first team to get at least 20 home runs from each of the nine batting positions when Gleyber Torres broke the record with his fourth-inning smash.

The Yankees and Red Sox complete the regular season Sunday at Fenway.

National League

Soto: 2-for-4, HR, 4 RBI
The Washington Nationals aren't headed to the post-season, but, in the best baseball tradition, they played spoiler on Saturday by hammering the Colorado Rockies, 12-2, sending the NL West into a tie for first place between the Rockies and Dodgers. Los Angeles defeated the Giants, 10-6, leaving the two teams at 90-71 each with one game left to play.

Rookie outfielder, Juan Soto, got the Nationals on the bard early, knocking in two runs with a double in the first inning. From there on, the Nationals continued to pour it on, racking up 18 hits against five Colorado pitchers as the game got away.

Soto drove in two more runs, one with a solo homer in the fifth (his 22nd), and another on a ground out in the eighth inning. His four RBI gave hime 70 on the year. Soto's numbers, which include a .294 batting average, make him the leading candidate for rookie of the year.

Meanwhile, on Saturday, St. Louis was eliminated from the wild card race, despite their 2-1 win over the Cubs in Chicago. With Milwaukee downing Detroit, 6-5, that left the Cubs and Brewers tied for the lead in the NL Central, at 94-67.

With the Atlanta Braves having already clinched the NL East, the other four post-season positions are up for grabs. The Cubs host St. Louis, the Rockies host Washington, LA is at San Francisco and Milwaukee hosts Detroit. The games are all the last of the regular season for the teams involved. If ties are produced in either division, an additional playoff game would be needed to determine the winner. Either the Cubs or Brewers will host the wild card game against the second place team in the West, either the Dodgers or Rockies.

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Ian Desmond Lifts Rockies Past Nationals; Aaron Judge Homers, Yankees Wrap Up Wild Card

Players of the Day for Friday, September 28, 2018

Aaron Judge
American League

The suspense is over.

The New York Yankees - by virtue of their 11-6 win at Boston and Oakland's 8-5 loss to the Angels - will host the al wild card game on Wednesday, October 3.

Tearing through the Boston pitching staff with 13 hits, every Yankee player had at least one hit, including Aaron Judge, recently returned from the disabled list, who went 2-for-4, including his first home run since July 21.

Judge finished off the scoring for the Yankees with a booming solo homer to Fenway Park's center field. He had been sidelined with a fractured wrist since July 24, coming off the DL on September 14. Earlier, the Yankee right fielder had walked and singled, scoring in both the third and fourth innings as the Yankees piled on the runs. They led 8-0 before Boston struck for four runs in the sixth on Steve Pearce's grand slam.

Miguel Andujar stroked his 44th double in the fourth inning, tying Joe DiMaggio for the most doubles by a rookie in Yankee history. DiMaggio hit his 44 in 1936.

Now that the wild card locale has been decided, all positions in the AL are set in stone. Boston, Houston and Cleveland are division champions, with the Yankees and A's set to duel in the single-elimination game next week. The winner of the wild card game would open the division series in Boston while the Indians would will travel to Houston. Both series would begin on Friday, the 5th of October.

National League

Ian Desmond
Getting hot at the most opportune time has taken the Colorado Rockies from playoff wannabes to a possible game away from claiming the National League West division crown. Winners of eight straight, the Rockies rocketed past the Cardinals in the wild card and beyond the Dodgers into first place in the division in just over a week.

Friday's 5-2 win over the visiting Nationals was testimony to their timely play and grit under pressure.

Starting pitcher, Kyle Freeland, worked out of jam after jam in his six innings of work, allowing just two runs on 11 hits and one walk. Freeland, 17-7, worked himself into and out of bases-loaded situations in the second and third innings without surrendering a run, but Trea Turner's two-out triple in the fourth plated a pair of runs for the Nationals. Freeland gave up a single in the fifth and a double in the sixth, leaving the game with a 4-2 lead thanks to a Charlie Blackmon solo homer in the third, Ian Desmond's two-run fifth inning blast, followed directly by Chris Iannetta's solo homer.

In the bottom of the sixth, Dan Dahl stroked a solo homer to complete the scoring. It was the fifth consecutive game in which Dahl has gone yard, With his solo shot in the sixth, joining Dante Bichette (1995), Larry Walker (1999) and Arenado (2015) as Rockies' players to accomplish the unique five-in-five feat.

Desmond, who played for Washington from 2009 through 2015, came back to bite his former team, his homer turning a 2-1 deficit into a 3-2 Colorado lead that the Rockies would never relinquish. Desmond's homer was his 22nd of the season, to go with 88 RBI and 20 stolen bases.

With the Dodgers winning, 3-1, at San Francisco, the Rockies maintained their one game lead in the division. St. Louis lost their fourth straight, dropping an 8-4 decision at the Chicago Cubs, leaving the Cardinals with almost no hope of post-season play. The Cubs remain a game behind Milwaukee in the Central, as the Brewers knocked off Detroit, 6-5.

Colorado can clinch at least a tie for the division title with a win or an LA loss on Saturday. Any combination of Colorado wins and Dodger losses equalling two would clinch the division outright. The regular season ends Sunday with all games starting between 3:05 and 3:20 pm EDT.

Friday, September 28, 2018

Yankees Closer To Hosting Wild Card As Giancarlo Stanton Belts Two HRs; Cubs' Jon Lester Blanks Pirates Over Six

Players of the Day for Thursday, September 27, 2018

American League
Stanton smacks a pair of HRs

The New York Yankees took another step closer to hosting the single-elimination wild card game against the Oakland Athletics with a 12-1 rout of Tampa Bay, taking three of four at Tropicana Field from the Rays.

Giancarlo Stanton could not be kept off the base paths. The Yankee outfielder, acquired in the off-season from Miami, walked twice and scored three times, twice on solo homers, his 36th and 37th of the season.

Stanton, who's numbers haven't been quite up to his usual eye-popping figures, is still having a very solid season, batting .262 with 97 RBI. Last season, Stanton had 59 homers and 132 RBI with the Marlins.

The win left the Yankees two games up on the idle A's, with three left to play. The Yankees need any combination of two wins or two A's losses to wrap up the top wild card spot. That may be hard to come by, as the Yankees open a season-ending three-game series at Boston, while the A's wrap things up with three games in LA with the Angels.

National League

Lester: 6 scoreless
The Cubs got a big effort at an opportune time from starter Jon Lester, who blanked the Pirates for six innings in the finale of their four-game series, leading to a 3-0 Chicago win at wrigley Field.

After the Pirates took the first two games of the series, the red-hot Brewers began breathing down Chicago's neck, closing to within a half game of the division leaders. Taking the third and fourth game of the series, the Cubs improved their lead to one game over the Brewers, who were idle on Thursday.

Lester improved to 18-6 on the year, pitching in and out of trouble most of his six innings. Lester walked four, struck out three, but allowed only three hits. Pittsburgh threatened, with runners on base in each of the first four innings, but failed to get anybody across home plate. Lester finished up by putting the side down in order in the fifth and sixth.

Starting Friday, the Cubs host the Cardinals for three games to end the season. St. Louis trails the Dodgers by one game for the second wild card spot. Milwaukee has already clinched the top wild card spot and will host the single game unless they get some help from St. Louis and nip the Cubs for the division title.

The same condition exists in the West, where the Dodgers trail the Rockies by one game. All teams have three games left. The Rockies host the Nationals, the Dodgers are at San Francisco, while the Brewers host the Detroit Tigers to close out the regular season.

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Trevor Story Leads Rockies To 1st Place In West; Rafael Devers Drives In 6 In Boston's 19-3 Rout Of Baltimore

Players of the Day for Wednesday, September 26, 2018

American League

The Orioles managed to win the second game of their doubleheader at Boston, 10-3, but it came after they dropped the day game, 19-3.
Devers: 4-5, 2B, 2HR, 6RBI

In the opener, the Red Sox hammered out 22 hits against five Baltimore hurlers. Rafael Devers had himself an active afternoon, going 4-for-5 with a single, double, two home runs, and six RBI.

Devers got the Red Sox rolling with a bases-full double that plated three in the first inning. After singling home Ian Kinsler in the fifth inning, Devers hit solo homers in the seventh and eighth, his 20th and 21st of the season. The win was Boston's 107th, extending their franchise record for wins in a season. Baltimore lost its 112th game.

Elsewhere, the Yankees fell sloppily at Tampa Bay, 8-7, while the A's walloped Seattle, 9-3, cutting the Yankees' wild card lead to 1 1/2 games. Both Oakland and New York will be wild cards, all that needs to be determined is where the game will be played.

The Yankees play a final game at Tampa Bay before heading up to Boston to close out the regular season with a three-game series. Oakland has Thursday off and finishes out the season at LA, playing the Angels three times over the weekend.

National League

Story: 3-4, 3R, HR, 3RBI
Colorado won their sixth straight game, dropping a 14-0 rip on the visiting Phillies taking their third straight over the East division represenative. During the winning streak the Rockies moved from wild card hopeful to division leader, as the Dodgers, losers of two straight, gave up first place in the NL West with a 7-2 loss at Arizona and the Cardinals lost three straight to the Brewers. The Rockies took a half game lead over LA in the West division.

Knocking out 16 hits, the Rockies got a big effort from Trevor Story, who tripled and scored Colorado's first run on a second inning Carlos Gonzalez sacrifice fly, socked a two-run homer in the fifth, and singled and scored in the seventh.

Having an MVP-like season, Story is batting .290 with 34 home runs and 104 RBI. His numbers place him in a tie for second in homers (Matt Carpenter leads with 36), and in a tie for fourth with Milwaukee's Christian Yelich in the RBI tally. Javier Baez leads the league, driving in 111 runs.

In the Central division, the Brewers completed their sweep of the Cardinals in St. Louis with a 2-1 win, dropping the Cardinals a game behind the Dodgers for the second wild card. The Cubs continued to cling to a half game lead over the Brewers, winning, 7-6, in 10 innings over Pittsburgh.

With three games remaining on their slate, the Cardinals, Brewers and Dodgers all have Thursday off, while the Rockies finish up with the Phillies and the Cubs host the Pirates. Over the final weekend, St. Louis is at Chicago, the Rockies host Washington, the Dodgers are at San Francisco, and Milwaukee hosts Detroit. All are three-game series which begin Friday and finish the regular season on Sunday.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Christian Yelich Leads Brewers Over Cards, Closes Gap On Cubs; Gary Sanchez Powers Yankees Past Rays

Players of the Day for Tuesday, September 25, 2018

American League
Sanchez: 2-for-4, HR, 4RBI

Yankees' catcher, Gary Sanchez, broke out of a mammoth slump with a three-run homer and an RBI single as the Yankees improved their chances of hosting the AL wild card game with a 9-2 victory at Tampa Bay.

Sanchez capped a seven-run third inning uprising by the Yankees with his 17th home run, then singled home Giancarlo Stanton in the fifth.

Entering the game, Sanchez was 1-for-27 over his last eight games, his average dropping to a pathetic .180.

The win moved the Yankees 2 1/2 games better than the A's in the wild card race. Oakland lost, 10-8, in 11 innings at Seattle on Chris Herrmann's two-run, walk-off homer.

The Yankees have five games left to play, Oakland, four. New York needs any combination of two wins or two Oakland losses to wrap up the top wild card and home field for the single elimination playoff game.

The Yankees - winners of four of their last five - play game three of their four-game set at Tampa Wednesday at 7:10 pm. Oakland wraps up its series in Seattle on Wednesday.

National League

Yelich: 3B, HR, 6 RBI
With the regular season expiring on Sunday, there were some big changes in National League division and wild card races, most of them centered on Milwaukee's 12-4 thrashing of the Cardinals in St. Louis.

Christian Yelich - in search of his first batting title - banged out two big hits for the Brewers and drove in a career-high six runs. In the fourth inning, Yellich's bases-loaded triple blew open the game, putting the Brewers up by a 6-0 score. The Brewers added one in the fifth and two in the eight before Yelich struck again in the ninth, this time clearing the wall in center field with his 33rd home run, a three-run shot, putting him among the leaders with 33 homers and 104 RBI.

The way Yelich has been going in September, the batting title may not be all he's going to get. A trip to the playoffs is a virtual lock and an MVP award could be in his bright future. Yelich leads the league in batting with a .321 average, his 33 homers are three behind leader Matt Carpenter, with a logjam of players in the mix. Four have 34 homers, and five - including Yelich - have 33. His 104 RBI is good for fourth, behind Chicago's Javier Baez's 110. Jesus Aguilar and Nolan Arenado each have 105.

The September numbers for Yelich are off the charts. He's batting .346 (28-for-81) with seven homers and a whopping 28 RBI.

Milwaukee (91-67) now leads Colorado by 3 1/2 games for the top wild card. St. Louis (87-71) dropped a half-game behind Colorado for the second NL wild card after the Rockies routed Philadelphia 10-3. Better yet for the Brewers was Pittsburgh's 6-0 win at Chicago. Chris Archer blanked the Cubs for six innings and a pair of relievers finished them off. That left the Brewers 1/2 game behind the Cubs in the division race with four games to play. The Cubs (91-66) have five games remaining.

After taking the first two in St. Louis, Milwaukee will be looking for the series sweep when they take the field in St. Louis, Wednesday, 7:00 pm EDT.

In the West, Colorado is now in the second wild card spot, 1/2 game ahead of the Cardinals, but also trail the Dodgers by a mere 1/2-game in the division race. LA dropped a 4-3 decision at Arizona.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Corey Kluber Notches 20th Win As Indians Down White Sox; Jon Gray Hurls Rockies To Victory

Players of the Day for Monday, September 24, 2018

Kluber: 20-7, 2.83 ERA
American League

Corey Kluber became the second 20-game winner in the majors, hurling seven scoreless innings at the Chicago White Sox in a 4-0 Cleveland road win. Tampa Bay's Blake Snell leads all starters with 21 wins.

Just in time for the post-season, Kluber displayed his winning form, allowing four hits while fanning 11 and walking one.

Cleveland's win didn't change anything concerning the playoffs, as they are locked in with the lowest win percentage of any division winner. Thus, they will likely face the #2 seed in the playoffs, at this juncture, looking like Houston.

The Astros won, 5-3, at Toronto, maintaining their 4 1/2 game lead over the A's in the West division. Oakland topped Seattle, 7-3, while the Yankees beat Tampa Bay, 4-1, so there was no change in any of the standings. The Yankees continue to lead Oakland by 1 1/2 in the wild card race. Houston needs just two more wins or Oakland losses to wrap up the division.

National League

Gray: Seven solid
While Colorado hitters were piling on the runs - five in the third inning and three more in the fourth - Jon Gray was keeping the Phillies off the basepaths and off the scoreboard.

Gray turned in one of his best performances of the season, allowing one run on four hits over seven complete innings. Improving to 12-8, Gray struck out seven, walked three, and was done after throwing 105 pitches. His work and the Rockies' onslaught at the plate produced a 10-1 victory in the first of three against the visiting Phillies.

In his fourth year in the majors - all with the Rockies - Gray has compiled a record of 32-24 and may be looking forward to some post-season play as the Rockies picked up a game on St. Louis in the wild card chase. They now trail St. Louis by 1/2-game for the second spot as the Cards dropped a 6-4 decision to the Brewers.

Colorado also trails the Dodgers by 1 1/2 in the West division. Los Angeles has five games left, matching their magic number, while the Rockies have six games remaining on the schedule.

The Rockies play game two of their series with the Phillies at 8:40 pm on Tuesday. Colorado has won four straight; the Phillies are losers of five in a row.

Monday, September 24, 2018

Miles Mikolas Fans 8 In Cardinals' Win; Tim Beckham Homers Twice, Orioles Dump Yankees

Players of the Day for Sunday, September 23, 2018

American League

Beckham: 2 HR, 3 RBI
Tim Beckham, power hitter. Who knew?

After the Yankees scored three first-inning runs, the Orioles looked to be on their way to their 111th loss of the season, but as Mike Wright Jr. and four Baltimore relievers held the Yankees scoreless for the final eight innings, Beckham got the O's even with a solo shot in the second inning and a two-run dinger in the sixth.

After Renato Nunez put the Orioles ahead with a solo homer of his own in the sixth, D.J. Stewart, who entered the game as a pinch-hitter, delivered the final two runs with a sixth-inning sac fly and an eighth-inning RBI single for the 6-3 win.

While the game didn't mean much to the Orioles, it could have been big for New York, which remains locked into a wild card struggle with the Oakland A's, leading by 1 1/2 games. The A's dropped a 5-1 decision to the Twins on Sunday, so the Yankees could have expanded their lead, but didn't.

The Yankees and A's are certain to play in the single-elimination wild card game. All that remains to be determined is where the game will be played. New York found out that shortstop Didi Gregorious will not be available for that game, suffering torn cartilage in his right wrist when he scored the winning run in Saturday's 3-2, 11-inning win.

The Yankees head to Tampa Monday for a four game series with the Rays and close out the season this coming weekend at Boston, where they will play three with the Red Sox. The A's also finish on the road, with three at Seattle and three in LA with the Angels.

The wild card game is Wednesday, October 3.

Mikolas: 17-4, 2.94 ERA
National League

With the Cardinals clinging to a slim, 1 1/2-game edge over Colorado for the final wild card spot, Miles Mikolas has come through down the stretch to keep St. Louis' playoff hopes alive and well.

Mikolas won his fourth straight September start, holding the visiting Giants to two hits and one earned run over seven innings as his teammates wrecked Giants' pitching for a 9-2 victory. Mikolas contributed a fourth-inning RBI single to further his the cause.

Mikolas (17-4) fanned eight and didn't walk any batters, throwing 72 of 96 pitches for strikes. His 17 wins are tied for the NL lead with Jon Lester and Max Scherzer and his quality numbers - 140 strikeouts, 29 walks, a 2.88 ERA and 1.09 WHIP - make him a potential choice for the Cy Young award.

More importantly, the win was the sixth in their last seven for the Cardinals, keeping their margin over the Rockies at 1 1/2-games. Colorado scored a 2-0 win over Arizona Sunday.

The Cardinals will have to earn their way into the playoffs if they intend to make it. They close out the season this week with three home games against the Brewers, current holders of the top wild card, followed by three games at the NL Central-leading Chicago Cubs, who hold a 2 1/2-game edge on Milwaukee. The Cubs are 2 1/2 up on Milwaukee, 4 1/2 over the Cards.

St. Louis opens their series with the Brewers on Monday.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Braves Clinch NL East On Mike Foltynewicz Gem; Jose Altuve's HR Caps 9-Run Inning For Astros

Players of the Day for Saturday, September 22, 2018

American League
Altuve's HR caps rally

Houston topped the Angels for the second straight time, pounding out a 10-5 win after whipping LA 11-3 on Friday.

Three time batting champion and 2017 AL MVP, Jose Altuve, socked his 13th home run and singled twice in four at-bats, to lead the Astros in their pursuit of another AL West pennant.

Altuve's 8th inning home run came as part of a nine-run inning, which turned a 5-1 Angel lead into a 10-5 Houston advantage. Altuve's blast provided the final two runs.

The win kept Houston's lead over the A's at 3 1/2 games as Oakland topped Minnesota, 3-2. Houston has eight games left in the regular season, Oakland, seven, so the magic number for the Astros to clinch their second straight division crown is five.

Houston closes out the weekend with game three against the Angels. If they are to capture he division flag, Houston will need to do it on the road. They travel first to Toronto next week for three games, followed by a final four-game series in Baltimore.

National League

Foltynewicz hurls clincher
Atlanta's Mike Foltynewicz hurled a no-hitter through six innings en route to the Braves' 5-3 win over the visiting Phillies and the NL East pennant.

The Braves backed their starter by building a 4-0 lead heading into the seventh when the Phillies finally broke through. Odubel Herrera led off with a single, but he was erased on a fielder's choice and Atlanta converted a double play to end the inning. In the eighth, however, Foltynewicz ran out of gas, surrendering a second hit and a walk - his third - before being lifted. Jesse Biddle walked Jose Bautista to load the bases, and Cesar Hernandez came through with a single, plating two runs. Rhys singled in another run, cutting the Braves' lead down to 4-3.

After Kurt Suzuki drove in Ender Inciarte for a 5-3 lead in the bottom of the eighth, Arodys Vizcainoclosed out the game with a hitless ninth, prompting an on-field celebration in Atlanta followed by the requisite locker room mayhem.

Foltynewicz was tagged with two earned runs, but still took the win, the 12th for Foltynewicz, against 10 lesses, though the record doesn't aptly indicate the 26-year-old's importance to Atlanta's rise to division winner this season nor his emergence as a top line starter. His 2.88 ERA is fourth in the NL; he's struck out 193, walking 68 in 30 starts comprising 178 innings. He's recorded two complete games this season, one a shutout.

The division crown in hand, Atlanta's ongoing task is to keep winning, in hopes of catching the Cubs for the best record in the league, which would ensure home field through the playoffs. Chicago leads the Central at 90-64. Atlanta is at 87-68, and the Dodgers top the West with a record of 86-69.

Winners of four straight, the Braves wrap up their series against the Phillies on Sunday, looking for the sweep. They close out the season next week with three games in New York with the Mets and three at Philadelphia.

Saturday, September 22, 2018

A's Khris Davis Bangs Two Homers, Walks Off Twins In 10; Yuli Gurriel Pounds 7 RBI For Houston; Matt Adams Delivers For Cardinals

Players of the Day for Friday, September 21, 2018

Davis: 45 HR leads majors
American League

Relentless in their pursuit of both the Yankees in the wild card and the Astros in the West division, the Oakland A's have won 12 of 18 September games, the latest triumph a 7-6, 10th-inning victory over Minnesota in the opener of a three-game series at the Oakland Coliseum.

Leading off the 10th, Khris Davis cracked his league-leading 45th home run to end the game in the bottom frame. Hours earlier, Davis launched his 44th, a two-run shot in the first with Jed Lowrie aboard.

Davis has 119 RBI on the year and is closing the gap on Boston's J.D. Martinez, who leads the majors with 124. Martinez trails Davis in the HR department, with 41.

Gurriel: 2 HR, 7 RBI
The win kept Oakland on pace with the Yankees in the wild card hunt. New York holds a 1 1/2-game edge after slipping by the Orioles, 10-8, Friday night. Oakland also kept pace in the division, as the Astros got a pair of home runs and seven RBI from Yuli Gurriel in their 11-3 stomping of the Angels.

Gurriel got Houston started with a first-inning grand slam, followed by a two-run belt in the third. In the fifth, he singled home another run, which put the Astros up, 7-0, all of the runs delivered by the Houston first baseman.

On the season, Gurriel has 12 homers, 83 RBI and a .283 batting average.

The A's host Minnesota Saturday night in game two of their three-game series. Game time is set for 9:05 pm EDT.

National League

With Matt Carpenter a regular at first base, Matt Adams doesn't get much playing time for St. Louis since being acquired from the Nationals earlier this season, but he was ready when called upon in the Cardinals' 5-3 victory over the visiting Giants.

Adams: clutch double
Pinch-hitting for reliever John Brebbia in the eighth inning with the scored tied 3-all, Adams lashed a two-out double down the left field line, plating Harrison Bader from second and Yairo Munoz all the way around from first with the go-ahead runs.

Carlos Martinez gave up a hit in the Giants' ninth but struck out two, earning his fourth save. Martinez has only recently become the Cards' closer, after a recent spate of blown save opportunities by Bud Norris.

Adams has had just nine hits in 54 at-bats (.167) since joining St. Louis, but his clutch double kept the Cardinals 1 1/2 games ahead of Colorado in the race for the second wild card. The Rockies were 6-2 winners at Arizona. St. Louis trails Milwaukee - holder of the top wild card - by three games. The teams have either eight or nine games left in the regular season and the division races are far from being decided. The Dodgers lead Colorado by 1 1/2 in the West and the Cubs hold the same margin over the Brewers in the Central.

Winners of four of their last five, the Cardinals host the Giants in game two of their their three-game series Saturday at 1:05 pm EDT.

Friday, September 21, 2018

Scooter Gennet Stays Hot, Leads Reds Past Miami; Mookie Betts Powers Red Sox To AL East Crown

Players of the Day for Thursday, September 20, 2018

American League
Betts: 4-for-5, HR, 5 RBI

Clinching the AL East at the home of their long-standing rival, the Boston Red Sox took charge late in the concluding game of their series in New York, topping the Yankees, 11-6.

Mookie Betts was at his very best after the Red Sox dropped the first two games of the series. Betts, who leads the AL in batting with a .339 average. Teammate J.D. Martinez is second at .331. The two are the leading candidates for AL MVP.

The Red Sox leadoff hitter singled, doubled twice and concluded a 4-for-5 effort by rapping his 30th home run with two aboard off Yankee reliever Aroldis Chapman in the seventh inning. Betts scored three times and drove in five runs.

With the best record in the majors (104-49), the Red Sox are assured of home field advantage throughout their playoff run. The 104 wins ties the franchise record, but Boston still has nine games left to play. It's the third straight division title for Boston, which has held onto first place in the division since July 2.

For the Yankees, the loss hurt. They're clinging to a 1 1/2-game lead over the Oakland A's in the wild card after the A's banged out 22 hits in a 21-3 win over the Angles (no, that's not a football score).

In a potential league championship preview, Boston heads to Cleveland Friday for a three-game series. The Yankees host Baltimore and Oakland welcomes in the Twins. Houston, with a 3 1/2 game lead over the A's in the West, is home for a three-game series with the Angels.

National League

Gennett: 2-for-3, HR, 4RBI
There was limited action in the National League on Thursday, the only impactful game being Atlanta's 8-3 victory at Philadelphia and the Mets' 5-4, 12-inning triumph over Washington.

Those results left the Braves with a seemingly unassailable 6 1/2-game lead in the NL East over the Phillies, with the Nationals nearly eliminated, eight games out with just nine to play. The magic number for the Braves to clinch the division is four. Theirs is the largest lead in the National League.

In Miami, Scooter Gennett did his part to keep heat on Milwaukee's Christian Yelich as the two vie for the batting title. Gennett drove in all four runs in the Reds' 4-2 victory with a double and home run in three at-bats.

The Cincy second baseman drove in a pair of runs in the second with his double to left field and knocked in two more in the seventh inning with his 23rd home run. Like Yelich, Gennett is much more than a high-average singles hitter. His 92 RBI is among the league's leaders. He's tied at #10 with Atlanta's Freddie Freeman and Philadelphia's Rhys Hoskins. Yelich has 93.

Gennett trails Yelich by the barest of margins. He's at .318, Yelich has a .319 average.

All 15 NL teams will be in action Friday through Sunday with pennant races in each division and wild cards still up for grabs.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Luke Voit Paces Yankees Over Red Sox; Jesus Aguilar Homers, Drives In 4 As Brewers Triumph

Players of the Day for Wednesday, September 19, 2018

American League

Voit: 4-for-4, 2HR, 3RBI
Their magic number at one, the Boston Red Sox would like to wrap up and claim the AL East title. The Yankees continue to play the denier.

With their second straight win over the Sox, the Yankees kept the Red Sox from celebrating at hallowed Yankee Stadium, taking down Boston, 10-1, as Luke Voit launched a pair of homers to lead New York.

Voit's dingers both came off Boston starter David Price, who was chased after allowing four earned runs in 5 1/3 innings. Luis Severino picked up the win, improving to 18-8. Voit also singled twice, scored four runs ad drove in three.

Having scant hope of catching the Red Sox in the division - they Yanks still trail Boston by 9 1/2 games - the Yankees continue to win and hold onto the top wild card spot, ensuring that the single-elimination game will be played on their home turf. Oakland continued the chase in earnest, topping the Angels, 10-0. The A's are 2 1/2 behind the Yankees.

The Yankees and Red Sox wrap up their series on Thursday. Game time is 7:05 pm EDT.

National League

Aguilar: HR, 4 RBI
With the Cubs losing, 9-0, at Arizona, the Milwaukee Brewers pulled to within 2 1/2 games of the NL Central leaders with a 7-0 blanking of the Reds.

Jesus Aguilar continued his torrid pace with his 33rd home run and four RBI. Aguilar reached on an infield single in the first inning, plating Christian Yelich, then belted a three-run homer in the fourth as Milwaukee pulled away. Gio Gonzalez tossed six innings of shutout ball, earning his eighth win against 11 losses.

Aguilar is tied for fourth in home runs league-wide and is second in RBI, at 103, trailing the Cubs' Javier Baez, who leads with 107.

The Brewers also improved their wild card chances, opening a three-game lead on the Cardinals, 7-3 losers at Atlanta.

While the Brewers won't play the Cubs again, they will face the Cardinals next week in St. Louis. Milwaukee heads off to Pittsburgh for a three-game series beginning Friday, then takes three in St. Louis Monday through Wednesday. They close out their season at home, hosting three games with Detroit.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Marwin Gonzalez Leads Astros Closer To NL West Title; Paul DeJong Lifts Cardinals Over Atlanta

Players of the Day for Tuesday, September 18, 2018
Marwin Gonzalez

American League

Houston took another step toward capturing the AL West flag for a second straight season with a 7-0 wipeout of Seattle Tuesday night.

Marwin Gonzalez belted his 16th home run of the season, upping Houston's lead to 4-0 in the third inning with the two-run blast. In the eighth, Gonzalez walked and scored the last of the Astro runs. He also singled in the second but was left stranded.

The win left Houston with a five-game lead in the division, as Oakland lost their third straight, losing 9-7 to the Angels. The magic number for the Astros to clinch is seven. They host the Mariners on Wednesday prior to a three-game series with the Angels. If they do capture the flag, Houston will do it on the road. They close out the season with three games at Toronto and four at - ironically - Baltimore, which has the worst record in the majors, 43-108.

Elsewhere, the Yankees prevented the Red Sox from clinching the AL East with a 3-2 win at Boston. The Red Sox need one win or one Yankee loss to wrap up the division. At 103-48, the Red Sox have the best record in the majors and a 10 1/2 game lead over New York in the division. New York looks forward to hosting the single-elimination wild card game against Oakland. They have a 2 1/2 game lead over the A's in the wild card race.

Paul DeJong
National League

With the playoff race in the National League about as tight as it could get, results from Tuesday's games provided a little breathing room for St. Louis as the Cardinals exacted an 8-1 triumph at Atlanta.

The win was the second straight for the Cardinals over the Braves, led by Paul Dejong's 2-for-5 night at the plate.

DeJong socked a two-run homer in the fourth, putting the Cardinals up by a 2-1 score, and added to the St. Louis lead by singling and scoring in the eighth, as the Cardinals tacked on four runs.

The home run by DeJong was his 19th, the three RBI increased his seasonal total to 62.

While the Cardinals gained in the wild card race, they did not pick up any ground on the Cubs, who hammered Arizona, 9-1, virtually eliminating the Diamondbacks from contention. With Milwaukee's 3-1 loss to the Reds, the Cubs lead the NL Central by 3 1/2 games over Milwaukee and 5 1/2 over St. Louis.

In the West, the Dodgers dropped Colorado, 3-2, in 10 innings, opening up a 1 1/2-game lead in the division. The second place Rockies slipped 1 1/2 behind the Cardinals for the second wild card spot. Milwaukee continues to hold the first position by two games over St. Louis.

Atlanta saw its lead in the East narrowed to 5 1/2 games as the Phillies topped the Mets, 5-2. Even the Nationals were given hope, 6 1/2 back after defeating Miami, 4-2.

The Cardinals will be looking for the sweep when they take the field in Atlanta Wednesday. Game time is 12:10 pm EDT. The Braves have lost four straight.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Christian Yelich Hits For Cycle Again Vs. Reds; Daniel Vogelbach's Pinch-Hit Grand Slam Carries Mariners Past Astros

Players of the Day for Monday, September 17, 2018

American League

Vogelbach slams Astros
At 6'0", 250 pounds, 25-year-old Daniel Vogelbach can put a charge into a baseball.

On Monday, the rookie first baseman unleashed a shot that sent Houston fans home unhappy, launching an eighth-inning grand slam that eviscerated the Astros' 1-0 lead and kept Seattle's slim post-season hopes alive with a 4-1 victory at Houston.

Vogelbach, a call-up a various points this season, socked his second homer in as many nights. On Sunday, he crushed a two-run shot in Seattle's loss to the Angels. On the year, he has four home runs and 13 RBI in 72 at-bats. In 84 games with triple-A Tacoma this season, Vogelbach mashed 20 homers with 60 RBI.

The rookie's rocket shot - a lifting liner to right-center - probably won't matter in the wild card race. The Mariners fell apart in late August and early September when they lost 12 of 19 games. They trail the Athletics by seven games for the second wild card but have only 12 games remaining. The A's were idle Monday.

Seattle continues its three-game series with the Astros on Tuesday. Game time is 8:10 pm EDT.

National League
Yelich: 2nd cycle of season

Every baseball season has its own special moments. In the ongoing series between the Reds and Brewers, fans have the opportunity to see the batting title disputed in real time as the two leading hitters, Cincinnati's Scooter Gennett and Milwaukee's Christian Yelich, ply their trades in each at bat.

In Monday's 8-0 Milwaukee whitewash, the drama was palpable. While the Brewers ran up the score, Yelich thrived at the plate while Gennett saw his lead whittled away as the night progressed.

While Gennett finished the game 1-for-3, Yellich had a monumental night at the plate, going 4-for-4, hitting for the cycle, driving in four runs. Yelich, who has been in the hunt for the batting title since the all star break, singled in the first inning, doubled in the third, socked a two-run homer in the fifth, and capped off his night with a two-run triple in the sixth.

Having already completed the cycle and the game in hand, Hernan Perez pinch-hit for Yelich in the eighth.

Yelich's cycle was the second time he's done it in three weeks, both times against the Reds. He went 6-for-6 in a 13-12 comeback victory on Aug. 29 at Cincinnati, making him the fifth player to turn the trick twice in one season -- and first in Brewers history. He's also the only player in major league history to hit for the cycle twice in one season against the same team.

Yellich still has his work cut out for him as concerns the batting title. Gennett still leads, but by the narrowest of margins. His average is .318182 (175-for-550), compared to Yelich's .317757 (170-for-535).

After finishing July with a 15-game hitting streak, Yellich has carried a big bat through August and into September, batting .307 in August and .321 so far this month. On the season, he has 31 homers and 93 RBI, making him a prime candidate for MVP honors.

Milwaukee's win kept them firmly in the cat bird's seat, 2 1/2 games behind the Cubs in the NL Central, but also leading the wild card by three games over the Cardinals and 3 1/2 over the Rockies. The series with the Reds continues Tuesday and Wednesday in Milwaukee with the post-season and the batting title on the line.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Cardinals Get Big Effort From Adam Wainwright; Randal Grichuck Rallies Blue Jays Past Yankees

Players of the Day for Sunday, September 16, 2018

Grichuck: game-winning 2B
American League

Randal Grichuck doubled home Kevin Pillar in the eighth inning, giving the Blue Jays the lead in a 3-2 win over the Yankees Sunday in New York.

The Yankees, who had scored two runs in the first inning on an Andrew McCutchen homer and a sac fly by Didi Gregorious, failed to score the remainder of the game, despite numerous opportunities. Blue Jay pitching was just good enough to hold them off.

Thomas Pannone, who earning the win, worked seven innings, allowing just two hits and one walk after the shaky first frame.

While Toronto has been eliminated long ago from post-season opportunity, the Yankees are trying to hold onto the first wild card, but have been unsteady of late, losing four of five as the Oakland A's bear down on them.

The A's dropped a 5-4 decision at Tampa Bay Sunday, leaving them 1 1/2 back of New York, at the second wild card.

The Yankees will have to do better if they seek to play the single elimination game at home. They open a three-game series with Boston on Tuesday and then have three against the Orioles. Their final seven games are on the road, with four at Tampa Bay and three at Boston. Oakland may have an easier route. On Tuesday they start a three-game home series with the Angels and then host the Twins for three. They close out the regular season with three at Seattle and three in LA against the Angels.

Oakland is seven games clear of the Rays, so it's likely that the Yankees and Athletics will vie for the two wild card spots. The A's trail Houston by 4 1/2 in the AL West.

National League
Wainwright: 6IP, 0ER, 9K

As the final two weeks of the regular season commence, St. Louis starter, Adam Wainwright, may have come off the disabled list and rediscovered his good stuff just in time for the stretch run.

After dropping three straight at home to the Dodgers, Wainwright tossed six innings of shutout ball, leading the Cardinals to a 5-0 win over Los Angeles Sunday night.

Wainwright, on the shelf since mid-May with inflammation in his throwing elbow, returned from the DL Septmerber 10, but his first start was not encouraging, as he allowed four runs on seven hits over five innings in a loss to the Pirates.

On Sunday, Wainwright, 37, appeared to have found his best stride, fanning nine Dodgers over six innings while limiting them to just two hits. While he walked three, he gave the Cardinals enough solid innings to establish a 3-0 lead, allowing the bullpen to match up and shut down LA the rest of the way.

The win left the Dodgers and Cardinals in a dead heat for the second wild card slot. With the Rockies winning, 3-2, at San Francisco, the Dodgers stand 1/2 game behind in the NL West. St. Louis still has a shot at the NL Central flag, but they're 5 1/2 behind the Cubs, with Milwaukee, current holder of the top wild card position, trailing Chicago by just 2 1/2.

St Louis has a hard path to the playoffs. On Monday, they open a three-game series at Atlanta. The Braves are cruising to the NL East pennant, leading the Phillies by 6 1/2 games. The Cardinals return home after that, with a pair of three-game series against the Giants and Brewers, followed by three at Chicago to close out the season.

Los Angeles has an easier schedule, starting with three-game series at home against the Rockies and then San Diego. They finish on the road, playing three at Arizona and three at San Francisco.

Only one of the two can take a wild card spot unless Milwaukee stumbles badly in the final two weeks.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Yasiel Puig's 3 HR Put Dodgers Back In First Place; Yonder Alonso, Jose Ramirez Power Indians To Clinch AL Central

Players of the Day for Saturday, September 15, 2018

Jose Ramirez
American League

The Cleveland Indians clinched the AL Central division outright, doing it in style with a 15-0 blowout of the visiting Detroit Tigers.

Jose Ramirez and Yonder Alonso each had three hits, three scores and two RBI in the rout.

Yonder Alonso
Ramirez, singled, doubled and tripled in four at-bats. Alonso got to the place officially six times, delivering a pair of singles and his 23rd home run of the year.

Mike Clevinger was outstanding on the Cleveland mound, allowing one hit over six innings.

Cleveland is the first team in the majors to clinch a division title and they did it with 14 games left in the regular season.

The Tigers and Indians tangle again in Cleveland, Sunday, 1:10 pm EDT.

National League

Puig: 3 HR, 7 RBI
There was some outstanding work at the plate by the Dodgers in LA's 17-4 hammering of the Cardinals in St. Louis Saturday.

Max Muncy drove in four runs, Cody Bellinger had three hits, one of them a home run, and drove in six, but Yasiel Puig did them all better, smashing three homers and driving in seven runs.

Puig, who was sidelined to open the season and again in mid-July with minor injuries, began his assault on the St. Louis bleachers with a bases empty, 423 bomb to center in the fourth inning, then cracked a three-run homer to left in the fifth, followed by another three-run blast in the eighth.

Puig hit two dingers in the Dodgers' win over St. Louis Monday and is hitting a cool .407 for the month of September. He has 21 homers and 58 RBI on the season.

The third straight win at St. Louis pushed the Dodgers into first place in the NL West, as Colorado dropped its second straight at San Francisco, 3-0. The result also put the Rockies back into the wild card race, now 1/2-game to the good over St. Louis for the second spot.

LA will be looking for a four-game sweep of the Cardinals when the teams hit the field on Sunday, 8:00 pm as the featured game on ESPN's Sunday Night Baseball.

Walker Buehler Blanks Cards In 3-0 Dodger Win; Khris Davis Socks 42nd HR As Oakland Tops Tampa

Players of the Day for Friday, September 14, 2018

Davis: 42 HRs Leads AL
American League

Khris Davis knocked his 42nd home run of the season at an opportune moment for the Oakland A's.

The slugging outfielder/designated hitter put the Athletics on top of Tampa Bay by a run in the top of the 10th inning, and hurler Blake Treinen made it hold up with his second frame of hitless relief as the A's topped the Rays, 2-1, in 10 innings.

For Davis, the long ball not only won the game for Oakland, it put him back in the AL lead for homers. Davis has 42, to Boston's J.D. Martinez's 41. Davis is second in RBI, league-wide, with 111.

The A's kept pace with the Yankees in the wild card, where they trail New York by one game after the Yanks pounded Toronto, 11-0. Oakland also trails Houston by 2 1/2 in the West division.

Oakland visits the Rays again Saturday.

National League

Buehler blanks Cardinals
Walker Buehler fired a two-hit shutout over eight innings as the Dodgers blanked the Cardinals in St. Louis, 3-0, forcing a tie for the second wild card slot in the National League.

Buehler, a 24-year-old rookie, Improved his record to 7-5, pitching brilliantly in the heat of the pennant race, fanning nine, walking two. He took a perfect game into the fifth inning and struck out the side in the sixth. Buehler threw 72 of 105 pitches for strikes.

The result left the Dodgers and Cardinals in a flat-footed tie for the second wild card spot, four games behind the Milwaukee Brewers, who hold the top position. Both teams are 81-67. The Dodgers are 1/2-game behind the Rockies in the West, while the Cardinals now trail the Cubs by 5 1/2 in the Central after losing three straight.

Los Angeles will be looking for their third straight over the Cardinals when they take the field Saturday in St. Louis.

Friday, September 14, 2018

J.D. Martinez Crushes HR #41 As Boston Sweeps Blue Jays; Manny Machado Leads Dodgers Over Cardinals

Players of the Day for Thursday, September 13, 2018
Martinez: Al MVP?

American League

A day after the Red Sox became the first team in the majors to clinch a playoff spot, J.D. Martinez took another step toward a possible triple crown.

Martinez socked his 41st home run of the season in Boston's 4-3 win over the visiting Blue Jays, sweeping the three-game series. Martinez's first-inning solo blast tied him with Oakland's Khris Davis for the AL lead in homers, and upped his RBI total to 122, far and away the most in the majors (Davis is second with 109). His .330 batting average is second in the league to teammate Mookie Betts, who leads the majors with a .340 mark.

While the chances of Martinez catching Betts in batting are slight, he looks to be the logical choice for AL MVP as the Red Sox cruise toward the AL East pennant.

Boston has the best record in the majors at 101-46. They've won four straight and lead the second place Yankees by 10 1/2 games. Their magic number to clinch the division is six. Boston welcomes in the NY Mets for a weekend series beginning Friday at 7:10 pm EDT.

National League

Machado: 3-4, HR 3RBI
Just prior to the July 31 trade deadline, the Dodgers picked up Manny Machado from Baltimore, and, for the past month and a half, the 26-year-old shortstop has been providing benefits.

In the opener of a critical four-game series at St. Louis, Machado struck repeatedly, as the Dodgers banged out 16 hits in a 9-7 win over the Cardinals.

The Dodgers and Machado got off to a fast start with three runs in the first inning. Machado singled and scored on former Cardinal, David Freese's, triple. In the third, Machado doubled home Justin Turner. His sac fly in the fourth plated another run and his 34th homer of the season - 10th as a Dodger - completed LA's scoring in the seventh.

On the year, Machado is batting .302 with 92 RBI and 14 steals. In 50 games as a member of the Dodgers, Machado is batting .277 with 10 homers and 28 RBI. He was 3-for-4 with three RBI and two runs in Thursday's victory.

The win left the Dodgers 1 1/2 behind the Rockies in the NL West and a game behind St. Louis for the second wild card.

Game two of the series is Friday, 8:00 pm EDT.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Twins Top Yankees Again On Jake Ordorizzi 1-Hit Effort; D.J. LeMahieu Smashes HR As Rockies Walk Off Arizona

Players of the Day for Wednesday, September 12, 2018

American League
Odorizzi 1-hits Yankees

Jake Odorizzi took a no-hitter into the eighth inning as the Minnesota Twins took their second straight over the Yankees, 3-1. The game was the last of the season series with the Twins. The Yankees had won the first five this season, but stumbled, losing two of three in Minnesota.

After striking out Gary Sanchez to open the eighth, Odorizzi walked Luke Voit, then gave up a double to Greg Bird, which scored Voit all the way from first. Having thrown 120 pitches, Odorizzi was immediately replaced on the mound, but the Yankees could muster no more hits or runs.

Odorizzi worked 7 1/3 innings, fanned five and walked three, improving to 6-10 on the year.

With Oakland scoring all of their runs in the third inning for a 10-0 win at Baltimore, the Yankees' lead in the wild card over the A's has been cut to one game. The Yankees have Thursday off prior to opening a nine-game home stand with three each against Toronto, Boston and Baltimore. It's the final home stretch for New York of the season. They close out with four games in Tampa and three at Boston.

Winners of six straight, the A's continue their dual track in Baltimore Thursday, hoping to wrap up the three-game series with a sweep. Oakland trails the Astros in the AL West by three games.

National League
LeMahieu: Walk-off HR

In the NL West, Colorado continued to cling to a 1 1/2 game lead over the Dodgers with a dramatic, 5-4 win over Arizona Wednesday night.

Down 4-3 with one out and Gerardo Parra on base in the bottom of the ninth, D.J. LeMahieu took Arizona reliever Yoshihisa Hirano deep to right field for a walk-off, top run homer.

Finishing a 3-for-5 night with the big blast, LeMahieu had singled twice earlier and scored in the third inning on a wild pitch by Diamondback starter, Patrick Corbin. He's batting .283 with 15 home runs and 55 RBI.

The win kept the Rockies atop the division as the Dodgers won at Cincinnati, 8-1. The Rockies have taken two of three from the visiting Diamondbacks and wrap up their series Thursday afternoon. Colorado is 8-3 in September and has surged past both the Diamondbacks and Dodgers in the division.

The Dodgers open a four-game series at St. Louis Thursday.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Washington Rookie Juan Soto Rocks Phillies; Mauer, Twins Maul Yankees, 10-5

Players of the Day for Tuesday, September 11, 2018
Mauer Slams Yankees

American League

With their lead in the wild card quickly dwindling, the Yankees gave one away to the Twins, as starter Sonny Gray and three relievers allowed 13 hits, losing at Minnesota, 10-5.

Joe Mauer's fifth-inning grand slam put the Twins up by a 10-1 score and pretty much ended the contest. New York had taken the prior five games against the Twins this season. Mauer walked and scored in the third inning, tying the score at 1-1. The Twins tacked on two more runs in the frame and the Yankees never responded. Mauer finished 2-for-4 with four RBI and two runs.

Meanwhile, the Oakland A's shaved another game off New York's lead in the wild card, closing to within two games of the Yankees with a 3-2 win at Baltimore.

Since September 2nd, the Yankees are 4-5, while the Athletics went 7-1, including taking two of three from the Yanks in Oakland. They've gained 3 1/2 games in just over a week.

The Yankees play the series finale in Minnesota at 8:10 pm EDT Wednesday. The A's have game two of their three-game set in Baltimore at 7:05 pm EDT.

National League

Soto: Nat's Hot Rookie
The Washington Nationals gave up on their season a few weeks back, but maybe they should have waited just a little longer before jettisoning some of their top players and throwing in the towel.

Taking a pair at Philadelphia, the Nationals did more to ruin the Phillies' chances for reaching the post-season than perhaps any other team could have.

Tuesday's twin killing marked the fourth straight loss for Philadelphia as well as Washington's fourth straight victory. The first-place Braves have made the most of it, also winners of four straight, including Tuesday's 4-1 complete game win by Mike Foltynewicz.

After taking the first game, 3-1, Washington battled back from a 6-3 deficit with three runs in the eighth to tie the game and won it in the 10th on Juan Soto's second home run, a solo shot to left-center that produced the double-header sweep with a 7-6, 10-inning win.

Having doubled in a run in the second inning, Soto smacked his 17th of the season with a man aboard in the fourth. In the first game, Soto went 2-for-4, so his complete day was a 5-for-8 effort with two homers, a double, four RBI and three runs. Not bad for a 19-year-old rookie. He and Atlanta's Ronald Acuna Jr. are the leading NL candidates for rookie of the year. Soto's batting .306 with 18 homers and 60 RBI.

Tuesday's results left the Phillies 6 1/2 behind the Braves in the NL East, with Washington eight out. Neither Philadelphia nor Washington has much hope of catching Atlanta nor reaching the playoffs via the wild card. Philly is 6 1/2 behind the Cardinals for the second wild card, with Washington eight behind. Milwaukee holds the top wild card by two games over St. Louis.

The Phillies and Nationals wrap up their series on Wednesday, 7:00 pm EDT.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Reds, Scooter Gennett Wreck Dodgers, 10-6; Gary Sanchez Powers Yankees Past Twins

Players of the Day for Monday, September 10, 2018

American League

Sanchez: 3-for-5, HR, RBI
J.A. Happ blanked the Twins for six innings and Gary Sanchez went 3-for-5 with his second home run since returning from the DL as the Yankees moved closer to the post-season with a 7-2 win at Minnesota.

Sanchez broke a scoreless tie with his 16th home run, a solo shot in the sixth inning, then singled and scored as the Yankees piled on six runs in the seventh. The Yankee catcher doubled in the eighth, but was left stranded along with Giancarlo Stanton, who had walked before him, when Greg Bird, the only Yankee regular without a hit, struck out to end the inning.

The win kept New York three games ahead of the Oakland A's in the wild card hunt. The A's had the day off and are in control of the second position, 7 1/2 games better than Tampa Bay and Seattle.

New York also has faint hopes of catching the Red Sox in the East division. Boston was idle on Monday and leads the race by eight games.

Game two of the Yankees' series in Minnesota is Tuesday, 8:00 pm EDT.  New York is 5-0 against the Twins this season.

National League

Gennett's .320 leads NL
Taking control of the National League batting race, Scooter Gennett lashed four singles, drove in three runs and scored twice, guiding the Cincinnati Reds to a 10-6 victory over the visiting LA Dodgers.

Gennett, in a fight for what could be his first batting title, broke away from Milwaukee's Christian Yellich, who went 1-for-4 in the Brewers' 3-2 win over the Cubs. Yellich is batting .315. Gennett's four hits raised his average to .320, tops in the league.

While Gennett was beating up LA hurlers, the Dodgers watched their playoff hopes diminish slightly as the Cardinals came from behind to defeat the Pirates, 8-7, putting them two games up on the Dodgers in the second spot of the wild card race. Colorado thumped Arizona, 13-2, extending its NL West lead to 1 1/2 games over LA. Third place Arizona is 3 1/2 off the pace.

Monday's contest was the first of a three-game series in Cincinnati. Game two is Tuesday at 6:40 pm EDT. The Dodgers have lost all five games with the Reds this season.

Monday, September 10, 2018

Mitch Moreland, J.D. Martinez Lead Red Sox Past Houston; Justin Turner 4-for-5 In Dodger win At Colorado

Players of the Day for Sunday, September 9, 2018

Moreland: Game-winner
American League

J.D. Martinez socked a three-run homer and drove in four runs and Mitch Moreland singled home the game-winner in the bottom of the ninth as Boston snapped Houston's seven-game winning streak in the finale of a three-game series between division leaders at Fenway Park Sunday night with a 6-5 win.

Martinez: 40 HR, 121 RBI
After putting the Red Sox ahead 2-1 in the third inning with a sac fly, Martinez extended the lead with his 40th home run, spiraling the shot over the Green Monster in left field in the fifth. The Astros rallied to tie the game at 5-all, but Mitch Moreland, who entered the game as a pinch-hitter in the eighth, got to the plate with two aboard and two out in the ninth and plated pinch-runner Tzu Wei Lin with a walk-off single.

The win expanded Boston's lead over the Yankees in the AL East to 8 1/2 games while thinking Houston's edge over Oakland to 2 1/2 in the West. The Yankees lost in Seattle, 3-2. Oakland powered past Texas for a 7-3 win, their fourth straight and sixth in their last seven games.

The home run by Martinez left him one behind Oakland's Khris Davis in the AL HR tally, and upped his major-league-leading RBI total to 121.

On Monday, Houston opens a series in Detroit and the Yankees play at Minnesota. Boston and Oakland have the day off.

National League

Justin Turner stroked four hits in five at-bats, drove in two runs and scored twice as the Dodgers dogged the Rockies in Denver, 9-6.
Turner: 4--for-5, 2 2B, HR

Turner, whose .314 batting average would have him in the heart of the NL batting race if he had the requisite plate appearances, socked his 14th home run and added a pair of doubles and a single as the Dodgers reached to within 1/2-game of the division-leading Rockies.

LA's win also kept them very much alive in the wild card race, one game behind St. Louis for the second spot. Milwaukee holds the top position, 2 1/2 better than the Cardinals and 3 1/2 up on the Dodgers.

Banging out 14 hits, the Dodgers took two of three over the Rockies.

The Dodgers head to Cincinnati on Monday for the opener of a three-game series. The Rockies remain home, hosting the Diamondbacks.