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Pennant Race Fever: Sept. 16

Andrew GodfreyCorrespondent ISeptember 16, 2009

LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 04:  Andre Ethier #16 of the Los Angeles Dodgers bats against the San Diego Padres at Dodger Stadium on September 4, 2009 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

Andre Ethier hit his fourth walk-off homer of the 2009 season as the Los Angeles Dodgers defeated the Pittsburgh Pirates, 5-4, in 13 innings on Tuesday. The win put the Dodgers five games ahead of the Colorado Rockies in the NL West.

The home run was Ethier's 30th of the year and he now only needs two runs batted in for his first 100 RBI season.

The San Francisco Giants won their third game in a row behind the pitching of Barry Zito (10-12) and the hitting of Juan Uribe, who drove in three runs in their 10-2 victory over the Rockies.

After scoring a total of nine runs in their previous five games, the Giants have scored 26 runs in their last three games. The win moved them to within two-and-a-half games of the Rockies for the NL Wild Card.

The Chicago Cubs closed the gap between them and the NL-leading St. Louis Cardinals by defeating the Milwaukee Brewers, 13-7. Geovany Soto hit his 11th homer and drove in three runs. Derrek Lee also knocked in three runs and now has 101 RBI this season. Lee and Ryan Theriot each drew four walks in the contest.

The win moved the Cubs to within eight-and-a-half games of the Cardinals in the NL Central.

They are also five games behind the Rockies for the Wild Card. Their problem is that the Giants, Marlins, and Braves are all ahead of them, so they'll need some help from other teams even if they keep winning.

The AL Central tightened up with the Detroit Tigers losing to the Kansas City Royals, 11-1, while the Minnesota Twins and Chicago White Sox both won. The Twins defeated the Cleveland Indians, 5-4, and the White Sox took a 6-3 win against the Seattle Mariners.

The Twins are now four-and-a-half games behind the Tigers, and the White Sox are five-and-a-half games back.

The Twins overcame a 3-1 deficit to take the win over the Indians.

The White Sox trailed the Mariners, 3-0, after three innings, but scored two runs in the top of the fourth to get back in the game. They tallied three more runs in the seventh and added another run in the eighth to complete the scoring.

Freddy Garcia (2-2) pitched his fifth straight game where he went more than six innings and allowed three or fewer runs. He is 2-0 and has a 3.00 ERA for the month of September.

A.J. Pierzynski and Mark Kotsay each drove in two runs, while Pierzynski and Alexei Ramirez both collected three hits in the contest.

The Boston Red Sox won their sixth in a row and moved to within six-and-a-half games of the New York Yankees in the AL East. They extended their AL Wild Card lead to five-and-a-half games with the Texas Rangers losing their game.

In the AL West, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim held onto their six-game lead with the Rangers' loss.

The NL East race remained the same after the Philadelphia Phillies, Florida Marlins, and Atlanta Braves all won their games. The Marlins are seven games back of the division-leading Phillies, while the Braves trail by seven-and-a-half games.

 

Diamond Notes

Roy Halladay (15-9) allowed only two runs and scattered 11 hits in six innings as the Toronto Blue Jays defeated the Yankees, 10-4.

Rookie Travis Snyder homered twice off of Sergio Mitre, who gave up four homers in the game. Both of Mitre’s September starts have been against the Blue Jays. In those two games, he has allowed 18 runs and 19 hits in nine innings.

There was an ugly brawl in the eighth inning after Jorge Posada bumped reliever Mark Carlson, who had thrown behind him earlier in the inning. I will be surprised if disciplinary action isn’t taken against players on both teams, which would hurt the Yankees a lot more than the Blue Jays since Yankees are almost certainly playoff bound.

Pat Burrell has hit all 14 of his homers against right-handed pitchers, which is unusual considering most right-handed batters hit better against left-handers.

Daisuke Matsuzaka (2-5) pitched his first game since June 19 and hurled six scoreless innings while allowing three hits in the 4-1 win over the Angels.

The Oakland A’s have won seven of their last nine games, outscoring the Rangers 15-1 in their last two contests. Rajai Davis is hitting .411 for the month of September and is setting himself up for more playing time in 2010 since he is currently hitting .314 for the season.

Jack Cust may have worn out his welcome in Oakland. His numbers continue to drop from his first season two years ago and he is a one-tool player that only hits with power.

Cust is signed to a one-year contract for $2.8 million and the A’s may decide to let him go since they will have to save money after a decline in attendance.

The Phillies acquisition of Cliff Lee was one of the best trade deadline moves this season. When he was obtained, Lee had a three-game winning streak in the AL. He then proceeded to win five more in a row with the Phillies.

After losing the next two games, Lee has come back to defeat the Washington Nationals in his last two starts for a 7-2 record with Philadelphia.

Braves pitcher Tommy Hanson bolstered his chances of winning the NL Rookie of the Year Award with a seven-inning outing in which he allowed no runs, three hits, and had eight strikeouts. The win improved his overall record to 10-3. He has a 0.45 ERA in September and has only lost once since July 31.

Adam Wainwright pitched well but failed to win his 19th game for the Cardinals.

Mark Reynolds hit his 42nd homer and needs four runs batted in for his first 100 RBI season. He missed the mark by three RBI in 2008.

Reynolds also needs four strikeouts to reach 200 strikeouts and needs nine to break his own record of 204 strikeouts. He has 16 games left this season.

Josh Johnson and Joel Pineiro will both try to win their 15th game of the season as they face each other in the Marlins-Cardinals game this afternoon.

Derek Lowe will attempt to win his 15th game tonight against the Mets.

The Rockies-Giants game tonight has an excellent matchup with Jorge De La Rosa trying for his 15th win for the Rockies, while Matt Cain attempts his 14th win.

Joe Saunders will vie for his 14th win tonight against the Red Sox in his start for the Angels.

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